Introduction to Grade 4

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 UPC
Andrew Abbey

Dear Parents, 

My name is Andrew Abbey and I am the Head of Upper Primary. It has been my pleasure to work at BWYA for the last six years and I am looking forward to another tremendous year of learning with our students. 

Last year was one of the most challenging in our school’s history, but I am extremely proud of the efforts of our staff, students and parents in adapting to the challenges given to us as a result of COVID-19. Now we have entered a new and exciting period with the move to our fantastic new campus. It has been fantastic to see the reactions of students to our amazing new facilities and I am very happy they will be able to call this building their home during the educational development. 

Together, teachers and parents need to work closely to give the support and encouragement to students for them to find their passions, overcome challenges and reach their potential. I am very proud to work with such an excellent and committed group of teachers who understand the need to communicate clearly with parents to help them, and their children, with everything they need to be successful. This academic year will be another to successful one for our students and families 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 4 Teachers

Head of Grade 4
Diana Bodeman

Dear Parents,  

My name is Diana Bodeman and I am the Head of Grade 4. This is my third year in China and I am enjoying learning more about Chinese culture and language. It is also my third year teaching at BWYA and I am excited to be working with this new group of children.   

I was born in California, USA, though I grew up in Brazil. I have been teaching elementary students for 19 years, and I have previous experience with students at 3 different international schools in Brazil and Venezuela.    

As a teacher, I do my best to provide students with a wide variety of learning opportunities and experiences. I think positively, and try to bring out the best in my students.  In my opinion, teaching is more than just academics, and I do what I can to reach my students and make learning a meaningful experience for them. I also value the cultural differences in each class, and encourage students to share these differences with their peers.  

I believe that education is not just about school. Parents, teachers and the student all work together as a team to achieve the common goal of giving your children the best education they can have. Communication between the parents and teachers is key and I hope to build a strong relationship with you all.  

G4B Homeroom Teacher
George O'Brien

Dear Parents,  

My name is George O’Brien and I am from England. I have been living in Beijing now for a couple of years, and after falling in love with the city and China, I suspect I will be here substantially longer. I graduated from Lancaster University, England, with a degree in History. I have also obtained my Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate.  

I am currently the G4B Homeroom teacher at the Upper Primary. I have taught in Beijing already, and I am very excited to now have the opportunity to work with the Grade 4 students this year. I will be teaching your children ELA, Science and Unit of Inquiry. 

As a teacher, I enjoy getting to know the students and helping support them in their academic success. I also believe my role goes beyond this. I aim to try and teach my students valuable life lessons that will stay with them forever, and hopefully aid them to become successful individuals. I hope to work with you to ensure your child’s success and I aim to support your child in their endeavors. 

G4R Homeroom Teacher
Michael Ringold

Dear Parents,   

My name is Michael Ringold and I am excited to be the homeroom teacher for Grade 4 Red. This year I will teach the students Language Arts and Unit of Inquiry. I was born and raised in the United States and attended university at the Ohio State University, where I earned a Master’s Degree in Education. I am certified in the United States as grade 4-9 Generalist (qualified to teach all academic subjects in that grade range).   

I have taught in China for over ten years and I enjoy experiencing the rich cultural traditions and have enjoyed getting to know the people here. During my time in China I have worked as an Assistant Principal, a homeroom teacher for grade 3-6 and a PYP Coordinator. I have had many great experiences in Beijing and I plan to continue teaching here for the foreseeable future.  

As an educator, I enjoy getting to know the students and I feel that is my responsibility to help students achieve academic success, as well as helping them to feel like they are successful and happy members of the school community. I understand, though, that student success requires a cooperative effort between the parents, the teachers and the students. Because of this, I hope that we can work together to help your child academically thrive and have a fulfilling school year. 

G4Y Homeroom Teacher
Gary Bush

My name is Gary Bush and I am from a small town in Pennsylvania, USA. I graduated from Bucknell University with a BA in Anthropogy, and also obtained my Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages certificate from Arizona State University. I am now extending my teaching qualifications through completing a Masters of Education degree. I am thrilled to be the homeroom teacher for G4 Yellow. I will be teaching the G4 students Language Arts and Unit of Inquiry. 

I have been living in Beijing for 7 years, during which time I taught ESL students aged 7-14, and led teams that designed curricula for online STEM, ESL, and writing classes. My time in China has been a wonderful experience, and I plan on living here with my family indefinitely.  

As an educator, one of my roles is to inspire a love of a learning in my students. I believe strongly in providing my students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning; we can achieve this together by building an environment where students feel safe to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. I am looking forward to a wonderful year. 

G4G Homeroom Teacher
Bukky Rufai

Dear Parents, 

Hello, I’m Bukky Rufai. I’m from London, England. This year marks my seventh year here in Beijing. I’m well immersed in the culture and traditions here in China. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in the UK at Middlesex University, then pursued my Master’s Degree at 北师大 in World Economy & China. After graduating, I focused on getting my teaching qualification and becoming fluent in Chinese. I now have over six years of teaching experience working at various schools here in Beijing, working with different age groups from primary through to middle school.  

This will be my second year at BWYA. I will be the homeroom teacher for the Green Class. I am delighted to welcome you and your child to my classroom this year. I’m looking forward to a fantastic year of learning and fun! As a homeroom teacher, I will be teaching your child English Language Arts, Science and Units of Enquiry.  

My role as their teacher will be to assist each child in developing their potential and learning styles to allow them to grow and achieve their goals. Together, with frequent communication and close cooperation, we can unlock their full potential and put them on a pathway to succeed, not just in school but also in their future endeavours. 

Chinese Teacher
Zhang Cai Hong

Chinese Teacher
Zhang Ying

Chinese Teacher
Ma Jian Hui

Chinese Teacher
Xin Xin

Chinese Teacher
Dai Yun Yun

Chinese Teacher
Zhang Meng Xi

Chinese Teacher
Yan Xiao Wei

Math Teacher
Ioannes Oliveira

Math Teacher
Fu Yan Yan

Math Teacher
Elie Moussallem

Math Teacher
Zhao Dan

Math Teacher
Zhang Ran

PE Teacher
Andrew Abbey

PE Teacher
Andries Nel

PE Teacher
Martinus Horters

Art Teacher
Du Li Mei

Drama Teacher
Quintus Aslett

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

Brainwave (Semester 1)

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.

AD900 (Semester 1)

Do you love discovering new places? Yes? Well you might just be an explorer. Explorers are people who travel to new places in the world and discover new things that they didn’t know existed. So much of what we know today about our world is because we have been explorers in the past. Being an explorer is exciting but scary at the same time. Could you be an explorer? Let’s find out.

Myths and Legends (Semester 2)

People have been telling stories since prehistoric times, not just to entertain but as a means of passing on their history, beliefs and culture. Many of these stories we refer to as myths and legends, stories that are timeless and are as relevant today as when they were first told. By studying these myths and legends we can learn more about the people and the cultures who created them, and understand how we – today – can adapt and craft our own stories for future generations to enjoy.

What a Wonderful World (Semester 2)

Natural forces have been shaping our planet for many billions of years and these dramatic changes are still going on, right now, all around us. Throughout this unit we will be learning more about the physical processes that shape our planet – and the vital role that we play in safeguarding our planet and its resources for future generations.

  • Structures and Functions (S1)
  • How Organisms Process Information (S1)
  • Weathering and Erosion (S1)
  • Earth’s Processes (S1)
  • Transfer of Energy (S2)
  • Forces and Motion (S2)
  • Using Engineering with Forces and Motion Systems (S2)
  • Waves and Information (S2)

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. 

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