English at school

At “Primary Steps” our children follow three English Language courses which are taught entirely in English, ie Intensive English, English Communication Project (ECP) and STEM. These are taught by teachers with native speaker proficiency and are in addition to the statutory English lessons which form part of the Polish National Curriculum.

Intensive English Programme

Intensive English are lessons which are divided into groups according to level of proficiency, taking age categories into account.

In the above categories the children, following the core curriculum “English for Young Learners” designed for the given level, prepare for the Cambridge YLE (Young Learners English) exams: Starters, Movers and Flyers. The progress made by each child and scope to which it masters the language determines when it can take the exam. Sitting the exam is not compulsory. At each level the children develop their abilities, and obtaining the Cambridge certificate is an additional reward for each child’s effort, strong motivation to study further and reinforcement of belief in one’s ability.

During the lessons in exam classes the children carry out tasks typical for YLE tests, so as to familiarise themselves with them and prepare as well as possible for the exam, which takes place in mid-June. In addition, the coursebooks used by the children in class help them to develop the skills required for the exam. In the middle of the school year the children in exam classes can evaluate their level of preparation through a mock exam before sitting the Cambridge exam.

The Cambridge YLE exams (organised in our school) are carried out in a stress-free environment and allow the children to gain positive experience. The YLE exams always end with the reception of a certificate.

The YLE test at each level contains the following parts:

– Listening

– Reading and Writing

– Speaking

English Communication Project (ECP)

Research! Present! Debate! Invent! ECP represents a fresh, vibrant approach to promoting fluency and accuracy in English. We aim to fully engage our students in projects which will provide ample opportunities for them to explore and celebrate their English skills, in both formal and informal contexts.

Critical thinking, creative problem solving, values, presentation skills and debating language are just some of the areas we will be investigating, in a fun, supportive environment.

For example; our first debate will pose the question, ‘Is homework a waste of time?’ Our first value-themed endeavour will be to write a short play entitled, ‘The New Student in Class’ and our first creative solution challenge will be to design a healthy fast food company to rival certain junk food giants.

Students will be expected to communicate solely in English for the duration of these lessons and will be encouraged to help each other find the words to express their ideas.

STEM English Programme

STEM is an acronym formed from the English words: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In the European Union it is also known by the name MTS – Mathematics, Science, Technology. STEM is a teaching program integrating the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics in one cohesive whole. During the lessons students also learn critical thinking, stepping outside fixed ways of thinking, posing hypotheses and verifying them through experiments.

At “Primary Steps” our children follow a programme which integrates the four STEM areas, rather than teaching them separately. For example, during a topic on the sun and the moon, the children learn about the movement of the earth (Science). They learn about the different properties of balls and spheres (Mathematics). Finally, they design and make simple sun-dials (Technology and Engineering).

Our STEM programme is based on the CLIL approach (Content and Language Integrated Learning) where academic subjects are taught through the medium of a foreign language, ie English. CLIL consists of four important elements, ie:

  • Content, where children are introduced to new topics;
  • Communication, involving speaking, reading and writing about what they have learnt;
  • Cognitive, where children are introduced to unfamiliar concepts (or familiar concepts in greater detail);
  • Cultural, which encourages children to develop awareness of, and respect for the values and attitudes of others, and to recognise the contributions and achievements of people throughout the world.

The challenges of learning STEM subjects in English

It takes several years for learners to acquire confidence and skill in a second language, particularly in academic subjects. To support those children who are still in the early stages of learning English, activities are planned so that they can play a full part in lessons at their own level. In addition, the use of practical investigations, simplified vocabulary and a wide range of visual resources provide additional support in helping children to understand subject content.

Forest school

Our Forest School programme has been running since the primary school first opened. Along with our similar programme in our kindergarten, it was launched with guidance from a UK certificated Forest School leader.


UK Forest Schools were inspired by an approach to education which began in Scandinavia in the 1950’s as a way of teaching children about the natural world through first-hand experience outdoors. Outdoor learning is now an important part of the Scandinavian school curriculum, particularly in Denmark and Sweden.


Children now spend far less time outdoors than their parents and grandparents did. This is partly because of the increase in traffic, the loss of open spaces where children can play freely, and concerns about children’s safety. In addition, increased use of the computer, TV and video games means that many children are spending more of their leisure time indoors.

Forest School provides a challenging but safe learning environment which enables children to:

  • be physically active
  • be creative
  • take risks
  • develop confidence and self-esteem
  • learn about the natural world
  • work both independently and with others


All children in Classes 1-3 spend one afternoon each month at Forest School, when they are taken by bus to the forest in Wapienica. An important part of the Forest School ethos is that children should experience the natural world in all seasons, regardless of the weather (except in the case of strong winds).

All Forest School lessons are delivered primarily in English, with additional support in Polish where necessary. The children play organised games that are related to the natural world. They take part in woodcraft activities, eg building shelters, making simple objects from natural materials etc. They also have the opportunity to spend part of each session on free play.

Catch up

Consultations (1h) run by English teachers in order to catch up with any material missed by a child due to their longer absence or to help them with any problems with learning the material.