The curriculum and syllabus for ISI have been developed to suit the needs of an international student body. 


We are proud to offer two distinct programs, or “streams,” at ISI. The English Stream is for families whose parents have been temporarily assigned to work in Iceland by an embassy, business or university; typically, these families live in Iceland for 3 years or fewer. The Bilingual Steam is intended for students who live in Iceland on a permanent basis or for an undetermined length of time. Please refer to our Admissions section for further information.


The program of study includes English, Icelandic (Bilingual program only), mathematics, thematic units from the International Primary Curriculum, gym, swimming, art, textiles and woodwork.

Students in the English Stream also take an Icelandic Language/Culture class. The purpose of this course is to give students insight into the host country in which they are living (Iceland) as well as to introduce them to the language. We place importance on interpersonal communication skills and basic vocabulary, not academic Icelandic.

Emphasis is placed on meeting students at their academic and developmental level, and stimulating them to progress at an appropriate pace.


In the primary school, the International Primary Curriculum is one of our key tools for learning and producing 21st century learners. In other subjects at ISI, learning targets are aligned to either AERO Common Core Plus standards & benchmarks or the Icelandic curriculum standards. We apply the Student Engagement Framework (Janet Pilcher) to provide teachers with specific tools in order to improve student learning. Learning targets are visible and communicated to students in every class. As students engage in tasks to help them climb the learning ladder, teachers use formative assessments to gauge understanding and guide future lessons. Summative assessments are made through MAP testing (grades 2-8), the Icelandic national exams (grades 4 & 7) and in-class testing.


Professional learning is essential as part of the learning process. Teachers take part in weekly meetings and are observed and coached regularly. ISI is a member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and regularly attends conferences abroad.


Defining and supporting our underlying beliefs about how to approach children, the Positive Discipline Management Model (Jane Nelsen) is a cornerstone at our school. ISI has proudly used Positive Discipline techniques since 2006.


Key Terms at ISI


International Primary Curriculum (IPC)

AERO Common Core Plus

Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP)

Positive Discipline

Icelandic national curriculum

European Council of International Schools (ECIS)

Council of International Schools (CIS)


Click on the logo images at left to learn more about these great programs!


The Learning Support Tearm


The Learning Support Team looks for appropriate programs and resources to provide support  to students, staff and parents. The committee provides an effective procedure for identifying  students in need of additional support.  Members include the head of school, Learning Support Coordinator and other staff members. The committee is responsible for:


  • Policies regarding students in need of additional support and other matters that affect student well being, eg. the Anti-bullying Action Plan

  • Services provided, including counselling and personalized learning plans

  • Identification and assessments

  • Program delivery and accountability

  • Parent-school relationships

  • Evaluations


If you would like to contact the committee, please e-mail: elisa@internationalschool.is

Responsive Classroom Practices

ISI prides itself on the fact that more than 30 percent of its teaching staff have attended "Responsive Classroom" trainings. Responsive Classroom theory is a pedagogical approach that operates on the following principles:

  1. Teaching social and emotional skills is as important as teaching academic content.

  2. How we teach is as important as what we teach.

  3. Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.

  4. How we work together as adults to cre­ate a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment is as important as our individual contribution or competence.

  5. What we know and believe about our students—individually, culturally, developmentally—informs our expec­tations, reactions, and attitudes about those students.

  6. Partnering with families—knowing them and valuing their contributions—is as important as knowing the children we teach.


At ISI, we strive to implement Responsive Classroom practices throughout the school experience, using interactive modeling, intentional language, and interactive learning structures. Each morning, we begin the day with an "advisory" meeting in the homeroom teachers' classrooms, wherein students participate in guided discussions that promote developing practical life skills to help them navigate everyday circumstances. Additionally, this time is used to foster a safe and conducive classroom environment. Among many others, one of the goals is to create cohesion between peers, as well as a community of learning wherein students feel encouraged to explore, examine, and progress together. We also utilize positive discipline techniques to turn every experience into one of learning and growth. We highly recommend visiting the Responsive Classroom website to learn more!


International School of Iceland

Þórsmörk við Ægisgrund

210 Garðabær


Phone: 354 - 594-3100

GSM: 354 - 690-3100


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© 2021 International School of Iceland. Background photo used with permission from Tara Kaberry