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If you think...

If you think young children thrive in an environment where they are encouraged and guided to investigate and discover but not pushed before they are ready, GISW might be for you.

Our preschool setting provides our youngest learners with a thoughtfully arranged hands-on learning environment that combines social-emotional support alongside an introduction to early math and science concepts, exploration of the arts, and language development within the framework of multicultural learning.Whether children are painting, cutting, creating, constructing, building, singing, dancing, playing with costumes, climbing, balancing or digging in the sand, they are always discovering, researching, inventing and becoming familiar with their world.

If you think education is best delivered in a way that makes children excited and curious about learning, rather than dreading the school day, GISW might be for you.

Our school-entry level students (ages 5-6 are introduced to literacy concepts and the nuances of language, leading to early reading and writing skills, without being forced to read before they are truly ready. We continue building developmentally appropriate math and science skills, foster interest in the arts and expand on the skills needed to start school in 1st grade. We strongly believe that it is essential to allow children to develop at their own pace, supported by caring and knowledgeable teachers. We create a play-based, inviting and stimulating learning environment for all learning types. When it’s time for Grade 1, our students can’t wait to start.

If you think children should have ample time to learn and discover outside the classroom, engage in their favorite activities, and you appreciate access to extracurricular programs in one central location, GISW might be for you.

Classes begin at 8:10 am and end at 1:30 pm for our Elementary School; after that, students from first through 4th grade have access to a wide array of activities – artistic, creative, athletic, inventive, and academically-focused, including additional language opportunities. Parents sign up for different afternoon courses every school year to allow their children the opportunity to explore a new sport, join the choir, jump on stage, experiment in a science lab, get some additional help with a particular subject and so much more. Our preschool (ages 2-4) and School Entry Level (ages 5-6) participate in their own afternoon programs, specifically designed for their needs and based on their curriculum.

If you think it’s difficult for working parents to arrange after-school care, GISW might be for you.

Extended care options make it convenient for working families to ensure their children are well cared for and having fun until it’s time to go home. Activities from 3:10-5:00 pm are typically less structured yet well-supervised, allowing for students to play outside, decompress after the school day, have a snack that they may make together, play some board games, do some arts and crafts, or just rest and relax. They can also use the time to complete any homework they may have, leaving time at home for family connections.

If you think subjects should be taught across all grades, not just for one year, GISW might be for you.

Beginning in Grade 4, students engage regularly in hands-on science lab opportunities. They take natural & applied sciences as well as biology, chemistry and physics throughout Elementary, Middle and Upper School, not just for one year. Topics are covered multiple times, with increased sophistication, as the students mature and their thinking develops. Math subjects such as Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus are introduced early as basic concepts and continue to be covered in increased complexity through the curriculum as students move up through each grade.

If you think studying the same subject at the same time each day can become tedious, GISW might be for you.

Students follow a weekly schedule, with all subjects being taught across the week, but not necessarily every day or always at the same time. The variety of subject matter within a week relieves stress and gives all students the chance to shine in languages, math, sciences, computer science, history, social studies, geography, religion/ethics, arts, music, or physical education.

If you think mastery of at least one additional language is important in today’s world, GISW might be for you.

The main language of the classroom is German, with Biology and History taught in both English and German on a topic by topic basis. In Grade 6, students can study Spanish or French as a third language, in Grade 8 they can choose to begin Latin, and in Grade 10 students can add a fourth language if they so choose.

If you think parents shouldn’t be excessively involved with their children’s school projects at home, GISW might be for you.

One of the basic tenants of our educational philosophy is that of gradually and systematically developing independence and responsibility for one’s own learning. Starting in Elementary School, students are provided with their own agenda and are encouraged to keep track themselves of assignments, projects and other important details. Parents are involved and informed, but students are increasingly expected to handle their school responsibilities on their own.

If you think students spend too much time on mindless homework, GISW might be for you.

Homework is intended to identify gaps in knowledge, close those gaps, and solidify learning. Some assignments are meant to foster independence, develop individual problem-solving skills, challenge students and extend learning. In Elementary School, teachers assign only small and manageable amounts of homework, which can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, based on the students’ age and grade. Students requiring additional help receive this in dedicated sessions in the afternoon program. By the time they get to the upper grades, homework typically involves contributions to group projects, independent reading and research, and completion of outstanding assignments. Thus, students at the GISW have time to devote to sports, theater, dance, choir, debate, Model UN or other interests that are just as important to child development as academic learning.

If you think standardized exams, or fill-in-the-bubble scantron tests don’t fully evaluate learning, GISW might be for you.

GISW students rarely take multiple choice exams, instead encountering exam questions that require written answers, based on reasoning and explanations. Many assessments look for demonstration of the understanding of broader concepts including analytical elements that cannot be answered through rote memorization. Teachers also assess learning through oral presentation, group projects and other types of assignments.

If you think school administrators may lose touch with what’s happening in the classroom, GISW might be for you.

All of GISW’s department heads, members of the School Management Team - even the Head of School - continue teaching at least one class group throughout their tenure with us. Staying involved in the classroom allows them to remain current with teaching methodologies and learning strategies. At GISW, teachers seek to understand the whole character of their students, not just in terms of their classroom performance. Students and teachers get to know each other well, in and out of the classroom, through extracurricular activities and community events, so that all students feel supported.


At the German International School Washington D.C., students receive intensive instruction in math, sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), history, social studies, geography, art and music in addition to their foreign languages. This curriculum, recognized for both its depth and breadth, emphasizes the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, challenges students to think, speak, read and write in at least two languages, and encourages students to place what they learn in a global context. Students who graduate carry a US High School Diploma as well as the highly-regarded German International Abitur, allowing for entry into universities and higher-education institutions around the world.

By inspiring inquisitive, open-minded, independent thinkers with a robust, internationally oriented and well-rounded curriculum of languages, natural and social sciences, mathematics and arts, we think…

…the German International School Washington D.C. might be the right place for you.

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The German International School Washington D.C. stays in touch with its alumni around the globe and is very proud of their achievements.

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Founded in 1969 and run solely by parent volunteers, this group raises funds to benefit GISW. Learn more about the Friends