FAQs – Frequently asked questions Where is the DAI School located? What are the compulsory class times? Are there childcare hours before and after school? How many children are in a class? How can we sign up for a school place? What happens if I already registered for a different school? What languages are spoken in the school? How can my child learn German or English if he or she does not yet speak this language? Where do the children of the International DAI School come from? What does the Cambridge Curriculum include? Is there homework? Are there grades? How can children, parents and teachers follow academic development? How can the children develop their creative talents? Do the children learn with digital media? Is a high school diploma planned? What other special features are there? 1. Where is the DAI School located? The International School of the DAI Circle of Friends will be located in the BEGEISTERHAUS at the Heidelberg Innovation Park (former Patton Barracks) in the district of Kirchheim. The BEGEISTERHAUS provides multiple unique opportunities for the students to follow up their learning, interests, and talents. Among other innovative projects, a Maker Space and an Art Space are shared with the school. 2. What are the compulsory class times? The schedule for the 1st and 2nd grades are as follows: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday 8:15 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 3. Are there childcare hours before and after school? Yes, early and late childcare can be booked additionally at the Begeisterhaus. Childcare hours before school 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. daily Childcare hours after school: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 4. How many children are in a class? Each class accepts 20 students. The 1st and 2nd grade will learn together in a mixed-age classroom. The same model will be continued in grades 3 and 4. One English and one German native speaker will lead the group as a team. 5. How can we sign up for a school place? After you have sent a registration form, you can sign up on the list for parent meetings (Doodle link on our homepage). Please note that this order must be strictly followed and cannot be alternated. The meetings will take place with the school management via Zoom or – as soon as possible – personally. After approximately two weeks, you will receive notification of assignment and a school contract in the case of admittance. 6. What happens if I already registered for a different school? The DAI School is still in the approval process. Therefore, you should register your child for a public school as well as for our school. After our school is formally approved, we will undertake all further administrational steps for you (deregistration from other schools etc). 7. What languages are spoken in the school? The International DAI School is a bilingual school. Therefore, children will be instructed in English and German. We are aiming at a 50:50 distribution of German and English throughout the school day. The optional care hours before and after school can be used to improve your child’s language skills in his or her foreign language. Please note: Proficiency in English or German is not a prerequisite for admission to the school. 8. How can my child learn German or English if he or she does not yet speak this language? The school concept follows the immersion principle. The children experience all native speakers in their respective language and learn to use the languages naturally in the school environment. At the International School we hope to welcome many different nations who will all speak in their own native languages and contribute to the school’s international environment. In addition, courses in German and English are offered to deepen the use of the languages in speaking and writing. Many materials, books, instructions, labels in the classroom and in the school are in both languages and support not only speaking but also learning of the written language. At the secondary level, French and Spanish will be introduced. 9. Where do the children of the International DAI School come from? Our students come from many kindergartens in and around Heidelberg. They are not exclusively children from DAI kindergartens, but also children from sports and movement kindergartens, and from municipal and private kindergartens. Many families who first move to Heidelberg from other cities and countries are also interested in a place at the DAI school. Our school is composed of a colorful and international community. 10. What does the Cambridge Curriculum include? The IGCSE was developed by the University of Cambridge in 1988 and corresponds to an internationally recognized secondary school certificate. The GCSE is considered to be the most important final examination for lower secondary (high school) in the British school system and has been held for over 30 years in approximately 10,000 schools in 160 countries worldwide. Further qualifications within the C.C. enable students to prepare for study at international universities. 11. Is there homework? In principle, there is no homework from grades 1 to 4. Within the daily school schedule, children are offered sufficient time to practice and review their classroom projects and assignments. Beginning in grade 5 at the community school, children are offered additional time in the afternoon if they are unable to complete the necessary assignments during class time. This task time is discussed with children and parents individually and follows the principle of individual development, which aims to keep school time and free time in balance. 12. Are there grades? No, as a matter of principle, grades are not given in a community school until grade 9. Since development and the associated processes are more important than assessment figures, the children regularly receive constructive feedback that follows the principle of “dialogic learning” and helps them progress in their learning process. Performance assessment and performance measurement are based on the standards and recommendations applicable to community schools, i.e., differentiated assessments of the students’ individual performance and developmental levels are made regularly and documented transparently for children and parents. Three progress reports are completed throughout the school year. All progress reports can be translated into grades at any time if a change of school occurs. A transfer to another school is possible at any time, as all reports can be translated into the grading system valid in the respective school system within or outside of Germany. 13. How can children, parents and teachers follow academic development? Children and parents receive progress reports with short descriptions three times a year combined with parent interviews, and a detailed description at the end of the school year. This corresponds to the report card. The International DAI School uses a school cloud from the Hasso Plattner Institute in its daily work. The platform allows parents to contact class teachers via message service and to view class portals that provide an overview of the trimester project and learning objectives in each subject. Everyone involved, including the children, can see their developmental progress. As the children grow older, they can complete the documentation independently. Completed projects and assignments are stored in the file archive until a child leaves school. 14. How can the children develop their creative talents? As part of the Baden-Württemberg educational plan, the children continue to develop their skills in music, art and crafts. Each subject is integrated into one of the trimester projects in “Deeper Learning” and additionally offered as a talent subject in the afternoon. In the Begeisterhaus, after the compulsory lessons, students can take advantage of offerings that go beyond this, such as the Theatre Club, Film Club, Book Club, Sports Club, Explorer’s Club, Magician’s Club or the Artists’ Club. 15. Do the children learn with digital media? Digital media are used during class time. We are currently creating a media curriculum that will allow children to learn all of the necessary skills in using computers, the Internet, and social networks in an age-appropriate and context-related way. In doing so, we are guided by meaningful integration into the subject areas. Each child will receive their own tablet and become familiar with the benefits of digital learning arrangements and documentation in the school cloud. We pay particular attention to teaching media literacy as early as grade 1. Of course, we also incorporate traditional forms of learning. 16. Is a high school diploma planned? In September 2021, the DAI International School will begin as a primary and community school up to the 10th grade. At the community school, learning takes place at all levels. Children of all skills and abilities are provided the opportunity to learn at the level that best suits their learning potential. After the exams in the 10th school year, students can transfer to any upper level of a Gymnasium. There is a wide range of options in Baden-Württemberg, from vocational high schools to G8 and G9. 18. What other special features are there? Best Practice and “Deeper Learning” In cooperation with the Bildungswissenschaftlichen Institut of the University of Heidelberg we are implementing teaching and learning methods that have been internationally proven to be the most effective such as project-oriented learning and “Deeper Learning.” Through project-oriented learning, the students engage themselves in the curriculum’s content through projects that are connected to their daily lives and allow them to understand why it is important to learn. “Deeper Learning” is a concept that is implemented in advanced countries. Here, the learning process is divided into three phases: knowledge acquisition, knowledge processing and knowledge presentation. This structure ensures sustainable learning and trains core competencies like the “Four Cs”: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Ethics from grade 1 The DAI School has a special focus on ethics training beginning in the first grade. As we are an International School with children from multiple countries and cultures we believe the students should be confronted with different religions throughout their school career. Furthermore, we want to establish and encourage a philosophical discourse. Experience shows that children are excellent philosophers in posing questions and discussing them within their own radius. Therefore, the “Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning” (SEE-Learning Program) by Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia) is a major part of the curriculum. SEE Learning highly values friendly, comprehensive and considerate interaction with one another, encourages empathy and social intelligence, and solidifies the understanding of basic values and social behaviour. School in a non-profit cultural centre The DAI Kindergartens and the DAI School are the first institutions of their kind in Germany that are run by a cultural centre. This link between the educational institutions and the cultural centre is unique: The shared facilities of the centre contribute to the educational life in the kindergartens and in the school. For example: our English library including a children’s librarian can be visited by the children from our kindergartens and school. Further, the speakers that visit the DAI can also be sent to the school on a regular basis which is a huge enrichment to the children’s education. Teachers profit from the DAI’s lectures which constitute a rich opportunity for their further education. Above all, the DAI’s policy of enhancing democracy and international understanding forms an adequate framework in which the educational assignment of the international kindergartens and the international school can thrive. It is a main task of the DAI as well as the primary goal of its International School to support and encourage children in their development into responsible citizens that are able to make informed decisions, value diversity as a form of enrichment, understand lifelong learning as a chance and a mandate and that are best prepared for life in a complex world. Last but not least, the DAI offers a platform for various speakers, and a wide and interested audience to discuss the topic “educational policy” on a broader basis. As a registered association, the DAI operates on a non-profit basis. Any amount of surplus flows back to the school and the kindergartens.