Language conveys thought, and from a baby’s first wailing expression of needs to the creation of the finest works of literature, language is of the greatest importance.

At Hillside we recognise that language is our major means of thinking and communication. It is fundamental to learning and permeates the whole curriculum. It is not just learning a language but also learning about language and learning through language that we nurture a love of literature and an appreciation of its richness.

Speaking and listening, reading and writing skills, and viewing and presenting are taught sequentially throughout our school. English is our medium of teaching and learning, but all languages are valued and children are encouraged to use their mother tongue.

In the world of the 21st Century, it is increasingly acknowledged that a complete education includes the study of at least one additional language. Proficiency in another language brings great cultural and intellectual benefits as well as promoting cognitive growth and facilitating international understanding. Chinese is taught as our additional languages in both K1 and K2.

The teaching of languages at Hillside allows children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate effectively. The school uses the IBO Language Scope and Sequence along with the ESF developed guidelines to plan appropriate and engaging learning experiences.

What do we want the children to learn?

  • The reading process.
  • A love of reading.
  • The writing process.
  • A love of writing.
  • The effective use of language as a valuable life skill.
  • The internal structures of languages.
  • The complexity of languages.
  • That effectively communicating is the most important aspect of language.
  • How can our we help our children?

Research shows that parents who read to their children, listen to their children and talk with their children, give them a head start in life.
Parents and teachers have an important part to play in language development because children model themselves on those around them; therefore we need to provide good role models.
Children should be encouraged to ask questions and ‘wonder’ thus enabling them to learn new concepts and skills.
By providing opportunities to read, write, talk and play with language, whatever their age, we help them grow in self-confidence and they become willing to be risk takers. Being a risk taker is vital to language growth; making mistakes and learning from them should be seen as positive.

(Information on this page was taken in part from: “Making the PYP Happen” 2007. For further information, please visit:

Please CLICK HERE for the Hillside Language Policy

We offer introductory Chinese across all classes through a model where the Chinese teacher co-teaches with the English class teachers.

Our Chinese teacher rotates through the classes offering one session of Chinese contact for each class each week. Our Chinese teacher supports the core curriculum by offering Chinese vocabulary related to the current Units of Inquiry and daily routines. During the children open-play sessions, the teacher interacts with the children using Chinese, which makes to learning of Chinese more meaningful and in context for the children. Children will also have a special Chinese circle time, where a range of basic Chinese vocabulary will be introduced via songs, rhymes, and stories. Native Chinese speakers are recognised and will have opportunities for extension work in their mother tongue.

The Chinese culture and festivals also play an important part in our Chinese programme. The major festivals celebrated in Hong Kong, such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese New Year and Dragon Boat Festival are often highlighted in our programme.