Language is fundamental to learning, thinking and communicating, and permeates the whole curriculum.


It is necessary not only to learn language, but also learn about language and through language. Learning best takes place in authentic contexts, through units of inquiry and with literature playing a special role in enabling this to happen. The strands of oral, written and visual communication are learned across and throughout the subject areas.

Language learning is fundamental to all learning, and in particular, to developing effective communication skills. English is the language of instruction and is taught through a balanced literacy approach that covers all components of English. The language program is differentiated to allow all students’ access to the Primary Years Program (PYP). We provide an inclusive environment that values students’ cultural backgrounds, mother tongue languages and offers opportunities to learn Chinese (Mandarin) as a second or additional language.

Our English curriculum is based on the ESF Language Scope and Sequence document and the FIrst Steps resource materials. Learning and teaching occurs in each of four interconnected strands; reading, writing, spekaing and listening, and viewing and presenting. Within each of these strands there is a balance between the acquisition of knowledge skills and the development of conceptual understanding.


Clearwater Bay School is a member of the English Schools Foundation (ESF) and uses the ESF English curriculum documentation to inform teaching and learning from Years One to Six.

In English, there are four strands covered in all year levels throughout an academic year:

    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Speaking & Listening
    • Viewing & Presenting

The curriculum ‘Scope and Sequence’ documents you will find below provide an overview of what is being taught in the area of English across each year level. These documents are used as the basis for all English teaching and learning planned across the school.


With Hong Kong’s international context and location as a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) we offer Mandarin as our additional language. Chinese is an important part of our language curriculum and studying it will greatly assist students to live and study in Asia into the future. Through the study of Chinese language students also develop an understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture.

We use a topic-based approach to teaching Modern Chinese which connects with students daily lives and where possible aligns to the Unit of Inquiry being studied. Work is predominantly oral in the early years, and is then extended to include reading and writing characters.

Our Chinese teachers plan and work together so that we can meet the needs of both first language Chinese speakers as well as the needs of students learning Chinese as an additional language. Students are grouped in classes according to their Chinese language ability and teachers then differentiate their teaching to cater to the various language needs of different groups of students in their class. Those students who are learning Chinese as a foreign language will learn basic Chinese characters and pinyin, with Chinese culture also a strong feature. Students who have some background in speaking Chinese but may lack the ability to read or write characters are also catered for whilst students who are native speakers of Chinese will learn how to read and write characters and study Chinese literature.

The school has four full time Mandarin teachers who each have a full time education assistant to assist students in Mandarin lessons. Students in Years 1 and 2 have three Chinese lessons a week whilst students in Years 3-6 have the equivalent of a daily lesson. Most lessons are of 45 minutes, except for a longer ‘double’ lesson on one day, enabling students in years 3-6 to pursue some aspects of their learning in greater depth.


Mother Tongue language

Students at Clearwater Bay School speak a variety of mother tongue languages as well as second and additional languages other than English. The influence of mother tongue language development is significant for all learners’ cognitive development, and in maintaining cultural identity. Success in mother tongue language development is a strong predictor of long-term academic achievement including the acquisition of second and additional languages.