Nursery, Kindergarten & Reception

Every Student in The Early Years is an IB Student

At St. Dominic’s International School, the Junior School is comprised of eight different grade levels. Three of these are in the Early Years. Nursery, Kindergarten and Reception. These years lay the foundations for future learning. Teachers aim to achieve a balance between cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development activities.

Young child engaged in playful learning activities at St. Dominic's International School's Early Years Programme, reflecting the nurturing and creative educational environment.
Developmental Approach

Younger students benefit from a clear structure and routine throughout the day, so the daily schedule is designed to encourage your child’s full potential.

At this age, students typically develop at their own speed.  Our differentiated approach carefully focus on how each child learns the best.

Inquiry-based Learning

Like the rest of the Primary Years Programme, the focus is on inquiry based learning but in the early years, this is very much a play based learning environment.

The students are learning through hands on interaction with their learning on a daily basis.

The Subjects

Early Years students also cover all the different primary school subjects, albeit in a slightly different method of learning.   All Junior School students have Portuguese and English, all the strands of mathematical understanding, a range of science concepts and strands, social studies, art, music and physical education, with weekly swimming lessons for Kindergarten and Reception students.

The Social-Emotional Programme

A caring teacher providing guidance to a student at St. Dominic's International School, representing the school's commitment to comprehensive pastoral support.

Besides supporting students who may need additional support in any area, the Counsellor at the Learning Support Team at St. Dominic's  runs a social-emotional programme.

The Junior School Counsellor works with the class teachers to integrate as much as possible the program into our program of inquiry, helping students to develop emotional intelligence and social skills, which are very important for future learning.

IB Learner Profile at St. Dominic's​

At the heart of the PYP is the IB Learner Profile, a set of attributes that are continuously developed from Nursery all the way through to Grade 12. The Learner Profile is developed throughout the school, inside and outside of the classroom, including on the playground. All teachers in the school - whether it's a language lesson, a math lesson, looking at some science concepts or social studies - will be looking at the learner profile.

The Learner Profile exemplifies the HOLISTIC development of the student, and supports our MISSION of NURTURING INTERNATIONALLY-MINDED PEOPLE prepared to make a difference in the world. 

FAQ Early Years Programme

What is a school day like for Early Years Students?

Classes start at 8:20 am

During the morning, children have a morning snack and break time.

In the Early Years, lunch is at 11:30 am, in the school’s main refectory, followed by the lunch break in the playground.

After that, the Nursery students nap, whilst Kindergarten and Reception students return to their classrooms for activities.

Kindergarten and Reception students have a weekly swimming lesson in the afternoon.

Before dismissal, which is at 3:20pm, children have their afternoon snack.

Afterschool activities run from 3:30pm to 4:15pm.

Is there an adaptation plan for new students?

Every child and every family are different. All children go through a period of adaptation when they start at a new school and the community at St Dominic’s, we is very experienced at integrating new students. The teachers, the  assistants and the students are very used to welcoming students from very different cultural backgrounds and contexts, making for a positive integration in the community.

Within our Learning Support Team, we have a Junior School counsellor who may also contribute to a successful adaptation.

Is food provided by the school?

All Early Years students have school lunch which is supplied by a certified catering company. Soup, fish, meat and vegetarian options, salad and fresh fruit. There are also options for children with dietary restrictions.

We ask parents to bring a healthy morning and afternoon snack, and a refillable water bottle.


What is communication with the families like?

Besides the expected termly meetings with the teachers and students, parents have other occasions to get to know more about their child’s learning, for example:

  • Assemblies and Sharing Mornings 
  • The student’s learning journal
  • Overviews at the beginning of each unit of learning
  • An app where students’ portfolios are developed and that parents have access to
  • Daily communication with the teacher at the time of dismissal
  • Junior School Secretary

The IB Primary Years Programme

For more information, please visit the IBO website