Skip To Main Content

Mobile Main Nav

Lower School

Developing a Deep Understanding of Concepts

ISB's Lower School prepares students to see things differently through intentional multilingual instruction and purposeful project-based learning.
As the only Lower School in Boston with accreditation from the French Ministry of Education, we celebrate and encourage students’ natural curiosity and deep understanding of new concepts and build upon their academic foundation through an interdisciplinary, multilingual approach to learning.
Lower School includes Grades 1 through 5, or CP through CM2 in the French educational system. Led by passionate and engaged teachers, the Lower School’s dual-language curriculum incorporates reading and writing, mathematics, sciences, social studies, the arts, information technology, and physical education.

During students’ first two years in Lower School, the focus is on rapidly expanding their knowledge of French and English by building strong literacy skills, while learning how to interact and work with classmates. Beginning in Grade 3, and for the remainder of Lower School, equal time is placed on both French and English while celebrating multiculturalism in general. In Grades 3 through 5, students are able to deepen their language skills through the study of rich content.

By the end of 5th grade, students are bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural – well prepared for success in Middle School.

Lower School Language Instruction

Language Grade 1 Grade 2 Grades 3-5
French 67% 65% 55%
English 23% 23% 35%
Bilingual Time 5% 5% 3%
Third Language
Spanish or Mandarin
5% 7% 7%

Integrated Spanish & Mandarin Instruction

ISB offers the Éveil aux langues program from Pre-K through Grade 1. Beginning in Grade 2 and continuing through Grade 5, Lower School students also choose between learning Spanish or Mandarin, in addition to their French-English bilingual curriculum. This recognition from the French Ministry of Education serves as an official guarantee of ISB’s excellence in multilingual and multicultural education. The two programs are integrated within our French and English bilingual curriculum.

Daily Activities

  • Physical Education: Students focus on the development of their motor skills as well as cooperation, teamwork, and sportsmanship, through small games, racket sports, and artistics dance and gymnastics.
  • Art: The appreciation of art and the participation in artistic expression play significant roles in the development of the student spirit. Students explore drawing, coloring, painting, design, structure, composition, and more.
  • Music: Our music program allows students to participate fully in a diverse, global society and understand their own historical and cultural heritage and those of others within their communities and beyond. Students will learn to match pitch and sing fluently in both English and French.
  • Library: Each class will have dedicated time in the Lower School’s new Library each week. Students are able to check out books from the Library, as well as visit during open Library hours twice weekly.

Field Trips

Field trips support the Lower School curriculum and allow the students to learn from the culturally rich environments surrounding Boston. Each class generally takes two trips per year to supplement their curriculum. Past field trips include Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Museum of Fine Arts, Plimoth Patuxet Museums, the Discovery Museum, Lowell Mills, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
Lower School is also the beginning of our Global Learning Program, beginning with our Nature’s Classroom Overnight Trip in Grade 3, the Eco School in Grade 4, and our culminating experience to Washington, D.C. in Grade 5.
A student raising her hand