Lower School (Grades 1-5) - The International School of Minnesota

Academic Life

Lower School (Grades 1-5)

Michel Nachar

Academics Director

A Letter From the Lower School Academic Quality Controller

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates

Students at The International School of Minnesota learn the value of taking risks and trying new things, as they are immersed in a community of supportive teachers and peers, encouraging them to explore new boundaries each day. Our students learn to not only ask questions, but also to ask the best questions to make new discoveries, find answers for themselves, and to lead others to new ways of thinking. The academic program at ISM teaches mastery of reading, writing, and mathematics together with problem solving, critical thinking, and creative expression. This is our commitment to providing students the skills to flourish in the 21st century.

There is a strong sense of community at ISM that supports all learners and requires the consideration of all viewpoints and opinions. We recognize that each student has a unique method for learning, and we strive to differentiate our curriculum, wherever possible, to reach each student where they are and capitalize on the success of each learner. For example, beginning in the lower school, students are placed in world language classes at levels to challenge and accommodate each individual learner. As students progress through the ISM curriculum, other subjects allow for this placement as well.

Character education is a particular focus in lower school, as students learn to be good citizens and kind classmates in a learning environment. The SABIS® philosophy of peer prefects, gives even the youngest students opportunities to guide, mentor, and support classmates. This character develops further through homerooms and advisory programs in the middle and upper school grades through the direct support and involvement of the SABIS Student Life Organization®. This can include peer tutoring, community service, and a variety of other cross grade activities. The ISM community is like a family with members from multiple age groups, backgrounds, and interests.

As an experienced educator and administrator, I have been involved in many school settings. The SABIS® approach to teaching is one that ensures no child is forgotten while the class moves on to a new concept. The regular checking for understanding in both formative and summative formats, keeps teachers aware of student progress and allows students to thrive in a trusted learning environment where they are held individually accountable. This system can be greatly successful, and I encourage you to come see what is being accomplished on the campus of The International School of Minnesota.

Lower School Curriculum

The Lower School years mark significant physical, cognitive, and emotional growth. Children become more aware of themselves and the world around them. At ISM, we provide an environment that helps students become confident in their identity and surroundings. We also work with students to develop a positive attitude towards learning, after which the foundation for academic achievement is laid.

We accomplish this by:

Curriculum Highlights:





Social Studies




World Language


Additional Subjects


SABIS® Digital Platform