Early Childhood Curriculum
In the Early Childhood program at DAIS, knowledge of the forms and functions of print serves as a foundation from which children become increasingly sensitive to letter shapes, names, sounds, and words. Students in the Early Childhood program will interact with a rich variety of print. Teachers will capitalize on vocabulary development, word concepts, and familiarity of genre structures. This all takes place through listening to stories, predicting and analyzing before and after readings, repeated readings of stories and the retelling of stories, and teacher dictations of children’s stories.
Early literacy activities teach children a great deal about writing and reading but often in ways that do not look much like traditional elementary school instruction. Capitalizing on the active and social nature of children’s learning, early instruction at DAIS provides rich demonstrations, interactions, and models of literacy in the course of activities that make sense to young learners. In classrooms built around a wide variety of print activities, then in talking, reading, writing, playing, and listening to one another, students will want to read and write and feel capable that they can do so.
Play is the natural work of young children. Ideally, children may not make a distinction between their play and work and thus bring the same energy and attention to both. The mathematics program is designed to relate to children’s interests in the world around them and to engage them in meaningful ways as they interact with the materials, their environment, and each other.
Students spontaneously explore mathematics all the time as they interact with materials, with each other, and with their surroundings. They count, sort, notice and describe shapes and patterns, estimate and compare sized, and wonder about the numerals they see all around them. These mathematical observations, concepts, and skills are important tools that children use as they explore and make sense of their world.
The primary goal of the science program is to encourage students’ natural curiosity and sense of wonder. The best way for students to appreciate the scientific enterprise, learn important scientific concepts, and develop the ability to think well is to actively construct ideas through their own inquiries, investigations, and analyses. The curriculum is designed to teach students the scientific method of investigating phenomena. They begin the process by posing questions and then working either in small groups, with a partner or individually to perform experiments that test their hypotheses. Students analyze their results, summarize their findings in group discussions, and keep written records.
The social studies curriculum at DAIS uses a theme-based approach, exploring a variety of topics. Building and evolving at each grade level, study progresses through the grades students expand their awareness of the world in which they live. When students understand the smallest of worlds around them and how best to negotiate them, they can continually expand those worlds and their study of them.
Music education enables all learners to explore, create, perceive, and communicate thoughts, images, and feeling through music. Shared experiences in music also significantly contribute to the development of a healthier society through activities that respect and reflect the diversity of human experiences. Throughout the music curriculum, objectives progress from one grade level to the next, with growing sophistication. In the Early Childhood, we believe that all children are musical. Therefore, all children can achieve the basic music competence – the ability to sing and move with accurate rhythm. Student growth is best achieved in a playful, developmentally appropriate environment that is musically rich.
Host Country Language
The host country language studies program emphasizes an understanding and appreciation of the Mandarin language and Chinese culture. This is achieved by taking advantage of the school’s local environment and China’s geographical and cultural history. Through the program, listening, speaking, reading and writing is stressed. Students have a variety of opportunities to actively experience the Mandarin language. The vocabulary and phrasing chosen for instruction is planned to helps students’ entry into the local culture and everyday life. The curriculum is structured into nine themes: Introductions, Family, School, Shopping, Food, Community, Travel and Getting Around, Leisure, and Chinese Holidays.
The Pre-Kindergarten classroom functions as a bilingual classroom so our youngest learners are exposed to Mandarin throughout every day of their learning. Kindergarteners attend special Mandarin classes every day.
The physical education program aims to foster wellness, lifelong fitness, social skills, fair play and fun. In an activity-based, sequential program, students work to maximize their physical fitness while individually developing person and social competence. Good nutrition, self-esteem, decision-making, problem-solving and proper attitudes and practices all play an integral part in the physical education program. Students work to master these skills individually and in groups where sportsmanship and cooperative play are stressed.
Character development is an ongoing process throughout the academic program, and social and community life of the school. One of the primary intentions of the program is to infuse students with a concrete ethical foundation, an interactive understanding of community, a self-motivated sense of discipline, respect and responsibility. The school’s Honor Code is a set of core ethical values by which students are to abide. The code is ever present, and students learn to uphold the values set forth in it within their daily interactions with each other, teachers, parents, and the entire school community.