Welcome to DUCKS School! 


Ducks Beijing is a dual language infant school (3-7 years) that offers children a wealth of learning experiences within the security of a translanguaging environment. We establish the foundations for lifelong learning ensuring our children are on the path to be truly global citizens that will make a difference.

Our inquiry-based approach to learning uses the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the English National Curriculum standards as the progressive spine for an enhanced conceptual framework of units of investigation. The development of 21st century skills and deep understanding are key features of our purposeful approach.

Our setting nurtures holistic development. We are highly aspirational about our children’s outcomes. Wellbeing and a sense of self are essential to happy and confident individuals who will seek to explore their own interests. Our creative provision spans across the indoor and outdoor environments and enables children to take risks and develop independence. It provokes curiosity and an excitement to learn.

Our school community puts students first. We use values-based approaches in our interactions, behaviours, systems, and decision making. We aim to cultivate our unique differences to build a sense of belonging. 


Tracey Francis

Head of the DUCKS Dulwich College Beijing


DUCKS Structure

Foundation Stage
Key Stage 1

Foundation Stage

  • Nursery – 3 to 4 years
  • Reception – 4-5 years

In the Foundation Stage at DUCKS, we believe that your child’s educational journey begins as soon as they enter Nursery, building up the 0-3 stage of development at home.   We provide children with safe, engaging experiences through careful planning and building strong relationships with our children and their families.

We use the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum to facilitate learning through inquiry and play-based approaches. Children follow their own interests under the support and guidance of our experienced teachers. During the school day, children learn in a variety of ways- carpet sessions, small groups, and independent learning. Carpet sessions are interspersed throughout the day, allowing teachers to give direct teaching of key skills such as key concepts from early literacy and numeracy. These sessions are short and interactive, engaging children in their learning. Provocations which promote awe and wonder helping to develop an understanding of the world and build the foundations to becoming Worldwise citizens. There are opportunities to collaborate, and work in pairs or independently, allowing children to develop social skills such as sharing resources and spaces, and learning how to work together. Teachers are constantly observing and listening carefully to the discussions in order to know how best to extend learning. This might be done by joining the conversation, narrating what is happening or introducing another resource. 

Developing personal, social and emotional skills is paramount in Foundation Stage and children are supported in their development throughout the day. This may be through stories or circle times where children have the chance to share their ideas and make connections to their own experiences. At other times, teachers will build understanding ‘in the moment’, as children interact with each other, helping them to problem solve and develop empathy through restorative conversations. Throughout their time in Foundation Stage, children will begin to be able to self-regulate, independently manage their emotions, interact with others and seek help when they need it.

Our children have the opportunity to take their learning anywhere, with provocations and activities carefully planned to build key skills and knowledge they will need as they progress into Key Stage 1 and beyond. There is an equal emphasis placed on learning indoors and learning outdoors, with children having free-flow access to outside spaces throughout the day. Independence and resilience are built through interactions with the natural world, as well as opportunities for physical play and challenge. Whether in the classroom or in the garden areas, our teachers have carefully assessed and evaluated the environments to ensure children can explore risk, which is a vital part of their development. By teaching key skills and scaffolding as children practice and learn, our children develop their ability to assess risk, and build essential skills balance,

Through our values characters, Foundation Stage children learn about our values, developing their ability to be resilient when faced with changes, confidence to speak in English and respect for their classrooms and our DUCKS community, to name a few. We encourage our children to be independent by scaffolding and gentle encouragement, they learn to organise their belongings and lead their learning. 

Key Stage 1

  • Year 1 - 5 to 6 years
  • Year 2 - 6 to 7 years

In Key Stage 1, we build on the fundamentals established in the Foundation Stage. Continually developing independence and the ability to sustain focus and engagement are key as children move into Years 1 and 2.

The curriculum is carefully organised into Units of Investigation, which aid to motivate and inspire children. We continue to develop the whole child through a range of methods including discrete teaching, exploration, inquiry, student agency, and collaborative learning activities, which support the development of speaking, listening, and social skills.   

In Key Stage 1, children continue to have access to provocations for new learning, consolidation, and to apply learning through play. Nonetheless, the timetable becomes more structured to meet the increased expectations of the National Curriculum.

Key standards are delivered through our teaching and learning programme. Our aim is to foster a love of English language and literature, which additionally supports children to access and enjoy the broader curriculum. .  'Talk for Writing' lessons provide a platform for children to explore quality texts through imitation and innovation. Alongside our 'Talk for Writing' approach, children dive deep into a range of text types where they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry, and drama – as well as non-fiction texts. We teach maths through an integrated approach that incorporates discrete and inquiry-based methods. Our Programme of Investigation interweaves many curriculum areas to create curiosity and wonder for learning. Each unit of inquiry allows children to develop 21st century skills; to follow their interests and be inquisitive learners.

Our Positive Education approach ensures that our children can thrive now and in the future. This includes helping children to deal with critical issues they face every day such as emotional wellbeing and change, friendships, keeping themselves happy, healthy, and safe, as well as giving them the necessary skills to navigate the wider world. Through our Dulwich Values children are able to understand how their actions and attitudes affect others and their own learning. Children develop an awareness of when they are being kind, respectful, responsible, and showing integrity to themselves and others. It reminds them to be confident, resilient, and open-minded when learning and trying new things.


Explore DUCKS

Learning at DUCKS:

Since first opening its doors in 2005, Dulwich College Beijing has made play-based, transdisciplinary learning an important part of the DUCKS programme across all classrooms, both indoors and outdoors, to foster young children’s motivation, independence, and responsibility for their own learning.

In keeping with the benefits of a play-based approach and a rigorous educational programme for young children, DUCKS has moved towards a more concept-based, inquiry-driven learning model. 

Children at DUCKS follow a curriculum based on the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum of England, adapted to meet the needs of our students. The curriculum has been designed to maintain breadth and balance, while maintaining focus on English, Maths and Chinese. Children have discrete lessons in English, Maths and Phonics. They receive teaching from specialists in PE, Music and Art. All other subjects are taught through our exciting Inquiry programme.

Our inquiry-based approach to learning places students at the centre of their own learning. By triggering our student’s natural sense of curiosity and teaching students how to learn we have a community in which students are problem solvers who explore, ask questions, and share ideas. Students in DUCKS will become leaders in their own learning and are encouraged to investigate and research areas they have an interest in themselves. By listening to our student's interests and following these in our investigations, our students develop skills based on areas that matter to them. Click here to learn more. 


Language Acquisition

DUCKS Beijing is a dual language infant school that offers children a wealth of learning experiences within the security of a translanguaging environment. We establish the foundations for lifelong learning ensuring our children are on the path to be truly global citizens that will make a difference.

Our students receive personalised language support as they progress through DUCKS. For EAL students in need of language support, our teaching staff are adept at developing both basic interpersonal and academic language. Reflecting on the strengths of the students, they plan and deliver scaffolded content in order to ensure all students make progress in their English language learning journey. The EAL team provides additional support both in class and outside the classroom to ensure all students have access to the curriculum. By working with small groups and individuals, the team helps children gain confidence and resilience to have a go at tasks involving English.

The Chinese learning in DUCKS aims to develop students’ communicative, cognitive and critical thinking skills in Chinese, meanwhile well preparing them in reading and writing for future academic Chinese studies. We also believe that Chinese cultural education is essential in building up our children’s cultural identity.

Here at DCB, by providing a learning environment rich in opportunities, children gain and develop their Chinese language skills in both practical and academic contexts. They are always encouraged to use what they already know to construct new understanding. The progress could be full of challenges and enjoyment, and these successfully motivate our students to learn Chinese actively and effectively. Click here to learn more. 


Student Leadership: School Council & Playground Pals

At DUCKS, we recognise that safe risk-taking connects the different parts of your brain that promote social, emotional, and academic achievement. As a result of safe risk-taking, children gain self-confidence and problem-solving skills. Children can then apply these skills to new situations, such as sharing their thoughts and ideas with others, even if they are unsure, reaching out to new friendship groups or putting themselves forward for leadership positions such as House Captain or School Council. This offers our students opportunities to develop student agency, even from a young age.

At DUCKS, we truly value the voice of our children. DUCKS children know that their voice is important, and that it deserves to be heard. There are many ways for children to take agency over both their learning and wider school life. In the classroom, children are encouraged to take ownership over their learning and as teachers, we facilitate learning that is led by their interests.

The DUCKS School Council is a great way for children to harness their drive for change and make a difference. Our children understand the importance of their voice and how teaspoons of change can add up to something much greater. Children in DUCKS can share their ideas and suggestions with the School Council via an online video suggestion box. They can also use this system to use our Gratitude Mail service to spread kindness and gratitude to members of our community. The DUCKS School Council are looking forward to sharing more about their upcoming projects.

We are excited about our new Playground Pals initiative. Children with the role of Playground Pal demonstrate our Dulwich Values by leading playground games during playtimes and ensuring our playground is a fun and inclusive space. It is fantastic to see children take ownership over this space and take responsibility for caring for each other. 

Click here to learn more. 


House System in DUCKS

In DUCKS, the wellbeing of our students and others is paramount. Our DUCKS House System provides our children with a sense of community, responsibility, leadership opportunities and an idea of healthy competition. Children are designated House Teams when they first enter DCB and continue in these teams throughout their time here. Our children love the feeling of belonging and teamwork which our House Teams create.

The House system offers our DUCKS many opportunities to experience activities, sporting events and creative exploration within their House Teams, which allows them to collaborate with children and staff from beyond their cohort and learn and play with new friends and peers. The sense of belonging and community that the Houses have within the DUCKS is invaluable for children’s confidence and happiness within our school.

Click here to learn more. 

Sustainability and Global Citizenship

Dulwich College Beijing (DCB) is founded with the vision for our students to Live Worldwise, with Sustainability and Global Citizenship embedded in our curriculum and operations across our whole organisation.

At this stage, DUCKS begin developing a sense of self and empathy for others. So we use age-appropriate language – such as Good Life Goals instead of SDGs – to help our students better grasp these big concepts. They have opportunities to talk about the people close to them and the communities they belong to and time to reflect on their relationships. They also contribute to their class community, show appreciation to others and talk about “things that we can do to make the world a better place.”

Global Citizenship is at the heart of everything we do. Our mission is to ensure our children are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values they need to truly engage with and make a positive impact on their planet.

Learning through inquiry is a great way for children to harness their drive for change, act and make a difference. Global Citizenship is truly embedded within our curriculum in DUCKS and our units of inquiry are designed so that the themes involved with each Sustainable Development Goal are explored throughout a child’s journey at DUCKS. Our children understand the importance of their voice and how teaspoons of change can add up to something much greater. For example, our Sustainability Squad lead an initiative to measure the carbon footprint of each class and investigate ways we can improve this. We have many events throughout the year that encourage children to step outside of their comfort zone in order to experiment with, explore and learn more about our Sustainable Development Goals, such as No Carbon November, Kindness Week, Peace Week, Empathy Week and many more.

Children in DUCKS will have the opportunity to connect with nature, build relationships with others, practice mindful living, live sustainably and encourage fairness and belonging. Global Citizenship is not an additional subject. It is our curriculum, it is our culture, it is our identity.


Our facilities were built with intention and with our students in mind. Our creative provision spans across the indoor and outdoor environments and enables children to take risks and develop independence. It provokes curiosity and an excitement to learn.

Apply to DUCKS

Applications to DUCKS Early Years typically take place between September to January and assessments take place in December - January. School tours are offered during Open Days, which will be announced in September. To learn more about our school, feel free to get in touch with us or take our virtual tour.

To learn about eligibility or to apply, click here.

DUCKS students in class