Through both the taught English and Chinese curriculum as well as the Mother Tongue programme, ISA Tianhe recognises the value in developing students’ language skills.


The ISA Tianhe Chinese curriculum aims to explore the subject through activities surrounding the language to build a comprehensive Chinese culture course. Covering history, philosophy, art and thinking modes, we provide a platform for children from different countries and regions to fully understand and learn Chinese language and culture. Through animation demonstrations, video interpretation, outdoor exploration and other methods, students are encouraged to understand the past and the present of Chinese characters, appreciate the charm of them, and feel the profound Chinese culture embedded in them. With instruction delivered through a range of rich and interesting inquiry-based learning activities, such as Chinese Calligraphy Competitions, Knowledge Competitions on Chinese Characters and Ancient Chengdu Explorations, students are provided a hands-on approach to learning Chinese, and learn to appreciate the Chinese culture.



In the Early Year programme, EY1-EY3 students have three hours of required class and an extra three hours of optional class (in either English or Chinese, depending on parent preference) each week. EY4 students have 4 hours of required class and 4 hours of optional class. EY4 students will be taught by different teachers as they are divided into groups according to their proficiency in Chinese.


In Primary, Chinese focuses on promoting reading in combination with writing, and lessons are taught by theme. Primary students have four hours of required class and an extra four hours of optional class (in either English or Chinese, depending on parent preference) each week. Students are divided into different levels of classes according to their proficiency in Chinese; namely ‘advanced’, ‘intermediate’, ‘proficient’, or ‘beginner’.


The ISA Tianhe English as an Additional Language department strives to nourish its growth mindset by viewing all challenges as opportunities for positive change and development. Based on the Nelson English school programme, EAL teachers focus on supporting English language learning with classroom based instruction primarily focused on core literacy skills such as comprehension, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary. EAL teachers also assist students in their homeroom classes with regular ‘push ins’ through small group support classes.


For all EAL students, an understanding of the connections between language, reality and the world are emphasised. As language barriers can often become a barrier to learning in other areas, rather than the EAL program focusing on learning foreign to English translations, we strive to teach English in the context of a variety of disciplines, to enhance students’ ability to have greater command and use of the language.


Mother Tongue

The school provides a strong Mother Tongue language programme to help students practice and develop their skills within their home language. Every language is unique, and reflects rich culture and traditions, so through the Mother Tongue programme, we aim to cover the aspects of the academic curriculum that children may miss as an international student in a foreign country. This allows then to have a deeper connection with their heritage through language.

All students have five hours of English and four hours of Chinese lessons per week. Students with a different Mother Tongue will also have four hours of language tuition, currently offered in French, Italian, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish. Students with a Chinese heritage can choose to do an extra four hours of Chinese or English lessons.