GIST Grades 1 – 4

“We know every child, we care for every child!”

It is a German tradition that the first day of primary school is of significant importance. German Schools celebrate this particular day with children bringing their colorful “Schultüten” to school.

This is, of course, not the only aspect that sets the German International School Toronto apart from all the other schools in Toronto. To further investigate the tangible differences, please take a closer look below.



Highlights of our Primary School Program

  • We teach in teams: The main subjects German, English and Mathematics are taught by two teachers concurrently, ensuring that each student receives individual support.
  • We teach in combined grades: Grades 1 and 2 learn together, as well as Grades 3 and 4. This ensures that all differentiated levels and abilities are not only addressed, but tailored to the individual needs of the students.
  • We have small class sizes: Class sizes of up to 18 students, taught by two teachers in the main subjects, offer an unbeatable student-teacher-ratio. We know every child, we care for every child. This is not marketing, this is authentic quality education.
  • We teach children to write cursive! There is more to handwriting than meets the eye. Training fine-motor skills promotes brain development. Practicing cursive requires discipline and a commitment to quality, both important pillars of our Charakter program.

The curriculum in Primary


The very core of a school’s educational offer lies within its curriculum. At the GIST, we work with a unique school curriculum, because it makes the best use of Germany’s and Canada’s remarkable curricular foundations.

  • We teach the German language based on a German curriculum. This curriculum comes with tailored teaching and learning supplies. Our language support program called “support and challenge” helps all students to acquire strong German language skills.
  • We teach English based on the Ontario Curriculum, because our students deserve to excel in English. It ensures that no student falls behind their respective peers in Ontario. Students who are new to studying English benefit from our language support program delivered by our E.S.L. experts (English as a Second Language).
  • Mathematics is taught according to German curricular standards. This means that children learn times tables, explore the world of probability, operate with data, and expand their ability to arrive at solutions with formulas and calculations.
  • Beginning in Grade 3, we teach French based on a German curriculum. It is comparable with Ontario’s core French curriculum; however, it is competency-based and accelerated.

Ensured Quality

We want to make sure that every student can prosper and reach their full potential. All of our students are encouraged to participate in the following standardized third party testing:

  • Grade 3 VERA
    VERA is the German competency test in German and Mathematics
  • Grade 3 EQAO
    Ontario’s competency test for English (reading and writing) and Mathematics
  • A1-Test
    We offer the A1-Test (Common European Framework of the Reference for Languages) for students, whose native language is not German.

Additional resources

Find more information about aspects of our Primary Program!

What is so important about writing cursive? An article in Psychology Today cited research which shows that:

  • Students "wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard." This study included second, fourth, and sixth graders.
  • "Cursive writing helps train the brain to integrate visual (and) tactile information, and fine motor dexterity."
  • The regions of the brain that are activated during reading were "activated during hand writing, but not during typing."