Beliefs & Practices

The Outdoor International Primary School is a bilingual Primary School in Altopascio (Lucca) developing understanding and new awareness as well as promoting an international mindedness. The school offers an innovative bilingual education and a stimulating curriculum in Italian and English through outdoor integrated learning for children from 6-11 years of age. We aim to inspire a lifelong love of learning in our students in a friendly, caring and nurturing environment.

Bringing students outdoors into the world is highly stimulating for them. It gives them the chance to discover how their newly acquired skills can be applied in life. It further builds their self-esteem helping them become confident in making sense of the world.


Our dual language English/Italian programme enables children to learn another language as well as learn through another language and inspires an enthusiasm for learning. Our programme develops each child’s unique potential and prepares children for success in a rapidly changing, multicultural and interdependent world.


Our curriculum is designed to be consistent with the objectives of the Italian National Curriculum.

Our pedagogy is a child-centred, inquiry-based approach to learning that builds on children’s prior knowledge and natural curiosity, enables them to make connections across subjects and to the real world, and construct meaning through active engagement in the learning process. This approach to learning is based on constructivist learning theory that posits children learn best when learning is meaningful and relevant, and they are actively engaged in the learning process.

Children learn through discovery, exploration and guided inquiry and teachers design the curriculum to include hands-on learning activities and real-world problem solving tasks. Teachers utilize a variety of instructional strategies, materials and activities to address the different developmental levels, language levels, and learning styles present in the classroom and ensure that each child’s individual learning needs are met. Small class sizes and individual attention also enable teachers to meet each child’s educational, social and emotional needs.


Our programme encourages children to become independent learners and thinkers, to ask questions, think critically, reflect on their learning, and to make inferences and draw conclusions. Children develop decision-making and problem-solving skills as well.


Our Units of Study are designed to be interdisciplinary with Language and Mathematics taught discretely as well integrated into the unit. The children learn in all subject areas: Language (speaking, listening, reading, writing, and viewing and presenting) Mathematics, Science, History and Geography, Art, Music, Drama, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) and Physical Education. ICT is embedded and integrated in all areas of the curriculum and is seen as a tool to enhance and extend students’ learning.

``Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself``.

(John Dewey)

Units of study

Our units of study are selected for their potential to offer authentic, first-hand learning to our students We aim to provide a balance of investigational work, so that essential understandings are considered throughout the year. Understandings of:
our need for Personal Meaning, Wellbeing, Pattern/Order, Sustainability, Group Membership, Communication, Creativity and Design, Innovation and Production


At the Outdoor International Primary School we believe that the children we teach should become aware of growth shaping their immediate environment and noting the positive impact they can make. The school itself has a wide garden with plenty of trees and places for wildlife to thrive. We also extend our many experiences in the outdoor thanks to the Forest School setting. Moreover the close railway station gives us the opportunity to see up close many places of interest, different types of environments and historical attractions we are lucky enough to have at short distance.


The overall goal of all our investigations is to contribute to the development of both immediate and more international perspectives, learning to act positively and responsibly and in ways that make a positive difference to the world.


Throughout the school year we have special days which highlight student learning, special events and celebrations in our school community and the wider world. We also celebrate days that highlight our cultural and linguistic diversity such as Language Day and International Day, and designated United Nations days such as International Day of Peace, World Water Day, and International Mother Earth Day as part of our on-going programme to develop international mindedness. Special Days are an opportunity to share and celebrate as part of our local and global community.


We value and foster strong partnerships with parents and believe that when educators, parents and students work collaboratively they enrich and maximize children’s learning. We encourage parents to be involved in the life of the School and welcome their ideas and suggestions for ways to participate. We invite parents to share their areas of expertise with the children and school community. This may include a particular skill, career, or musical talent.

01. Teachers

Our teachers are mother-tongue speakers who are fully committed to developing the whole child. They are highly qualified and experienced, and work and plan closely to deliver a strong
educational programme in both Italian and English. We continuously reflect on our practice and are committed keeping abreast of current research and practices in all areas of education and incorporate them into our programme as they best meet the needs of our students.

02. Self and peer assessments

An essential condition for the development of formative assessment is that students become engaged in self and peer assessment. Self and peer assessment is another important aspect of the learning process as it gives children more control and responsibility of their learning.
Through self-assessing children begin to reflect and evaluate, grow understanding and improve motivation, leading to pride in positive achievement and offering a realistic appraisal of areas of improvement. Children can then gain a better understanding of what makes a good piece of work and how to critically reflect on their work.

03. Bilingual Education

We believe that children benefit greatly from being taught in two languages and that a Bilingual Education is an enriched model of education with numerous advantages for children. A bilingual education provides children with the opportunity to communicate and to learn in two languages, enhances cognitive development and develops a greater understanding of other cultures as well as a deeper appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity. In addition a bilingual education has been shown to increase academic and linguistic performance, raise self-esteem and make it easier to learn additional languages. It also enlarges and enhances opportunities for children throughout their lives. We chose a bilingual education model which reflects the values of Additive Bilingualism where the child’s mother tongue is nurtured, and Italian and English are valued equally. Our dual language programme is based on a model in which approximately half of the programme is delivered in Italian and half in English. The core subjects of Language, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography are taught in both Italian and English. Our mother-tongue Italian and English teachers collaborate and plan closely so that children develop the ability to communicate and gain academic proficiency in both languages.

04. Assessment

Assessment gives feedback on student learning. The purpose of assessment is to provide students, teachers and parents with information to improve, guide, support and celebrate student learning, and to inform and plan instruction. Students are actively involved in their assessment. Summative Assessment takes place at the end of the teaching and learning process and provides feedback on what was learned and helps in setting further educational goals. Formative Assessment takes place during the teaching and learning process and informs on-going instruction. On-going assessment and regular reports ensure that children can easily transfer back into the Italian school system, their national school system or to another international school.
Italian children will be prepared to pass the Italian state school exam (esame d’idoneità) every school year.



Children arrive


School Time


Snack and play


School Time





13.45- 16.00

School Time


Snack and After School Club


Child Care provided