Introduction to Grade 1

Our Mission

Beijing World Youth Academy strives to provide members of our community excellent learning opportunities that incorporate critical investigation, exposure to different cultural perspectives and assessment against objective criteria.

Our mission is to develop principled, open-minded thinkers who are capable of integrating with diverse international communities and who are empowered to shape their environs for the improvement of quality of life for themselves and others.

Our Values

We are committed to excellence and united by our values:


We respect and empathise with the rights, opinions, culture and feelings of others.


We believe that honesty, integrity and reliability in ourselves and others forms the cornerstone of our community.


We value harmony and oneness while recognising the individuality of each person in our community.


We recognise that the development of the student is the shared responsibility between the student, the family and the school.

Principal's Welcome
Aaron Wise

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of our families to the 2020-2021 school year at BWYA. As we start the new school year I would like to invite all families to continue to work with us to make the primary school a fantastic place for all our students to learn and grow. 

A famous person once said “the only real mistake we make is the one from which we learn nothing”. This year the students at BWYA, and in fact all of us whether we like to admit it or not, are all going to make a lot of mistakes. Some of the mistakes the students will make will simply stay mistakes, while the students will learn from others and become better people because of the mistakes they made. 

As parents and educators, one thing we must realise is that how a child responds to a mistake depends on us. How we respond to our children’s mistakes, will teach them, in turn, how they should respond to their mistakes. If we simply identify a child’s mistake by telling them that they have done the wrong thing, then we have not really taught them anything except that they failed. 

This year, as we commit once again to helping all the students at BWYA learn and grow to their full potential, I would ask all parents to join with us in the important task of helping the students learn from their mistakes so that they can improve for the future. Hopefully then, they will also help us to learn from the mistakes that we make as well. 

Head of LPC
Betsy Greenway

A little about me – I identify myself as a teacher before anything else. I have been teaching for a very long time, but wonderfully, I just love getting up every day, knowing that I’m on my way to school to learn alongside really smart, curious, fun, clever, silly, creative, energetic, shy, serious, vivacious, deep-thinking,… unique kids and teachers! They teach me so much- year by year, day by day, minute by minute. I feel so lucky to have this life!

I taught in northwest Washington State in the U.S., very near Vancouver Canada, for 15 years; then went overseas to international schools. With my husband, I’ve taught in Mali, Italy, Japan, D.R. Congo, and Cameroon, prior to coming here. You can see that we’ve been around the world, and I feel very happy to be starting my fifth year here in Beijing! I have now taught internationally more years than I taught in the States! I read and think about teaching and learning a lot. That is fun for me. But, I also like to travel the world (65+ countries visited so far and so many more to plan for!), enjoy my two kitties, camp, read, cook and try to learn about technology and photography. Most important to me is to go to bed everyday appreciating something new and being content with the ‘me’ I have put into the world. It is a privilege to be a part of our community here at BWYA!

Head of Learning Support Team
David Dee

Dear Parents,

My name is David Dee and I come from Scotland in the U.K. I have been a teacher for nearly twenty years now. This is my third year at BWYA and I have taught at both LPC and UPC. Beijing is an amazing place to live and I am enjoying learning about China.

I am very excited this year to be taking on a new role as the Head of the Learning Support Team. I am looking forward to working with the children, parents and staff at BWYA to make sure that every child has the support they need. We all want every child to reach their full potential.

Grade 1 Teachers

Head of Grade 1, G1B Homeroom Teacher
Zac Ellis

Dear Parents,

My name is Zachary Ellis, but the learners call me Mr. Ellis. I am from New York, USA. I received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2007 and a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) while living here in Beijing.

In the United States, I was a kindergarten teacher for half a year and a 6th grade teacher for two years. I came to Beijing in 2010 to work as an English trainer for Disney English. This is my seventh year with Beijing World Youth Academy as a first-grade teacher. Every year, I am excited to meet and work with a new group of learners and parents.

G1B Co-Teacher
Sun Yu Jiao

My name is Sue, this is my third year working as G1B co-teacher. I was a virtues trainer at Daystar Academy for two years and a Special Education teacher at Beanstalk International school for 3 years. My major at Beijing Science and Technology University was English, I also studied Personal Coaching, Neuro-linguistic Program (NLP) for getting more skills to help kids.

I like traditional Chinese culture, enjoy working with kids, I look forward working with our new students and their families.

G1R Homeroom Teacher
Connor Lewis

Dear Parents, 

I’m Mr. Lewis, from Liverpool in the UK. I have a BA (hons) iLinguistics and Language Education, and I am close to finishing my Master’s degree in Advanced Education, specialising in Primary years.   

This is my fourth year in Beijing, all teaching primary school in international curriculums, focusing on holistic and skill-based education.  I believe that the most integral parts of any successful classroom are: good student teacher rapport, and a classroom atmosphere that inspires learning and an inquiry mindset. I’m very excited to be here at BWYA, and working with such talented children to help them realise and achieve their goals with this in mind! 

G1R Co-Teacher
Yin Ji Shan

Dear Parents, 

I’m Miss Lauren, I’m from Harbin, Heilongjiang Province and I graduated from Nankai University. 

I have been working in Education Industry for 13 years and this is my first year with Beijing World Youth Academy. I look forward to seeing all my student’s improvements and making tomorrow’s leaders become friends today. 

G1Y Homeroom Teacher
Melanie Kennedy

Dear Parents,

Welcome to first grade, my name is Melanie Kennedy. I am from Johannesburg South Africa, where I studied towards both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Journalism. My formal teaching qualification is from Nottingham University.

This will be my fifth-year teaching at BWYA. Before moving into first grade I worked in the EAL department and assisted the school’s SEN team. I have also taught grade 3 as well as Language Arts.

As a teacher, I feel it’s very important to not only educate students but get to know them personally as well, so that you are able to teach to their individual needs. I also believe in creating a safe, community-based environment that will encourage students to flourish and perform to their best ability. Our classroom will be a space where we’ll discover new things, cooperate with one another and show respect.

The relationship built between parents and the teacher is just as important and I hope to build a strong one with you over the course of the academic year.

I look forward to working with you all this year.

G1Y Co-Teacher
Wang Bin

My name is Wang Bin-Beata and I am the co-teacher in Grade1.I am happy to welcome you and your child to my class this year. I graduated from Beijing Language and Culture University and majored in English. I have been teaching for ten years. And this my 7th year in BWYA. I like kids and teaching. In spare time, I also like reading, art, piano and exercise. I do not only focus on academics but other activities and making child a good human being. In case you have any questions in the classroom, then you can email me on

G1G Homeroom Teacher
Luan Kleynhans

Dear Parents,

My name is Luan Kleynhans and I’m from South Africa, and I am excited to be the Grade 1 Green Homeroom Teacher. I studied at the North West University where I majored in Human Movement Science and Psychology. I obtained a Post Graduate Business Diploma and finally completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

I was previously an English teacher in South Korea where I taught Kindergarten and Elementary. I moved to Beijing in 2019 where I was a Pre-Kindergarten homeroom teacher at House of Knowledge International Kindergarten.

I’m grateful and privileged to be part of BWYA and I am looking forward to inspire and teach to the best of my ability.

G1G Co-Teacher
Pan Qi

Dear Parents,

My name is Pan Qi – June. I’m now working as a co-teacher and Chinese math teacher in G1G. I graduated from South China University of Technology and majored in English. My passion has always been teaching. After graduation, I joined an organization “Teach for China” and taught in Yunnan for two years as a volunteer teacher. That experience inspired me to keep cultivating my teaching career. Later on, I came to Beijing, working as an English drama teacher for two years and Eco-Drama curriculum designer for one year.

I believe love is the source of creation and teaching is also sharing and learning. For the time spent with children in BWYA, we will grow together creatively and lovingly.

Chinese Teachers

I’m Fu Xiaoxiao and I’m thrilled to be teaching Second Grade this school year. I’ve been working teaching in international schools for more than ten years. I’ve teaching students Chinese literature, language as well as culture. This is my 7th year with Beijing World Youth Academy. I feel so proud of being a teacher. And I believe that the task of education is to build up an optimal cultural context in a manner appropriate to the nature of children’s life, to help children enjoy their lives better in the future. Let them start with enjoying their childhood and Chinese.

        大家好,我是Ms. Jenny(任倞宜),一二年级的语文老师。今年是我在世青国际学校工作的第6年,也是我担任中文教学的第5年。一二年级是学习习惯养成的重要时期,也是基础知识学习以及语言能力提升的关键时期。很开心这一学年能够陪伴孩子们一起学习,共同进步。家长和老师的密切配合是了解孩子学习动向、促使孩子学习进步的最有效途径。愿新的学年我们能够家校密切沟通、合作,让孩子们收获满满,为语文学习打下扎实的基础。


      大家好,我是Ms. Jada(赵佼),语言B和二年级的道德与法治老师。很高兴今年加入世青国际学校,也很期待和世青的孩子们一起成长。我们会通过学生喜欢的主体活动,进行深入浅出的,科学的智育、美育和生活启蒙教育。为学生形成积极的生活态度,良好的道德品质和他们的实际生存能力打基础。坚持以学生品行教育为主线,抓好学生品行教育和养成良好习惯。我相信爱是世界上最棒、最美的东西,但也看不见、摸不着,得靠心来感知。让我们世青的孩子们心中都充满爱。

    大家好,我是Ms. Fiona(赵晓娩),担任一年级的语文和道法老师。加入世青5年来,一直在一年级工作,这五年的教学经验使我对一年级学生的学习和成长特点有了更加深入的了解。一年级是孩子们习惯养成的关键时期,也是学习生涯的开端。在这一年孩子们不仅在学习方面面临挑战,更在行为习惯上会有很大的变化。希望与家长们紧密联系,共同配合,帮助孩子们不断进步,顺利渡过幼小衔接阶段。

PE Teachers

My name is Nabil Zafati.  I am an American / Moroccan.  I went to a French / Moroccan school, where I discovered my talent for learning languages. I earned a Bachelor’s degree from a European institute and my PE teaching courses are from a program out of Washington DC.  This has made me a special person who respects and accepts the diversity of different cultures.  Growing up internationally has helped to shape who I am today.  

After moving from Los Angeles, California, I taught PE for many years at the Rabat American School in Morocco, then moved to the American International School of Brazzaville, in Congo, as the Athletics director and PE teacher.  This will be my fourth year at BWYA where I enjoy being with our young learners every day.  I am looking forward to another successful year teaching all of your students.

My primary goal is to teach the whole student.  I do this by providing students with the necessary skills and knowledge that will allow them to see the value of a healthy lifestyle and to learn the lifelong benefits of physical education providing a fun, engaging, safe, non-threatening, and positive environment.  I give students an opportunity to find enjoyment in PE by sharing my passion for physical activity and movement.

Dear Parents,

My name is Dwayne Brittion and I am from sunny South Africa. My love for children and wanting to play a role in their development, motivated me to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Education through the University of South Africa. I believe that healthy habits should be cultivated from an early age to ensure longevity. It is for this reason that I strive to provide students with active, joyful learning experiences.

Being a sportsman myself, I have learnt the importance of teamwork, mutual respect and dedication. It’s virtues like these that I would like to instil within the learners I have the pleasure of teaching.

Above all I want to teach learners to win with humility, lose with grace, and to do both with dignity.

I look forward to making 2020-2021 a fun and exciting year in PE.

Dear Parents,

My name is Geng Mei. I have been teaching PE for primary students in BWYA for 5 years. I graduated from Beijing Sport University. I do this by providing students with the necessary skills and knowledge that will allow them to see the value of healthy lifestyle. I give students an opportunity to find enjoyment in PE by sharing my passion for physical activity and movement! I enjoy being with our young learners every day.

Art Teacher

Dear Parents,

My name is Bai Yin. I have been teaching art for lower primary students in BWYA for 3 years after my postgraduate education in France. As a teacher for younger students, I enjoy encouraging kids to think, practice and improve. I am excited to teach and work with them and feel so proud when they tell me how much they love art!

Music Teacher

My name is Gerren Vincent. Overall, I have over 20 years of performing arts experience to coincide with an 11-year teaching career. My mother is a drama teacher and community theatre director. My father is a music teacher. I have taught children in Beijing for over six years now.

I first developed my music career at the young age of twelve, picking up the trombone, my first brass instrument. During high school, I received district honors in my home state of Kansas for my trombone and tuba performances. As a brass and wind instrument specialist, I have also learned the euphonium, bass trombone, and the trumpet. I played on a music scholarship in my private university in Baldwin City, Kansas (Baker University) throughout my bachelor’s degree with the University’s classical orchestra, and the jazz band.

Drama Teacher

Hi my name is Katryn and I am from South Africa.

I am very excited to be teaching Drama at BWYA this year. I have a qualification in both Drama and Education. I have many years of experience in teaching both Drama and English, locally as well as Internationally. I arrived in China last year, and really loved the experience, therefore I have decided to continue my career as a teacher in China.

I would love to combine my passion for drama and the knowledge and skills, which I acquired in the field of teaching and use it to help each and every child to grow in being a confident and well-rounded individuals. In my free time I enjoy cooking, listening to music, hiking and learning to play a new instrument. I believe that if you take an interest in life, life will take an interest in you. I look forward to meeting all of you, and teaching your children!

English Language Support Teacher

My Name is Claire Rees. I have been living in Beijing for nearly seven years. I studied at the University of the West of England in Bristol. I graduated with a degree in Early Years Education. From this, I studied for my Montessori Certificate at Bournemouth Montessori Centre and I taught in a Montessori Nursery School for 3 years, before deciding to live in Beijing.

During my time in Beijing, I have taught English and trained many new teachers how to teach English an Additional Language to children aged between 2 and 12 years old.

This is my second year teaching first grade at Beijing World Youth Academy. I am very happy to be here and I hope that I can inspire and motivate your child to achieve their goals, ambitions and dreams.

What We Teach

Language Arts 

Building and applying literacy skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in English.


Building a deep understanding of a broad scope of scientific areas


Building fundamental numeracy skills.


Developing a student’s confidence and creativity in performing dramas on stage

Unit of Inquiry

In this class, we focus on achieving mainly Humanities and Science learning targets through topical units of inquiry. English literacy and numeracy skills are also built as part of these studies.

Chinese Language Arts

In Chinese class, we focus on building literacy skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in Chinese.

Physical Education & Health

In PE class, we focus on building spatial awareness, coordination, movement and teamwork. We also focus on topics that relate to healthy living and individual well-being.

Visual Arts

In Visual Arts class, we focus on building both knowledge of art history as well as familiarity and proficiency with different media and techniques.


In Music class, we focus on both music appreciation and performance using voice and instruments.

Extended Homeroom

Every Friday morning, we focus on building understanding of different Virtues as part of our character development programme.


Technology tasks will be integrated into Unit of Inquiry and Language Arts activities.

This Year's Units of Inquiry


Our brain is special because we can use it to learn lots of new and different things every day, enabling us to gain the knowledge, skills and understanding that we will need to become successful adults. By finding out more about how we learn, and how we can improve the way that we learn, we will be better equipped for meeting the many challenges ahead of us.

All Dressed Up

Have you ever seen an elephant in a dress? Or a giraffe in a pair of jeans? Of course not, because unlike animals, only humans wear clothes. Clothes are an important part of our lives. They can keep us warm (or cool). We can wear different colours and designs and change them for different occasions, we can follow the latest fashions – and even make them ourselves! So what do the clothes you wear say about you?

The Magic Toymaker

Toys come in many shapes and sizes. They are made of different materials but all are designed for us to have fun with, to learn new skills and to exercise our bodies and our imagination.

Stories People Tell

Have you ever seen an elephant in a dress? Or a giraffe in a pair of jeans? Of course not, because unlike animals, only humans wear clothes. Clothes are an important part of our lives. They can keep us warm (or cool). We can wear different colours and designs and change them for different occasions, we can follow the latest fashions – and even make them ourselves! So what do the clothes you wear say about you?

  • Patterns of Change
  • Light and Sound
  • Mimicing Organisms
  • Characteristics of Living Things

Character Development

At BWYA Primary School, our definition of learning is:

Learning is a continual process of acquiring knowledge and developing skills, positive attitudes and dispositions that lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

At BWYA Primary School, our definition of International Mindedness is:

Opening our eyes and minds to understand and develop our identity within our own culture while being mindful and respectful of others’ ideas, values and beliefs whether we see similarities or differences.


Vickey Zhu

My name is Vickey Zhu. This is my third year with Beijing World Youth Academy as a primary school counselor. I have been a caring counseling professional for 10 years including 4 years’ overseas living and working in the USA. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in school counseling. I also hold a Chinese teacher qualification certificate and an American school counselor licensure. I believe education is about assisting and guiding students in becoming better people, and fostering in them the passion to explore themselves as well as caring about others. 

Joyce Wang

Dear parents,

My name is Wang Yayuan – Joyce. I am the school counselor for the LPC campus. This is the first year for me to join the BWYA family, and I feel so honored and excited to work with the excellent team here.

I obtained my bachelor of Applied Psychology from Bangor University in the UK. I used to work with children, adolescents and adults as a psychologist for my private practice for 6 years, as well as part-time school counselor in a public primary school and international pediatric clinic. Also I worked as a shadow teacher at international schools for over 2 years before I came here.

I now find myself with the most passion I have had during my career, that is, working with younger kids in various settings. This makes me feel exactly matched with this position at BWYA. I see every child reaches their own potential and has the right to be supported well. I strongly believe that communication between parents and teachers is crucial for this. You are always welcomed to reach me by email at

Programme Administration

Primary School Principal
Aaron Wise
Head of Lower Primary
Betsy Greenway
Head of Upper Primary
Andrew Abbey
Primary School Campus Manager
Ji Fei
IPC Programme Assistant Upper Primary Librarian
Tona Miao
Head of Learning Support Team
David Dee