Early Childhood Academic Program
The ACS Early Childhood experience includes learning opportunities for children in and beyond the classroom. Children participate in learning experiences for literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies in the homeroom classroom. Children also receive instruction in the areas of music, art, physical education, and world languages.
The instructional program is research-based, best educational practice. The curriculum is standards-based, utilizing the American Education Reaches Out (AERO) standards, which originated in the United States.
Our goal for next year is to implement an interdisciplinary approach to learning and align the pedagogy across all the Early Childhood grade levels in order to deepen the children’s learning. As we work towards this plan, our academic program continues to be rigorous, challenging, and engaging.
Math learning is about children making sense of the world around them, and it is best promoted in meaningful and hands-on contexts.
ACS believes that a quality math program must stress the use of mathematics as a tool for engaging children in meaningful exploration and investigation. The learning of mathematics is an active process: exploring, justifying, representing, solving, constructing, discussing, investigating, describing, and predicting. These actions require both the physical and mental involvement of children which is both hands-on and minds-on. Understanding mathematical concepts require the child to progress through four levels of development: intuitive, concrete, pictorial, and abstract. Conceptual understanding of mathematical concepts is developed through progressions of learning.
ACS stresses rigorous concept development, presents realistic and relevant tasks, and keeps a strong emphasis on computational skills. The teachers encourage children to:
- Reason mathematically.
- Evaluate mathematical arguments both formally and informally.
- Use the language of mathematics to communicate ideas and information.
- Make connections among mathematical topics and to other disciplines.
The aim of the literacy program at ACS is to develop thoughtful, effective communicators, who are able to understand and use language successfully in a variety of media and situations. We also hope to instill a love of language in all its varied forms throughout a lifetime.
Literacy learning starts with children developing oral language skills, background knowledge, vocabulary bank, and reasoning skills. As children progress through the Early Childhood program, literacy instruction becomes standards-based within a structure of developmentally appropriate milestones. Teachers apply a balanced literacy approach to teaching and learning. Students participate in the Reading and Writing Workshop. Through the workshop approach, they develop their foundational skills as well as developing rich content knowledge within and across grades. As readers, they learn and apply strategies for reading fiction and nonfiction. Students also acquire the habits of reading independently and closely, which are essential to their future success. As writers, they learn and apply strategies for narrative, opinion, and information writing.
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)
Nursery, KG1, and KG2
The Arabic MSA courses in Nursery, KG1, and KG2 aim at introducing the students to the Arabic language. The program follows a communicative approach to teaching the language and introduces age-appropriate literacy skills. In the MSA classes, students engage in oral activities that develop their listening and speaking skills. They also participate in pre-reading and pre-writing activities that develop their literacy skills in standard Arabic.
Grades 1 and 2
The Modern Standards Arabic program is designed for students who are native or near-native speakers of Arabic. The MSA courses in grades 1 and 2 aim at developing the students' Arabic literacy skills. Students in this course engage in a Reader’s-Writer’s workshop to build their phonological and print awareness and eventually begin to read and write simple familiar texts. The focus on oral communication skills continues in these courses to promote the students’ listening and speaking skills in standard Arabic.
Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL) in Grades 1 and 2
This course is designed for students who have no prior exposure to Arabic. The course introduces the students to the Arabic language and culture. The main emphasis of AFL is on communication in three modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. Basic vocabulary and grammar, as well as simple writing structures, are introduced.
Children are naturally curious and constantly wonder about the world phenomena around them. ACS's science program provides children with opportunities for discovering and developing this natural curiosity. Children build a conceptual understanding of the natural world so that they are knowledgeable about the concepts and processes of the three major branches of science: earth, life, and physical sciences. The science program at ACS is built upon the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Framework. Using this framework, conceptual understanding is developed in the areas of earth, life, and physical sciences. The program also promotes children’s ability to make connections to the phenomena that occur in the world that surrounds them.
ACS believes that a social studies classroom environment is most effective when the learning opportunities are highly collaborative, interactive, hands-on, safe, and allow for open discussion. Instruction is founded upon children’s understanding of the past, present, and future. As an international school, the program provides opportunities for children to understand the world they live in. Children are engaged in learning through a variety of instructional opportunities. This includes group projects, hands-on activities, classroom discussions, research, and other opportunities that enable them to form an understanding of the world around them.
ACS incorporates the National Visual Arts Standards. ACS values all arts as an important aspect in the development of children. We believe that every child is an artist and our goal is to foster each child’s potential to the fullest.
Arts is one of the languages through which students express their feelings, thoughts, ideas, and learning. The children work with an Atelierista who is an artist in residence. With the Atelierista, they are introduced to, and are immersed in a wide variety of media including but not limited to: Drawing (pencil, markers, pastels, chalk), Painting (watercolor, tempera), Printmaking (etching), Sculptures (3-dimensional, clay, metal, mosaic). They learn all these different languages through exploration and experimentation.
The children also create through an array of techniques and applications. They analyze their work to see how they can deliver powerful messages through the work that they create. They also use the learned techniques and concepts to demonstrate their understanding of projects investigated during Homeroom time.
We believe that participation in a strong music education program creates an abiding love of music, an appreciation of cultures around the world, and provides children with the opportunity to be a contributing member of the school community. Early Childhood children experience a comprehensive, hands-on, and fun-filled approach to music. ACS believes children are creative and active learners of music through movement, singing, instrumental music, and listening to quality music. Children in our Early Childhood division attend music class twice in every six-day cycle. Children are offered many additional opportunities to expand their music learning and appreciation by participating in After School offerings.
ACS believes that physical activity is critical to the development and maintenance of good health. The goal of ACS’s Early Childhood Physical Education program is to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, physical skills, confidence, and interpersonal skills to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity and fitness.
ACS physical educators believe that:
- The PE curriculum will be delivered in a safe and supportive environment. Therefore, children will feel comfortable taking risks as they learn a wide variety of physical skills and as they challenge themselves to achieve and maintain healthy fitness levels.
- Instruction will be differentiated, taking into account the entry-level skills and fitness levels of individual children.
- An emphasis on sequentially learned skills and fitness empowers children to choose and participate in lifelong physical activities.
- Commitment to incorporating research-based best practices and collaboration within the department leads to a better program for ACS children.
- Children who exit the ACS Early Childhood Physical Education program will be motivated to pursue lifelong physical activities that meet their own needs.
Project work that will be initiated next year (2021-2022) is a deep investigation of concepts that enable the children to construct their own knowledge and make sense of the world around them. Projects are interdisciplinary in nature; they allow the integration of all the above subject areas and present learning to children in an authentic and meaningful context. Projects enable the children to experience learning as a holistic approach and make connections to the world beyond the classroom walls.