Policies

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Introduction

IPS is a private licensed preschool approved by the Macedonian law for preschool education. It is committed to provide an enriching, stimulating, and supportive learning environment for young children. Our teaching philosophy is grounded in a profound respect for children and their immense potential to learn and grow. Taking advantage of children’s natural curiosity, IPS provides many opportunities for them to discover the world around them and their special place within it. IPS helps children develop their skills and abilities in a variety of areas, enabling them to flourish as unique individuals and integrated members of society.

Our Vision

International Preschool of Skopje enriches the mind, strengthens the character, and inspires the hearts of our students.

Our Mission

IPS lays the groundwork for a life-long love of learning by combining the benefits of multilingual and intercultural education, promoting international awareness.

We strive to provide opportunities to reach both the intrinsic and extrinsic educational potential of every student. We create global leaders who are compassionate learners, who engage, enlighten, empower and contribute to build a better world.

IPS is a nonsectarian preschool. IPS admits students of any race, color, religion, and national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities and does not discriminate in administration of its educational and admission policies. IPS strives to support a diverse student body of learners. We are aware that students come from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and many academic, physical, and other needs. There are many students who may have a recognized, special education need and others may have special needs that have not been diagnosed.

Statement

All children have the right to be cared for and educated to develop to their full potential alongside each other through positive experiences, to enable them to share opportunities and experiences and develop and learn from each other. We provide a positive and welcoming environment where children are supported according to their individual needs. IPS believes that all children have a right to experience and develop alongside their peers no matter what their individual needs. Each child’s needs are unique, therefore any attempt to categorize children is inappropriate.

IPS is committed to working alongside parents in the provision for their child’s individual needs to enable us to help the child to develop to their full potential. The nursery is committed to working with any child who has a specific need and/or disability and making reasonable adjustments to enable every child to make full use of the nursery’s facilities. All children have a right to a broad and well-balanced early learning environment. We feel it is paramount to find out as much as possible about a particular child’s and the way that may affect his/her early learning or care needs by:

  • Liaising with the child’s parents
  • Liaising with any professional agencies
  • Reading any reports that have been prepared
  • Attending any review meetings with the local authority/professionals
  • Regularly monitoring observations carried out on the child’s development.
  • All children will be given a full settling in period when joining the nursery according to their individual needs.

Special Education Needs Policy Goals

The goals of the Special Education Needs Policy are to:

  • adhere to national and local laws regarding Exceptional Student Education
  • ensure that the special needs of our students are identified early, assessed, and provided for
  • clarify the expectations of all stakeholders
  • identify roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders
  • assist all students in accessing all elements of the school curriculum and assessment policy

The administration, faculty, and staff at IPS acknowledge that:

  • our students have various educational, learning needs, abilities, and goals
  • students gain knowledge and skills at different rates of speed and methodologies
  • all students are capable of learning
  • our school welcomes all students

Policy Implementation

All staff are required to monitor each child’s development and learning through accurate observation and record keeping. Through this process, staff are required to identify any child who may be experiencing difficulties in specific areas and ensure the needs of such children, and any children who present to the school with individual needs already identified, are met.

Involvement of the Child

Whilst recognizing that it is often difficult to ascertain the views of very young children; staff will encourage their contributions, particularly when establishing individual programmes to support learning. Staff should ensure that all possible information is gathered from children, enabling them, for example, to express their feelings and identify personal preferences and interests. The involvement of children will contribute to the relevance to each of any programmes developed and implemented, maximizing opportunities to incorporate their views and progress their learning.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • IPS will oversee the development, implementation and review of school policy on learning support and needs services.
  • The preschool will observe the process of identification and assessment procedures
  • The preschool will provide guidance to students with special education needs
  • The preschool will provide professional development, guidance and advice to staff in relation to teaching methods and resources.
  • The preschool will provide resources for the implementation and continuation of the Special Education Needs Policy.
  • The school will facilitate the involvement of other community institutions and experts in contributing to learning support.

Parents as Partners

Only by working in effective partnership with parents will staff be placed to meet the needs of the individual children fully. When a child presents with specific needs already identified staff are required to gather from parents (and any other settings attended or previously attended by the child) all information available to support the inclusion of the child. Ongoing dialogue and shared written information will ensure that an accurate assessment of the child’s abilities and needs is maintained. When a child is identified by staff as experiencing difficulties in specific areas which may require additional or alternative interventions, the staff are best placed to decide when to inform the parents that their child is likely to receive Special Educational Provision. However, this information must be shared at the earliest opportunity and be part of a natural process for regular communication between nursery and home. Staff should always provide support for parents, recognising that they may not previously have been aware of their child’s difficulties, whilst realising that information shared should be full and accurate. At all stages of Special Needs Provision, staff must maximise opportunities for parental involvement, ensuring that parents are encouraged to contribute their knowledge of their child’s development and learning, and help to set targets through Individual Education Plans.

The Role of the Co‐Ordinator

Our  Special Education Needs Co‐ordinator (SENCO) is Mery  Naumceska. She will work closely with all the staff to make sure there are systems in place to plan, implement, monitor, review and evaluate the special needs policy of the preschool, always making sure plans and records are shared with parents.

SENCO responsabilities:

  • Help with the integration of new students with learning support requirements.
  • Provide advice to class teachers regarding students who experience difficulties.
  • Advise the administration on issues that arise in the implementation of the learning support programme.
  • Consult with staff as a group on implementation of school policies regarding prevention, screening, assessment, strategies.
  • Develop individual student profile and individual learning support programme.
  • Monitor and review the attainment of learning support programmes.
  • Monitor and record progress made by the students
  • Identify students who have specific or general learning support requirements.
  • Meet parents to discuss assessment outcome, learning targets and actions to be taken by the school and ways to support students at home.
  • Cooperate with institutions and experts outside of the school (Medical Centres, Youth and Family Support Centres)

References and Resources

  • Inclusion/Special Education Needs Policy, Danila Kumar International School, Ljubljana
  • Inclusion/Special Education Needs Policy, OU Braka Miladinovci Skopje, Macedonia
  • Special Educational Needs Policy, Little Oaks Day Nursery

“International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes encourage students to inquire and to think critically and creatively; students are then asked to give shape to their thinking through oral discussion or presentations, through visual representations and displays, and in multiple forms of writing. However, we live in an age in which we are all flooded by information and opinions and we need to help students navigate these waters so that they are able to confidently talk or write about what they are learning, making visible and explicit how they have constructed their ideas and what views they have followed or rejected? This is essentially what academic honesty is: making knowledge, understanding and thinking transparent.”

~ Academic Honesty in an IB Educational Context, 2014, P.1

IPS strives to ensure that students understand the intrinsic value of submitting their own work for assessments and correctly referencing the works and ideas of others. Students will have the extrinsic value of earning credit for authentic work in assessments.

IPS students should show their ability to be:

  • Communicators through the production of their authentic work.
  • Principled researchers through referencing the works of others used in their work.
  • Knowledgeable writers through the use of proper referencing styles in their work.
  • Caring and reflective learners by respecting their own work and that of others.
  • Inquirers when they acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning.
  • Open-minded, accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
  • Risk-takers – brave and articulate in defending their beliefs

Aims of the IPS academic honesty policy

  1. To guide students in acknowledging, through citations and referencing, the intellectual property of others.
  2. To develop understanding that we must not take credit for the work done by others.
  3. To ensure that students do not gain an unfair advantage by being academically dishonest.
  4. To demonstrate our understanding of the learner profile attributes.

Academic Honesty – PYP

The Learner Profile attributes are the basis for the development of academic integrity in our students.

  • Students take responsibility for their own work.
  • Students work individually unless otherwise instructed.
  • Students recognize the difference between individual work and group work.
  • Students give credit to other people working in the group.
  • Students do not copy other people’s work.
  • Students reference sources according to agreed-upon (age-appropriate) bibliographic formats for each grade.
  • Students use information technology and library resources responsibly.

Academic dishonesty – PYP

Academic dishonesty may be defined as passing off other people’s work or ideas as one’s own; this requires constant correction and advice from the teacher. There is no academic consequence until 5th grade and then in 6th Grade where students will sign a contract at the beginning of the year for their PYP final exhibition.

Consequences for deliberate plagiarism in 6th grade

a. First incident

  • Students have the opportunity to correct the error
  • The teacher will lead a reflection session with the student
  • IB coordinator will be informed
  • Parents will be informed

b. Second incident

  • No opportunity to correct error
  • IB coordinator to be informed and lead a reflection session
  • Parents to be invited into school
  • Student signs a formal letter of commitment about future conduct.

c. Third incident

  • Suspension from school for a time to be decided by the head of school

Consequences for Collusion/Misconduct during assessments

a. First incident

  • A reflection of behavior to be completed, guided by the teacher
  • Parents will be informed
  • IB coordinator will be informed

b. Second incident

  • A reflection on behavior to be completed, guided by the IB Coordinator
  • Parents will be invited into school
  • Student will sign a letter of commitment about future conduct

c. Third incident

  • Suspension from school for a time to be decided by the head of school

Academic Honesty in MYP

The MYP strives to create principled, balanced learners per the IB Learner Profile through a focus on intercultural awareness, communication, and holistic learning. Due to these areas of focus in the MYP, students will often be working in collaboration with their peers and using sources from experts all over the world to develop their understanding of statement of inquiry. Therefore, we expect students to meet the following expectations:

  • Students take responsibility for their own work.
  • Students work individually unless otherwise instructed.
  • Students recognize the difference between individual work and group work.
  • Students give credit to other people working in the group.
  • Students do not copy other people’s work.
  • Students reference sources according to agreed-upon (age-appropriate) bibliographic formats.
  • Students use information technology and library resources responsibly.
  • Students are expected to work together, to recognize and encourage contributions of others in the group.
  • Students are expected to know that the purpose of an assessment, summative or formative, is to show what they know, understand, and can do and must provide their own work.
  • Each group member takes responsibility for his or her roles/tasks and ensures that the other members of the group understand the task and their responsibilities.
  • When a product is required from a group, the product should reflect each member’s contribution.
  • Each student’s work should be explicitly acknowledged.
  • Each student is capable of reflecting on his or her participation and the participation of the other members of the group.
  • Students are able to reflect on the group’s processing and communication.
  • Students will always appropriately give credit to any outside research used to inform their product.

Academic dishonesty – MYP

Academic dishonesty may be defined as passing off other people’s work or ideas as one’s own. It includes many behaviors including plagiarism, collusion and misconduct during assessment tasks.

Inadvertent plagiarism – this requires constant correction and advice from the teacher. There is no academic consequence.

Consequences for deliberate plagiarism

a. First incident

  • The work will not receive a grade.
  • The IB coordinator to be informed and give the student a guidance session on what academic honesty is and how it can be put into practice.
  • Students will be given a different task that covers the same assessment criteria.
  • Parents to be informed.

b. Second incident

  • The work will not receive a grade.
  • The IB coordinator will be informed.
  • Parents will be invited into school
  • Student signs a formal letter of commitment about future conduct.

c. Third incident

  • Suspension from school for a time to be decided by the head of school.

Consequences for collusion / misconduct

a. First incident.

  • The work will not receive a grade.
  • The IB coordinator will be informed and lead a reflection session.
  • Parents informed

b. Second incident.

  • The work will not receive a grade
  • The IB coordinator will be informed and lead a second reflection session.
  • The parents will be invited into school
  • Student to sign a letter of commitment about future conduct

c. Third incident

  • Suspension from school for a time to be decided by the head of school

Interventions

The school offers the following guidance:

Beginning of the school year: the MYP coordinator leads a workshop that defines academic honesty and dishonesty. Students read the academic honesty policy and sign that they have understood it.

Throughout the year: subject teachers re-iterate citing and bibliography expectations every time research is undertaken. Grades are given for this in the appropriate objective assessment strand.

Statement of Belief

At International Primary School Macedonia, we believe that language is fundamental to the success of all students learning. This includes the ability to express oneself through speaking, reading, writing, drawing, acting, etc. This also includes communication through different languages, including the languages of science, math, and the arts.

IPS Macedonia supports the International Baccalaureate’s view that ‘the development of language is fundamental in the need to communicate; it supports and enhances our thinking and understanding’ (PYP Language Scope and Sequence, pg. 1).

At IPS, English is the language of instruction and is taught in a transdisciplinary manner to ensure learning experiences are relevant, meaningful and engaging. Oral, visual and written language is paramount to the development of language acquisition and are integral to all learning experiences. All teachers are responsible for language learning at IPS and believe we need to provide students with ‘a learning environment and the necessary language support to enable them to participate fully in the academic programme and in the social life of the preschool, as well as develop as individuals’ (Making the PYP Happen, pg. 68). Immersion in the English language and student mother tongue languages ‘play a vital role in constructing meaning’ (PYP Languages Policy pg. 1).

Language learning is differentiated to meet individual student need and learning environments are inclusive of all students’ cultural backgrounds and needs. Teachers believe that students learn through a gradual release of responsibility model, where modelled, shared, guided and independent learning experiences support all students to learn. We believe every learner benefits from experiencing an additional language as it develops effective communication skills and facilitates international mindedness. Also, success in mother tongue maintains cultural identity and is an indicator of success in acquiring other additional languages.

IPS is a culturally and linguistically preschool, which provides education for a 120 students, from 45 different nations at any one time. English and Macedonian are the languages of instruction and Spanish (Preschool-Year 6 and Year 5) is formally taught as an additional language.

IB Learner Profile

The teaching of language is embedded into the transdisciplinary Programme of Inquiry. This provides students with authentic learning experiences for their acquisition of language. Teachers develop language programmes collaboratively in year levels and align Common Core Curriculum requirements with a focus on written, visual and oral language.

Inquirers: We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We actively enjoy learning with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.

Knowledgeable: We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.

Thinkers: We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.

Communicators: We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.

Principled: We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.

Open-Minded: We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.

Caring: We show sensitivity towards the needs and feelings of others, and have a sense of personal commitment to helping others. We show empathy, compassion and respect. We act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.

Risk-Takers: We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change. We approach unfamiliar situations without anxiety and have the confidence to explore new ideas

Balanced: We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives
– Intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognise our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.

Reflective: We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience.
We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

IPS strongly believes that an open, continuous flow of information and communication between the home and school is in the best interest of every child and the programs a whole. IPS has established several means of promoting regular communication among and between parents/guardians and teachers. Suggestions on ways to further facilitate communication between home and school is always welcome.

Oral Language

The more opportunities and experiences we give students to develop and practise oral language skills, the more confident they become as language learners. Planned experiences in speaking and listening in an inquiry based approach allow for rich discussion and a collaborative approach to learning. Students are encouraged to ask questions, negotiate, socialise, inquire and experiment in a range of settings that allow their ideas, opinions and thinking to be heard. We know children come to school with different experiences of language and it is important to recognise family and cultural background, community and prior knowledge in establishing the needs of each student.

Written Language

‘Reading is a developmental process that involves constructing meaning from text’ (PYP Scope and Sequence pg.15). At IPS there is a focus on language acquisition through developing lifelong reading habits and meeting the individual needs of each child. Teachers plan and deliver learning experiences using a range of reading procedures and strategies from the First Steps Reading programme.

Visual Language

‘The processes of viewing and presenting allow students to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs’ The ability to interpret data, communicate and construct meaning are invaluable lifelong skills (PYP Languages Scope and Sequence, pg. 11). At IPS environmental print and visual imagery play a vital role in enriching the learning environment, developing learners ability to critically analyse images and apply his/her understanding to make meaning. The use of graphic organisers, picture books, art work, posters, magazines, comic strips and video clips are integral in all Units of Inquiry. The ability to view and present using a multi modal approach is explicitly taught and students are given choice in presenting their ideas and knowledge.

School language profile

To compile the school language profile, the International Primary School Macedonia identifies the diversity of language needs for all learners which includes information on the languages of teaching and learning, the languages of communication used in the school and outside the classroom, and the range and types of mother tongue in the community.

a) Inside the classrooms / English. In the PYP and the MYP classes the students use English to comprehend, read and express their understanding. The teachers too can avail the use of technology as well as print media (in English) to facilitate the understanding of a concept, or sharing their understanding.

b) Outside the classrooms / Students will be and are encouraged to communicate in the language that is comfortable to them. This will help us to create an environment, which will foster the development of Mother Tongue.
Languages learnt / offered at all levels- English, Macedonian, German, French & Spanish as additional languages

Language of communication

a) Official communication – English

b) Language of communication in classroom – English with mother tongue support (need based)

c) Language of communication outside the classroom – English, Macedonian, Mother Tongue

d) Wide range of mother tongue languages identified

Other language needs of the community.

a) Interacting with auxiliary staff – Most of the auxiliary staff comes from local community. The mode of communication with them will generally be in Macedonian.

b) Interacting with visitors – Visitors in school come with diverse language backgrounds. English will be used as the language of Communication. But we may also use other languages based on the needs and availability.

c) Interacting with parents – Most of the Communication with parents will be in English. The school will also communicate in Macedonian based on the need of the situation.
Working Language – English
Access Language – English and Macedonian
Internal Working Language – English and Macedonian

Support for Language Learners

Our teachers are working to create a caring language community to enhance the language learning of all students. The International Primary School Macedonia attempts to promote a language – rich environment for all students through the implementation of technology, multimedia and library resources. We ask that teachers be well informed of their students who have language needs and other language abilities.

The International Primary School Macedonia encourages families to continue mother tongue development at home; support is given to students whose mother tongue is a language other than English. IPS provides qualified staff. We also provide support through our parent body (those who speak the same language) and through our professional staff. This includes a Spanish language teacher, a German language teacher, a French language teacher and several staff members who speak additional languages.

Language in the Classroom

In the classroom, language is supported through various literacy activities such as guided reading, writer’s workshop, writing in content, classroom libraries, visuals, instructional vocabulary, individual word lists, daily read aloud and opportunities for students to use language during presentations and collaboration.

In the Kindergarten classes’ students take part in play-based learning, developing early literacy and numeric concepts and communication skills which help their reading and writing ability. Our kindergarten program provides opportunities for learning, self-expression and self discovery in a variety of areas in music, drama, games, science and language activities assisted by the teachers.

IPS has chosen to implement the play-based learning framework for Preschool. It is a comprehensive system of learning based on research and knowledge regarding all areas of student development – social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language.

While planning and carrying out a task the children are also using symbols to represent their ideas, practicing the language skills.

Our play-based curriculum offers students many opportunities for positive interactions with other students and adults. We treat each student with respect and reinforce his/her value as an individual and as a unique member of the IPS community.

The focus of the learning is for the experience to be relevant, engaging and challenging to each student.

Language and the Program of Inquiry

Language is integrated throughout the Program of Inquiry.  Higher level thinking, key concept questions, and extended research all lend themselves to having a strong vocabulary and language presence within the planners. Oral, visual, and written language is all present within planner activities. Literature selections both in read-aloud and guided reading are chosen to build an understanding of the concepts within the planners.

There are monthly rotations of integrated specials throughout all groups.  This would include the language of visual art, music, Spanish, and PE (movement) co-teaching with classroom teachers to incorporate their specific areas of knowledge and encourage connections with the POI planners.

For students who have limited English proficiency, individual tutoring and curriculum differentiation (one of the ATLs) are provided in our classes. Students are encouraged to establish connections between the familiar first language and the language of instruction.

Teachers use a variety of strategies (e.g. group work, demonstrations) and visual aids (e.g. graphic organisers) to assist with language learning.

Additional Language

Macedonian and Spanish are the second languages taught to students through several formats. Each student in K-4 attends a 45 minute Spanish class twice per week. In addition, students in K-3 have a weekly 35-minute multi-modality experience when Spanish is combined with art, music, movement and cultural learning.

English as an Additional language (EAL)

The teachers at IPS recognise the need to value the students’ home languages as both an important part of their identity and as a useful tool to access English. It develops flexible thinking and open mindedness amongst all children. They realise that it is critical to build relationships with parents/carers as well as using knowledge of the students’ cultural and educational backgrounds when planning and developing appropriate teaching and learning experiences. There is clear understanding amongst teacher that they need to provide a culturally inclusive curriculum.

While students spend time with their class teachers, the EAL teacher plays an important role, welcoming new families to the school and doing the initial assessment of the student’s current language levels and needs. The EAL teacher assists the family in completing the enrolment procedures, organising uniforms, books packs, bus tickets etc.

Beliefs held about language teaching and Learning

Continuous classroom instruction has a fundamental and irreplaceable role to play in helping students achieve learning outcomes. Our language curricula are challenging, but accessible to students of different levels of ability. Our effective language instruction involves:

  • providing learning activities which are relevant to students’ experiences, and which meet the needs of all students
  • helping students acquire an accurate understanding of formal language structures through listening, speaking, reading and writing
  • immersing students in situational learning roles and contextualizing language items to facilitate language learning and cultural understanding
  • demonstrating how language works in real-life situations and promoting the development of communicative competence
  • using a wide variety of reading materials and genres
  • balancing effective learning with opportunities for risk-taking and reflection
  • language teachers being role models of language learning and ready to share their learning experiences
  • language teachers keeping abreast of developments in the field of language pedagogy and effectively integrating traditional and modern teaching approaches.

Language learning enhances students’ understanding of what it is to be human and how interpretations and thoughts shape the way we view and experience the world. It provides the opportunity for enjoyment, creativity and intellectual stimulation through knowledge of languages, cultures and literature, and develops students’ awareness of the role of languages in relation to other areas of knowledge.

The school will reinforce the values of individual and collective responsibility as commonly held in a democratic society. These values include honesty, reliability, respect and tolerance towards others, respect for the law, and fairness. Teaching principles are based on the premises that the individual student is at the centre of all teaching and learning, and that the curricula for all students will be of the highest quality. Students’ learning opportunities at school will be influenced by a range of factors, such as classroom interaction patterns, access to resources, and the expectations, attitudes, and behaviour of family, teachers, and peers.

We provide all students with equal educational opportunities. We encourage positive attitudes towards learning, providing praises and constructive criticism where appropriate, aimed at improving learning outcomes.

We will ensure equity of opportunity, address special needs, respect the uniqueness of each student, and prepare students to successfully compete in a rapidly changing world.

Assessment

Assessment is an integral part of the educational experience at IPS as it both drives the style of curriculum delivery and evaluates learning outcomes. Assessment allows for evidence of growth to be produced and should be ongoing. Students should be familiar with assessment criteria and be able to describe their own progress and areas for improvement.

Assessment also allows for student work to be celebrated and shared with parents, while evidence of best practice can be used to inform future learning output. It is recognized across the school that language ability should not hinder student outcomes in contexts that are content based or are assessing processes. A variety of oral and written examinations are used to assess students’ skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Policy review

This Policy will be reviewed at the beginning of each school year by the respective Programme teachers. A review process including student and parent representatives will be taken after every three years.

Communicating the Language Policy

The Language Policy shall be available to the school community. It shall be posted on the IPS website and updated as it is revised.

Sources

  • IBO. Guidelines for developing a school language policy, April 2008
  • IBO. Guidelines for school self-reflection on its language, 2012
  • IBO. Language and learning in IB programmes, September 2011
  • IBO. Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes, April 2008
  • IBO. Developing academic literacy in IB programmes, August 2014