International School Manila

Integrity - Service - Merit

Early Childhood at ISM

Who We Are

The ISM Preschool program is designed to encourage a balance of child-initiated and teacher-facilitated activites. It offers children a variety of choices provided within a carefully planned indoor and outdoor environment. Emphasis is on learning through play in an environment planned to encourage discovery, independence and social interaction.

School is an enjoyable place to be.
Preschool is a child’s first experience with school. One of our main goals is for children to know that school and learning are fun. 

ISM is a play-based curriculum.
It is through play that children learn about their world. Research shows that play helps children learn how to work with others and solve problems. Play promotes executive functioning, imagination, independence and creativity. Children gain confidence and learn about risk-taking. 

Relationships are at the heart of our program. 
Each classroom consists of 20 children (mixed ages) and three teachers. We spend a lot of time getting to know the children. Conversations take place all day, every day in a variety of situations. We value the time we spend with our children. 

Our program aims to develop the skills necessary to be a lifelong learner.
When we ask parents what they want for their children, their answers can usually be organized into the learning skills that weave through all learning. These are Collaboration, Communication, Creative-Critical-Reflective Thinking, Research and Self-Management.

The children’s interests are at the center of the content we investigate. 
ISM Preschool runs an emergent curriculum; this means that the teachers listen to the ideas and interests of the children, then guide them to inquire into these interests while focusing on the development of the transdisciplinary skills. 

We learn through inquiries based on the interests and needs of our children.
The children are able to explore these opportunities with teacher guidance. The children take responsibility for their learning; the teachers act as guides, encouraging inquiry and reflection.

The role of the teacher is stage manager, mediator, player, scribe, assessor and planner, and collaborator. 
The teachers are always thinking of how to develop the skills and dispositions of the children. Through “give and take” communication and learning opportunities, the children develop meaningful relationships with the teacher.

We go outside…a lot. 
We know that exuberant, physical play supports preschoolers’ development. Energetic big-body play allows children to use language, understand cause and effect, and learn how to negotiate, take turns, compromise, and make and follow rules. Big body play is an important way to support physical development.  

We believe in learning through experiences. 
Our school is very large and presents a variety of opportunities for us to learn from. Robotics demonstrations, dance shows and visiting musicians are just a few of our common experiences. Small and large groups go on adventures around our campus, discovering nature, art, older children as well as learning opportunities and problems to be investigated along the way.

Help me do it alone. 
Developing independence is an important part of our program. Parents can help by encouraging their children to do things by themselves and by ensuring that all caregivers do the same. Ways you can support this are by having children:

  • Put their shoes and socks on by themselves
  • Dress and dry themselves
  • Use scissors to cut paper and open snacks
  • Open their own containers
  • Carry their bags
  • Fill their own water bottle


Learning in Preschool

Click HERE to view the Preschool Skills Continuum.