Discover a Prague international school where curiosity thrives and community flourishes

Central Point International School in Prague and Panda Preschool are distinguished by a family community and welcoming character.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 11.06.2024 17:00:00 (updated on 04.06.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Every parent wants the best for their child, and when it comes to early-years education, finding a school with an intimate, caring and nurturing atmosphere is crucial. In a large city such as Prague, school is a place where children don’t just learn, but experience a sense of community beyond their family for the first time.

One international school in Prague is focused on creating a community that unites students, teachers and parents. Central Point International School and Panda Preschool were founded by Lana Gergisak, an American expat in Czechia, to be “not a small school, but a large family.” A small-town atmosphere makes this school nestled below the Žižkov Tower a friendly place for kids to take their early steps into the world of education and society.

At Central Point International School and Panda Preschool, teachers, parents and children come together, from the youngest pupils to the oldest. “The younger children benefit from interacting with the older children and vice versa. Fostering positive relationships and a strong sense of community leads to high student engagement, develops leadership skills and gives students the confidence they need to succeed,” Lana explains. 

As the school plans to expand in the near future, its emphasis on a family-based community is stronger than ever. Children need to feel safe and confident, and the school’s close-knit environment fosters strong friendships and positive interactions. Focusing on the whole child gives each student the tools they need to succeed socially, emotionally and academically.

Inquiry-based approach = big results

Inquiry-based learning is a valuable educational approach that encourages critical thinking and active engagement, stimulating curiosity and creativity. This, in turn, enhances problem-solving skills that develop a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught. It’s a type of learning that empowers students to become lifelong learners.

By using an inquiry-based approach in the classroom, the focus shifts from teacher-directed instruction to student-centered exploration and discovery. This, according to Lana, encourages students to ask questions, investigate topics of interest and actively engage in the learning process. 

Inquiry-based learning creates a dynamic and engaging environment where students are motivated to explore, discover, and make connections between what they are learning and the real world. They take ownership of their education and are prepared for success, equipped with invaluable skills in a rapidly changing world. “We see this every day when we hear our students ask ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ and then watch their curiosity turn into a lifelong love of learning,” says Lana. 

Local community, global outlook

According to Lana, many families with children at the school live in local areas of Žižkov or Vinohrady, so students past and present form a tight-knit local community together with their parents.

“A high percentage of parents live close to the school,” Lana explains. “If you go to Riegrovy sady, you’ll find many children and parents from our school. It’s a real neighborhood environment that feels more like a village than a city.”

Children at the school also become active members of the wider Prague community, taking part in fundraising activities, collecting toys for sick children at Motol hospital, and carol singing at a local senior home.

Yet while providing a distinctly local atmosphere for kids to grow up in, the school also focuses on providing an international outlook. Various strands of world history are taught in a way which, according to Lana, “shows children the impact history has on the world today. What’s more, even though we’re an international school, we teach Czech history, geography and culture as part of our curriculum; it’s important that children know about the community where they are living,’’ she explains.

That’s why we also offer Czech language learning for foreigners: so that students can connect with where they live and feel part of it.”

The international outlook introduces fun non-local elements into the annual calendar, such as a Thanksgiving theater performance involving every age group in the school, even including the youngest at just two years old. “We’ve incorporated this American tradition to such an extent that many parents now actually celebrate Thanksgiving after the performance!” Lana explains.

Such elements are also vital for Felix, a parent of a child at Central Point International School, who appreciates “the community environment between the teachers, students, parents, and the director of the school. As a Czech family, we also appreciate that they cultivate Czech language skills. Of course, all the children learn perfect English naturally, as all the other lessons are taught in English.”

Nurturing the whole child

All of the school’s efforts in building a sense of community and togetherness are part of its pursuit to help children develop and grow emotionally and socially. “Open communication with parents has a direct and positive impact on a student’s progress,” Lana says.

“There’s a lot of peer interaction in the classroom, we focus on children working together. We teach them to become lifelong learners, fostering their ability to think about questions and come up with answers themselves,” says Lana.

This approach results in excellent levels of academic attainment. “We take into account the individual needs of each child, highlighting their strengths. If a child has a social, emotional or academic challenge, we work diligently to support the child and help them succeed,” Lana explains. 

The school encourages an approach based on self-reflection. “When a child makes a mistake, we ask the child to reflect on the situation and consider a positive alternative as well as reminding them of their value to our community,” Lana adds.

This long-term approach to development means pupils are well-placed to go on to secondary school education in prestigious international schools or in the Czech school system, with the school supporting children through the process of Czech “gymnázium” applications.

With enrollment now open, visits can be scheduled at Central Point International School and Panda Preschool, where inquiry-based learning, a strong sense of local community, and a holistic approach to education provide the recipe for a happy start to lifelong educational journeys. Here, a small school community grows, learns and develops together, creating a truly family-friendly atmosphere in the heart of Prague.

This article was written in cooperation with Central Learning Center s.r.o. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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