I have several friends whose children attend the House of Knowledge (HoK) International School, at the Quanfa Campus. I hear many positives things; about the facilities, the teaching staff, and the diverse range of after school activities offered. From September this year, a new Elementary program was introduced at their Quanfa campus. I was interested to find out more about the school and the curriculum on offer.
According to its co-founder Mr Danicek, “HoK believes that tomorrow’s leaders need an excellent foundation, cultivated in an environment that is both caring and challenging.” The school focuses on five key competencies – personal, social, material, cognitive, and competence in learning methods. HoK believes that a child must first develop these competencies. By having a solid foundation, students will more confidently develop subsequent learning and skills; including music, art, science, mathematics, and language.
The full day programs available include German or English focused Toddler, Nursery, Middle Age, and Preschool Years. The Elementary School opened with Elementary German Grade 1, which will have a maximum intake of 16 students. There are 80 students in total at Quanfa, with small class sizes across the age groups. In terms of teacher child ratio, one Elementary class will for example have four teachers; two German, one English, and one Chinese.
The German program is called Thueringen, which must be used by all German Schools in East Asia. For German students going back to their home country for schooling, this program enables a seamless transition back into the German school system. Along with the German speaking Thueringen program, the students also have eight hours of English lessons and four hours of Mandarin.
The HoK curriculum takes from American and International education systems. “With the aim of developing academic excellence, creativity, and individuality,” says Danicek. The Common Core Standards (CCS) framework from the US provides the major content for learning and outcomes to be achieved by its students. In addition to the CCS, the school is in the process of obtaining accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). It’s a very project-based curriculum, whereby specific projects or themes cut-across all areas of learning, from science, to math, to music.
HoK decided to expand its curriculum provision to include Elementary, seeing it as a natural progression of the school’s overall development. Teaching will focus on emerging reading and writing skills, and the development of numeracy skills. Languages are studied through what’s called content-based instruction, whereby topics and tasks (e.g. science) are presented within the context of teaching a second or foreign language. “Exactly the same material being taught in English, for the Math and Science classes will also be taught in Chinese. This enables the students to link concepts. They are not only learning the subject material, but the language as well,” explains Danicek.
The Quanfa campus is well-appointed, and new facilities, including an additional sports court, have been developed as part of the introduction of the Elementary program. Their after school program is available to the wider community and includes activities such as football, origami, piano, and yoga.
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photos: courtesy of HoK