The goal of elementary school at YHIS is for children to have the opportunity to develop and grow emotionally, academically, socially, physically and spiritually. The elementary classrooms are staffed with a lead teacher and an associate teacher, ensuring that each student receive the individualized attention and care needed for success. Thematic units, which incorporate several subject areas increase interest and understanding by drawing from real world and real life connections. These units build an international perspective by centering around a variety of geographical and historical themes.
Whether through our inquiry-based science curriculum or thematic social studies units, students are being prepared to become lifelong learners. Art, music, and PE classes all have specialized teachers with age-appropriate standards-based curriculum, which helps ensure that our students are experiencing a meaningful education outside of the normal core curriculum
Students in Elementary may choose to get involved after school in fine arts and sports-related activities, giving them a chance to explore other areas of interest and develop additional skills in a safe and encouraging environment.
Our core subjects of language arts, math, social studies, science, physical education, art and music, are taught in English and developed in line with ISC and WASC standards. Throughout this curriculum, Elementary students learn new problem-solving skills as they move from concrete experiences to increasingly more complex levels of abstraction in critical thinking.
As international students living in China, our students also benefit from our Chinese language and culture curriculum. Our Chinese classes are divided according to the students’ current ability. Besides spoken Mandarin Chinese, students learn to use characters and pinyin. In addition, students are exposed to Chinese culture through a variety of cultural activities and annual festivals.
To show quarterly measurement of each student’s progress, students receive percentage grades in core subject areas. These grades include daily assignments, assessments, and participation. The International Schools Assessment (ISA) is administered annually to our third through fifth grade students in order to evaluate our teaching and learning goals, as well as to track student progress.
The primary goal of language arts instruction in our elementary program is to inspire students to read for pleasure, learn new information, share their thoughts and feelings, and speak confidently and dynamically. To meet those goals, we follow the Daily 5 format for our literacy block. This is a program that focuses on intentional instruction with extended periods of practice in order to increase reading and writing achievement. This program gives the students choices within parameters where the teachers monitor student growth and progress. The five components that students can choose from each day are:
- Read to Self
- Work on Writing
- Word Work
- Read to Someone
- Listening to Reading
Here is a list of some of the resources and assignments we use to implement the five components.
Reading – CAFÉ
This program focuses on the strategies that students need to be stronger readers. The students learn strategies for comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding their vocabulary. The students work on reading skills independently, in small groups and in full class settings.
Word Work - Words Their Way
Each week, students are given a list of words to work with and sort based on a word feature that they need further practice with. Once a week they will be given a word work test to track their growth.
Writing 6+1 Traits of Writing
While focusing the key traits of writing and the writing process, we focus on narrative writing. We will explore other genres of writing throughout the year.
Grammar- Shurley Grammar
Throughout the year students will practice various grammar skills. Students will learn how to apply these skills to their own writing compositions.
A strong understanding of social studies and history is the foundation of well-informed, civic-minded citizens. Our 1-5 scope and sequence begins with exploring relationships that students have within their immediate circle of family, friends, teachers, and neighbors. Then students learn the basics of geography, economics, and citizenship in the context of expanding their view to include the local community. Learning broadens from there to an awareness of local and global communities, the exploration of different cultures, and public service roles. Finally, students begin to learn about American history from the first migration into the Americas to the 20th Century.
Just as children explore concentrically larger circles of community in social studies, the science curriculum teaches them to understand and appreciate the physical world around them. Students take part in engaging, hands-on investigation focused on the following three areas, with an emphasis on engineering and applying these scientific topics through experimentation and creation.
- Life Science (plants and animals) – their diversity between habitats; similarities and differences from the past; internal and external structures that uniquely help them with growth, survival, and reproduction; diversity between habitats; patterns of behavior and stages of life; variation of traits from other species and within their species; and how they are affected by change.
- Physical Science - Matter and forces - properties and functions of different kinds of matter, how they affect the way objects move, how matter can be changed, how light and sound travels, effect of balanced and unbalanced forces, gravitational force, patterns in wave motion, how energy is transferred by sound, light, heat, and electric current, energy and how it is produced and transferred, and identify matter as particles of matter too small to be seen
- Earth Science - patterns in movement of the sun, moon, stars, and Earth; patterns in interaction among the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere; weather in different climates and seasons; processes that shape the Earth’s surface; Earth’s features; water, its states and distribution; resources from the Earth; and human impact on the Earth
First through fifth grade math instruction and curriculum are carefully designed to allow students to connect with, build upon, and refine their mathematical understandings. Students use metacognitive strategies when they engage in solving mathematics problems to not only understand specific concepts, but also the process by which they learned them. Six content strands are at the core of instruction in all grade levels: number and numeration, operations and computation, data and chance, measurement and reference frames, geometry, patterns, and functions, and algebra. These six areas are broken down further into grade-level goals which are linked to formative assessments. Teachers work closely in teams to design instruction of both remedial and enrichment needs allowing them to support students at all levels.
The best learning is active and engaged. It can be found in ordinary places. Take our open gym nights or our elementary dance troupe practices, for example. These activities energize students and help them to see the holistic connections between mind, body, and spirit. Activities outside the classroom are not merely add-ons to the core curriculum. They are a continuous enrichment, a way to sustain and deepen learning.
At YHIS, we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provide motivation for learning, character building, physical growth and creativity while developing confidence and educating the whole child. Students are encouraged to participate and explore all opportunities that interest them. Students who are involved in Co-curricular opportunities become more invested in the school experience, therefore increasing the opportunity for higher academic performance and social well-being.