Academics

Preschool

Welcome to Preschool!

Our preschool is a nurturing environment in which the individuality of each child is honored through discovery-based learning. We incorporate valuable experiences, lessons, and skills for students between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, focusing on real-life and engaging learning experiences in small, mixed-aged groups.

GISC offers both full-day and part-day preschool programs.
Full-Day Program: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, Monday-Friday
Part-Day Program: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm, Monday-Friday

What Sets Us Apart

  • German Immersion Program – No German Language Skills Required
  • Child-Centered Approach
  • IB Primary Years Program (PYP) Project-Based Learning 
  • Fostering Competencies and Skills
  • Pre-Kindergarten Readiness Program: “Maxi” Program
  • Creating a Rich Learning Environment
Take a look at our Preschool Video to learn more about the highlights of our Preschool program!

List of 7 items.

  • German Language Acquisition

    At GISC Preschool, children with all levels of German language ability, from absolute beginners to native speakers, are welcomed, supported, and challenged. While our Preschool is a German-immersion program, our teachers are able to speak English as needed, for example, in the first weeks of school while students acclimate.

    German language and literacy skills for all levels are fostered through:
    • Rhymes
    • Songs
    • Movement
    • Hands-on Materials
    • Board Games
    • Group Activities
    • Reading Books and Listening
    • Sharing Thoughts and Stories
    • Engaging Children in Conversations
    • Mixing Age Groups and Different Levels of German Language Acquisition
    Many of our books and games are imported from Germany, but we also integrate materials from all over the world to foster open-mindedness, intercultural awareness, personal and social identity, and anti-bias goals.
    Read More
  • Project-Based Learning

    GISC's preschool has adopted the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate which reflects many of our philosophical beliefs:
    • Student Inquiry Is Highly Encouraged
    • GISC Preschool Values and Encourages Curiosity
    • Offering Engaging, Real-Life, Sensory-Rich, and Purposeful Hands-on Activities
    • Discovery-Based and Child-Led Learning
    • Active Participation: the PYP Promotes Student Agency
    • Teachers Are Role Models in How They Speak with Children and Engage Them
    • The PYP Promotes Transdisciplinary Learning that Creates Meaningful and Deeper Learning for Children
  • Child-Centered Approach

    Our preschool teachers nurture each child by adhering to a child-centered approach, which includes:
    • Maintaining Small Group Sizes
    • A Student-Teacher Ratio of 8:1
    • Valuing Each Child's Personality and Background
    • Planning the Curriculum around Students' Interests
    • Offering a Daily Structure that Offers Security in Routines
    • Giving Students Agency for Their Learning
    • Fostering a Caring and Empathetic Relationship with Students
    We make sure that our students feel safe, included, and valued. In short, we believe that every student must belong and matter in our preschool.
    Read More
  • Skills & Cognitive Competencies

    Our curriculum guidelines foster a variety of skills and cognitive competencies:
    • Pre-Writing Skills
    • Natural, Scientific, and Environmental Competencies
    • Intercultural Learning
    • Art, Music, and Dancing
    • Early Math Skills
  • Pre-Kindergarten Program

    Students turning 5 years of age by September of the following school year are called "Maxis." Through a targeted curriculum, they develop and strengthen their cognitive and emotional skills for their next big step: Kindergarten ("Vorschule").
  • Social-Emotional Competencies

    The social-emotional growth of our preschool presents itself through their self-confidence, resilience, and persistence. We foster and encourage: 
    • Life Skills (e.g. getting dressed, opening lunch bags independently)
    • Problem-Solving Skills
    • Communication of Needs, Wishes and Feelings
    • An Understanding of and Expressing the Need for Boundaries
    • Conflict-Resolution Skills
    • Dealing with and Understanding Frustration
    • Adaptation to New Situations
    • Development of a Positive Image of the Self
  • Our Learning Environment

    • Classrooms Are Warm and Welcoming 
    • Learning Centers Foster Development 
    • Classroom Materials and Displays Change with Units
    • Student Work Is Valued by Displaying It around Our Campus
    • Mixed-Age Groups Foster Empathy and Social Awareness 
    • Our Large Playground Offers Ample Discovery Opportunities for Every Child
    • Our Students Plan, Plant, and Care for Their Own School Garden
    • Physical Development Is Fostered through Daily Activities
    • A Sense of Community: GISC Students Meet on the Playground, Learn from Each Other, and Play Together
    • Parent Participation Is Welcomed and Encouraged
    • Intercultural, Welcoming, Nurturing, and Open-Minded Atmosphere

STEM Spotlight: Life Cycles

Early this year, our preschoolers found a caterpillar in our school garden. The teacher observed a variety of reactions and discussed with the children what to do with it. Together, they learned what kind of caterpillar it was, where its natural habitat was and what food source it relied upon, and learned about its life cycle (biology). They counted the number of dots and legs (math); learned the German vocabulary for caterpillars (language acquisition); sang a caterpillar songs and performed a finger play (music); looked at books to find out more about them (literacy); and painted or drew caterpillars or ladybugs (art).

Patience and curiosity were fostered by finally watching the caterpillar transform into a butterfly.


The German International School Chicago (GISC) is an IB World School that prepares students to become well-rounded, creative, and responsible global citizens. We provide students with a rigorous German-English bilingual education in a supportive and individualized learning environment. GISC graduates will be prepared academically and socially to succeed in an increasingly global world.

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