Elementary School (Years 1 – 6)



At SJIIM we offer a stimulating, creative curriculum which draws on the very best programmes from around the world. Our curriculum is largely based on the English National Curriculum, but we also deliver Singapore Math and a daily Mandarin programme.

Through the International Primary Curriculum our students will be engaged in topic-based learning, a cross-curricular approach that integrates different subject matter under an umbrella topic or area of interest.

Students have dedicated English and Mathematics lessons and specialist teachers for Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu, Physical Education, and Music. Where possible, the learning in these subjects is also linked to the current topic.

Our curriculum is reviewed and adapted based on current educational thinking and the changing needs of our students. It allows students, teachers and parents to work together using a wide range of resources to create a challenging, distinctive and exciting experience.


The teaching of English is central to the learning and development of our students. It fosters skills that children require for learning, and embrace for pleasure. In teaching literacy skills, we focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing to create confident, articulate and effective communicators.

Reading in the Elementary School focuses on decoding, comprehension and reading for pleasure. Years 1 and 2 engage with daily phonics. Years 3 to 6 build on phonic knowledge through a structured spelling programme. The skills of decoding and comprehension develop in tandem as the children progress through the Elementary School creating independent readers with a deep understanding of literature. Our beautiful school library, and class book corners, are designed to create highly motivated, voracious readers.

Writing, an important means of expression for our students, builds on the skills of speaking, listening and reading. Students are enabled to express their ideas and opinions creatively in writing. Concurrently, they will acquire knowledge around the conventions of functional writing e.g. letter writing or report writing. This development is supported by the school’s structured grammar programme. Further opportunity to enhance these skills are afforded by the IPC curriculum, thus creating effective, versatile writers.


At Elementary School level, we have adopted the Singapore mathematics curriculum as we believe it is a rigorous approach to teaching Elementary mathematics. Singapore Math is a highly-structured programme, based on the successful curriculum and pedagogical strategies of Singapore’s Ministry of Education. This approach embraces Jerome Bruner’s stages of enactive (concrete), iconic (pictorial) and symbolic (abstract) learning.

In practical terms, this means that students will engage in ‘real’ life mathematics with objects and materials, which helps to develop a deep and lasting understanding of new concepts. The structured approach is supported by the use of Singapore maths textbooks across the school and in home learning.

The focus of this programme is on developing conceptual understanding over the rote memorisation of facts and methods. Pupils will not only develop strong basic computation skills, but they are taught to identify patterns and relationships in numbers and to see the bigger picture. Pupils will be continually challenged to look for different ways of solving problems and to explain their mathematical reasoning.

There is a significant emphasis on real world and worded problems that develops pupils’ critical reasoning skills and their depth of understanding. Pupils will engage in this type of problem solving daily, which is supported by the model method. The use of visual models is a key aspect of Singapore Math and supports the development of algebraic reasoning.

The firm foundation established by the programme supports higher level work in mathematics, as borne out by international achievement and assessment results.


The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is an innovative cross-curricular program that ensures learning experiences are relevant, engaging and enjoyable. It is a comprehensive curriculum with a clear process of learning and specific learning goals for every subject, for international mindedness and for personal learning. The IPC is designed to meet the challenges of 21st Century learners, able to adapt as technology and society change.

The units of study adapt a thematic approach, weaving together a variety of subjects in a logical yet creative way. The IPC has been implemented in over 1,800 schools in over 90 countries around the world. The curriculum has been designed to support the mobility of international families by ensuring that children attain the knowledge, skills and understanding required to enable them to adapt to future curriculum expectations in other countries.


Learning Goals are the foundation of the IPC. They define what children should know, be able to do, or develop an understanding of at different Mileposts. The Mileposts are the stages by which most children should be capable of achieving certain Learning Goals. Milepost 1 occurs when children are in years 1 and 2; Milepost 2 when children are in years 3 and 4; Milepost 3 when children are in years 5 and 6. The subjects covered within the IPC are:







Physical Education



Learning Chinese has been a cornerstone of curriculum provision at SJIIM since the school’s foundation; it is delivered daily and is integral to our children’s educational experience. We enable our students to be active participants in an increasingly interconnected world which, despite technological advances, remains linguistically diverse. Hence, every child at St. Joseph’s benefits from an engaging Mandarin program delivered by passionate, enthusiastic Mandarin teachers.

Our program caters for all ranges within language development, from fluent speakers to children who are receiving Mandarin instruction for the very first time.

Children experiencing their first exposure to Mandarin will engage with the modern foreign language course. A thematic approach to language acquisition, this program engages the children in language learning via personal themes that relate to their own lives. They explore topics such as myself, healthy lifestyles and friends.

The intermediate course caters for those who are building proficiency in speaking and listening. It challenges the students with more sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure to enhance both spoken and written expression.

The advanced level is designed for native speakers (children who may join us from China, Taiwan or local Chinese schools). These learners focus on developing more complex reading and writing skills.

Our teachers deliver language instruction with a rich cultural dimension by encouraging the students to learn through music, song, story and traditional Chinese games. The Chinese New Year celebration is a highlight of the school calendar where the elementary school children enjoy activities such as Chinese crafts, drumming, music and dramatic performance through the medium of Mandarin.

Bahasa Melayu

Bahasa Melayu provision at SJIIM adopts an interactive approach to language learning. All students are afforded the opportunity to engage in an interactive, highly-engaging programme of study, whether they are working in their mother tongue or in a language that is entirely new to them. While the acquisition of language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) lies at the heart of the learning, it is common to see children singing, reciting poetry, playing games and listening to stories in Bahasa Melayu.

The course operates a thematic approach to language learning with different learning objectives for different levels of proficiency. The themes chosen are in line with those that students will study in greater depth for IGCSE at high school level. Every child at SJIIM is exposed to Bahasa Melayu in a scheduled weekly lesson. Senior elementary school students who are working at the intermediate and advanced levels are facilitated with a further lesson in preparation for the high school language curriculum.

The cultural aspect of Bahasa Melayu is embraced in the teaching and learning of the subject and in our co-curricular programme. Festivals like Malaysia day, Merdeka and Hari Raya allow for a cross-curricular approach where children explore aspects of Malaysian history, geography and culture through the medium of the local language.


The Virtues Project is used in the Elementary School both as a vehicle to make the school values accessible for the children and as the basis for our Behaviour Policy. The Virtues Project is based on the beliefs and virtues valued by diverse cultures and world religions. It’s mission is to provide empowering strategies that inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life. The Virtues Project enables us to address not only our core values, but also to meet the personal development goals at the heart of the International Primary Curriculum.


At SJIIM, children are given the opportunity to play first and learn through their music-making. With well-equipped music studios in the Elementary School, students have one lesson each week with a specialist music teacher.

Ensemble Music Programme

Musical ensembles, either vocal and/or instrumental, are wonderful opportunities for children to experience the joy of making music with others in their school community.  Our various ensembles are led by outstanding music tutors and faculty members. Children develop a sense of belonging and take pride in learning and developing their individual skills to contribute to the excellence of each ensemble. They also learn commitment and respect as they realise the importance of being punctual at rehearsals and how essential the role of individual practice is to the success of each ensemble meeting.

Our Ensembles include: The String Ensemble , The Concert Band , Piccolo Singers, Cantabile Singers and Recorder Ensemble

All of the ensembles have many opportunities to perform including Assemblies, Showcase Concerts each term, community events and recitals.

Instrumental Tuition Programme

The Instrumental Programme offers instrumental lessons to our children during the school day. At the present time we are able to offer lessons in Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Guitar, Trumpet, Trombone, Voice, and Drums. We have a team of outstanding music tutors who are passionate and highly qualified in their specialist subjects.

Many opportunities are provided for our children to perform on their instruments, from the familiar environment of the classroom to the Elementary School Concerts and sometimes in public venues. Some pupils may decide to take music examinations conducted by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College of Music, London (TCM).


Physical Education is an integral part of the curriculum at SJIIM with a focus on the development of each individual. The programme begins in Nursery, where students work on the process of fundamental skill development in a fun, yet challenging environment through to our Year six cohort who are given the opportunity to learn a number of different sports.

Every lesson focuses on the fundamentals of fitness, the development of a wide range of techniques and strategies to give the students a broad range of skills leading into Key Stage 3. Lessons are taught by experienced, fully committed specialist staff, who share the same philosophy, aiming to instill a lifelong love for physical activity and sport in their students. The Physical Education department strives to enable all students make progress and are given the chance to experience a range of opportunities both within and beyond the curriculum.

We have a comprehensive swimming program at SJIIM from Reception to Year 6. Our younger years focus on water confidence/safety and the basic technique required in Frontcrawl, Backstroke and Breaststroke whilst maintaining the ‘fun’ aspect of learning. Sessions begin with blocks in Nursery and Reception and then move to once a week from Year two to six. Our squad programs in Primary, Middle School and High School focus on the competitive edge with a major emphasis on technique, stamina and speed. Training sessions are scheduled every day and students get access to highly trained specialist staff.