The City School

Approach to learning

Nothing without joy

ELC provides children access to a rigorous curriculum designed to meet curricular learning goals, while at the same time understanding that each student has a wealth of knowledge, and experience that shape who they are, and their individual learning style. We celebrate the uniqueness of each, and every child.

Learning at ELC is approached through Inquiry, and this approach permeates all learning at our family of schools. Project, as it is known at ELC, is a process by which teachers and students alike, co-construct learning. For the teachers, it is a process of listening to the children, reflecting on their ideas while considering the curricular objectives, deciding how to best provide learning experiences that integrate the student’s ideas with curricular objectives in a rich manner, observing the children again, and making new teaching decisions, all in collaboration with our highly-qualified teaching team. And, for students, it is a process of discussing, listening, doing, questioning, problem solving, reflecting on their learning, offering ideas, hypothesizing, testing hypotheses, formulating theories, all in collaboration with each other, their teachers, and the project teaching team. Learning through ‘Project’ helps children to understand not only the what, but the why and how as well, as they make sense of the world around them.

ELC children learn through:


co-constructing to build knowledge and relationships

At the Early Learning Centre, the students and teachers work hand-in-hand in the quest for knowledge. Each child, with individual thoughts and different competencies offers unique perspectives and contributions in the knowledge building process. Paying careful attention to the size and composition of the learning group, the teachers make open-ended proposals encouraging thoughtful negotiation and collaboration. With a growing understanding that their theories are provisional, the children in learning groups value the contributions made and the collective knowledge that is being developed. Self-directed and motivated, the child builds knowledge from his or her experiences, rather than absorbing it. Observation, documentation, and reflection become fundamental in the co-construction of knowledge, offering many learning opportunities for all participants.

the project

an over-arching topic connecting all disciplines of the curriculum

Working inside ‘the project’ is a process whereby teachers and students co-construct learning. For the teachers, it is a process of listening to the students, reflecting on their ideas while deciding how best to provide learning experiences that integrate the children’s ideas with curricular objectives in a rich manner, observing the children, making new teaching decisions, all in collaboration with the pedagogical research team. For the students, it is a process of discussing, listening, doing, problem solving, reflecting, offering ideas, hypotheses, and formulating theories all in collaboration with each other, their teachers, and atelieristas.

This can be both challenging and exhilarating. Exhilarating to observe the learning taking place, becoming more aware of how our students think about their own learning, while at the same time challenging when undertaken with an open mind and a flexible approach.

It helps our students develop effective questioning, problem-solving, and collaborative skills while fostering creativity to understand not only the what, but the why and how as well, as they make sense of the world around them.

spaces for research

The Ateliers, strategically placed throughout the school, offer opportunities to both adults and children to encounter new ideas in the process of the co-construction of knowledge. Approaching curricular concepts in a multitude of ways, children develop a deeper understanding; these spaces of creative research are flexible and open to suggestions and modifications by the children’s processes of learning and research projects.

the teacher

provides rich learning experiences

We understand that our greatest resource is our teachers. Carefully selected, highly qualified and experienced, they come from almost twenty countries giving ELC a true international flavour. Our teachers understand the importance of building relationships with their students and families. Supported through ongoing professional development by our highly competent pedagogical research team our teachers are able to give their students the optimum learning experience in all areas of learning, skillfully engaging and encouraging them to approach learning in meaningful, and multiple ways. They are encouraged to look at pedagogical research, both past and present, to fully understand why everything we do is intentional and well orchestrated.

the environment

intentional and provoking

An environment has a powerful influence on a student’s thinking, learning, and well-being. Our environment is intentional. It is intrinsically intertwined with the curriculum, providing a backdrop for all learning, one that values opportunities for inquiry, encourages curiosity, and provides provocations for further investigations.

Our environment, one of the most beautiful in the world, is one where children and teachers co-construct developing creative partnerships using a variety of languages to explore curricular concepts pertinent to the various disciplines.

A rich environment becomes more than a place; it can be a message regarding values. The ambiance at our school shows children that the adults care for the environment, the school, and the children who attend, a well-balanced setting for students to learn and flourish.

the child

Our view of the child as competent, powerful, and full of potential is one of the main pillars of our philosophy. This approach is committed to the creation of conditions for learning that will enhance and facilitate the child’s construction of his or her powers of thinking through the synthesis of all the expressive, communicative and cognitive languages. We maintain that every child is born with many languages of life, and that these languages are interactive by nature. The process of learning in each discipline is enhanced not only by using the language specific to the discipline but also by using many other languages from other disciplines. We believe that every child is equipped with the exploratory and perceptive abilities to organize information and sensations, and to seek out exchange and reciprocity.

Nothing without joy!

Loris Malaguzzi

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more about this school


We offer a broad, and rigorous international curriculum for children from 3 to 11 years of age that seamlessly connects to top international schools worldwide.

After School Activities

Our school offers a meaningful selection of after school activities, whether it is sports, the arts or language learning.

Student Services & Wellbeing

Highly qualified professionals provide support & services, both inside and outside of the classroom, to students and families.