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 eighth 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
Song Gao Jie

Dear Parents, my name is Ginahave been working here for 2 years, this is my third year with BWYA second graders. I received a bachelor of English Literature and Master degree of EducationI have got a TESOL certification as well. also have 7 years old sonin a sense I have experience in managing children at this age. I’m excited to be working with Mr. Whitehouse again this year and engaging together with the G2R little superheroes! 

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 degrees in Journalism. My formal teaching qualification is from Nottingham University. I am currently busy completing my Masters through the University of Derby. 

This will be my sixth-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

G1P Homeroom Teacher
Thalia Ribas

Dear Parents,

My name is Thalia Ribas and I am from South Africa. I will be the homeroom teacher in G1-Purple this year. This will be my third year in Beijing and my second year at BWYA. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Movement Science and Psychology, Post Graduate Certificate in Education and an Education Honours Degree specialising in Education Law.  

I enjoy teaching children and I have taught many different age groups. In my classroom, I hope to always have happy children who are engaged in learning and respect and care for each other. I look forward to meeting everyone this year! 

G1P Co-Teacher
Dai Yun Yun

My name is Dai Yunyun. This is my third year teaching at Beijing World Youth Academy. I have been a teacher for 4 years with students aged between 5-12 years old. When I graduated from University, I went to a remote and poor area working as a volunteer teacher. That was one of the happiest moments of my life.  

Now, I’m working as a co- teacher and Chinese math teacher in G1P. I love children and I enjoy my time with children. In my spare time, I like to read many books about education. I am also studying some interesting courses like dance and music. I think that only by continuous learning can we improve as teachers and help children to become better learners.  

I am looking forward to working with Grade 1. 

G1G Homeroom Teacher
Lelani Piek

Dear Parents,

My name is Lelani Piek and I am from sunny South Africa. I am very excited to be the homeroom teacher for G1G this year! I have a bachelors degree in Primary education aswell as an honours degree in inclusive education. I have more than 5 years teaching experience and I have worked with various different grade groups. In my classroom I aim to create an environment where students feel safe and comfortable.

I hope that we can work together to help the students see a lot of growth and be great learners this year!

G1G Co-Teacher
Zheng Yu Wei

Dear Parents,

My name is Zheng Yuwei (Flora). I’m now working as a co-teacher and Chinese math teacher in BWYA. I graduated from Monash University in Australia with a Masters degree of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I have three years’ overseas living and working experience and another three years of experience as front-line English teachers for young learners. My passion has always been teaching and I love being around kids. All of my teaching experience inspired and encouraged me to keep growing my teaching career. I believe love is the key point to keep my passion for teaching, sharing and learning. I am looking forward to  sharing my love for your kids and my passion for teaching. If you have any concerns, please feel free to email me at and I am willing to answer your questions.

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

Dear Parents, 

My name is Pan Qi but the students call me Ms. June. I graduated from the South China University of Technology and majored in English. My passion has always been teaching. After graduation, I joined the organization “Teach for China” and taught in Yunnan for two years as a volunteer teacher. That experience encouraged me to keep cultivating my teaching career. Later on, I came to Beijing and worked 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 learning and sharing. For the time spent with children in BWYA, we will grow together happily and lovingly.” 

Learning Support Teacher

Dear Parents, 

My name is Sarah Kay and I am from Adelaide, Australia. I am the Grade 1 Learning Support Teacher this year. I completed a BA in Science from the University of South Australia in 2017. I also obtained a TEFL Certificate and I am currently studying a Masters in Primary Teaching.  

I have been teaching in Beijing for the past four years. I have experience working in international kindergartens, including Ivy Bilingual School. This is my second year at BWYA and I am thrilled to be a part of the teaching team again. 

I am looking forward to meeting you all and having a great year filled with fun and learning. 

Hello, I’m Hasnaa Yafi,  

I am from Casablanca, Morocco. This is my sixth year working at BWYA, my second year working as a Learning Support teacher for the Primary school. Prior to that, I was a Kindergarten Homeroom teacher for four years. 

I hold a Master degree in Elementary Education as well as a Teaching Certification in Elementary Education both from The College of New Jersey, USA. I have a TEFL certification (Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language), and a French as a Second Language Teaching Certificate. I also studied Business and hold a Bachelor degree in Commerce and Management. 

Prior to joining BWYA, I worked at ISB as a Substitute Teacher for grades K to 12 for one year, and before that I was a Teaching Assistant at the American School of Casablanca for two years. 

I am looking forward to working alongside the learning support team and helping all students achieve their full potential.

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.

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.


Joyce Wang

Dear parents,

My name is Wang Yayuan – Joyce. I am the school counselor for the LPC campus. This is the second 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

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