Curriculum

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme

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t the Early Years Campus, Grade Pre-K3 year olds through Kindergarten engage in the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is an inquiry based curriculum which focuses on student learning. This is accomplished by addressing the social, physical, emotional and cultural needs of the child, as well as academic ones.

 

Pre-Kindergarten

Language Arts

Pre-K children develop language and literacy through interactions with adults and other children, engagement with materials, and instructional experiences. Pre-K experiences provide the foundation for later reading success which is directly correlated to the interaction of children with books.

Written Communication (reading and writing)  
Students will:

  • Be exposed to activities that will develop the ability to listen for comprehension and to discriminate sounds in language
  • Develop an awareness of print and books through a variety of activities and interactions
  • Begin writing using pictures, symbols and letters
  • Listen and respond to books read aloud
  • Engage in activities related to stories

Oral Communication (speaking and listening)  
Students will be given daily opportunities to communicate effectively either independently, in small groups or with the whole class:

  • For social interaction
  • To obtain knowledge of people, places and things in their environment and the wider community
  • To communicate needs, feelings and ideas in order to respond to a variety of experiences

Visual Communication (viewing and presenting) 
Through using media students will:

  • Play, experiment, talk about and relate to a variety of media
  • Will enjoy using media to make sense of the world

Mathematics

Mathematical instruction in Pre-K builds on the child’s natural curiosity and desire to make order in the surrounding world. Mathematical focal points will be addressed in contexts that promote problem solving, reasoning, communication, making connections, and designing and analyzing representations. The experience of developing math concepts in Pre-K, using hands-on materials, lays the foundation for later abstract mathematical thinking.

Number and Operations  
Students will develop an understanding of whole numbers by:

  • Engaging in counting activities that are built into the daily routine
  • Working on activities to reinforce one-to-one correspondence
  • Developing the concept of “more or less” with concrete objects
  • Recognizing and duplicating simple sequential patterns e.g., square, circle, square, … (algebra)

Geometry  
Students will begin to identify shapes and describe spatial relationships:

  • Develop an understanding of patterns and predictability
  • Find shapes in the environment and describe in their own words
  • Build pictures and designs combining two- and three-dimensional shapes

Measurement  
Students will begin to identify measureable attributes and compare objects by using these attributes by:

  • Identifying measureable attributes such as length and weight
  • Using non-standard and standard means to measure real objects
  • Identifying objects as “the same” or “different” and then “more” or “less” on the basis of measureable attributes

Science

Pre-K children are naturally curious about their world. Pre-K science activities encourage the student to explore, investigate, observe and record changes in the environment. Content areas will include All About Me; Body and Senses; Health and Nutrition; Materials; Houses and Homes; Oceans; Weather; Trees; Insects and Spiders. Through these content areas students will:
  • Develop their observational skills by using their senses to gather and record information
  • Will use their observations to identify simple patterns
  • Make predictions and discuss their ideas
  • Explore the ways object and phenomena function
  • Will recognize basic cause and effect relationships
  • Examine change over time
  • Be aware of different perspectives and show care and respect for themselves, other living things and the environment
  • Communicate their idea or provide explanations using their own scientific experience and vocabulary

Social Studies 

Pre-K students will gain an understanding of people and their lives, focusing on themselves, their friends and families, and their immediate environment. They will gain an increasing awareness of themselves in relation to the various groups to which they belong. They will gain a sense of place, and the reasons why particular places are important to people. They will also gain a sense of time, and recognize important events in their own lives, and how time and change affect people. Children also learn how to contribute to the successful functioning of the classroom. They become aware of the similarities and differences among people and how each person is an important member of the community. The content areas will directly relate to the PYP units of inquiry and the science units:
  • Who We Are: “All About Me” – Every day I can learn about who I am and what I can do.
  • Where We Are in Place and Time: “Houses and Homes” – People and animals live in different types of homes
  • How We Express Ourselves: “Rhyme Time” – People use rhymes and play with languag
  • How the World Works: “Materials Everywhere” – Everything is made of materials and can be organized according to its properties.

Kindergarten

Language Arts 

The Kindergarten Language Arts Curriculum is designed to introduce students to core concepts that are further developed and expanded as students progress through each grade level. We integrate the processes of reading, writing, and listening/speaking/viewing in order to help students communicate and interpret information in a variety of modes.

Written Communication (reading and writing)

  • Learn about the concepts of print - how to hold books, how to track print, and how to distinguish words from pictures and letters from words
  • Develop a range of reading strategies to make sense of text
  • Discuss stories heard and read, demonstrate an awareness of the role of characters and plot, and they will respond to the ideas and feelings expressed.
  • Recognize and name upper and lower case letters and match sounds and combinations of sounds to appropriate letters
  • Begin to read fluently
  • Uses drawings, letters and phonetically spelled words to create meaning and write about familiar things
  • Begins to understand different types of writing

Oral Communication (listening and speaking)

  • Acquires and uses grade-level words to communicate effectively
  • Use oral language with increasing confidence
  • Talk about own thoughts feelings and opinions in small and large groups
  • Learn to listen to the thoughts and ideas of others carefully and with sensitivity in small and large groups

Visual Communication (viewing and presenting)

  • Understand that signs and symbols carry meaning
  • Understand information presented in a range of visual media

Mathematics 
Number and Operations  

Children use numbers, including written numerals, to represent quantities and to solve quantitative problems, such as counting objects in a set, creating a set with a given number of objects, comparing and ordering sets or numerals by using both cardinal and ordinal meanings, and modeling simple joining and separating situations with objects. They choose, combine, and apply effective strategies for answering quantitative questions, including quickly recognizing the number in a small set, counting and producing sets of given sizes, counting the number in combined sets, and counting backward. 

Geometry  
Children interpret the physical world with geometric ideas (e.g., shape, orientation, spatial relations) and describe it with corresponding vocabulary. They identify, name, and describe a variety of shapes, such as squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, (regular) hexagons, and (isosceles) trapezoids presented in a variety of ways (e.g., with different sizes or orientations), as well as such three-dimensional shapes as spheres, cubes, and cylinders. They use basic shapes and spatial reasoning to model objects in their environment and to construct more complex shapes. 

Measurement 
Children use measurable attributes, such as length or weight, to solve problems by comparing and ordering objects. They compare the lengths of two objects both directly (by comparing them with each other) and indirectly (by comparing both with a third object), and they order several objects according to length. 

Science 
Kindergarten children are naturally curious about their world. Kindergarten science activities encourage the student to explore, investigate, observe and record changes in the environment. Content areas will include Physical Properties of Matter; Gravity and Motion; Day and Night Sky; Living and Non-Living Things; Animals; Plants; Rocks and Soils. Through these content areas students will:
  • Develop their observational skills by using their senses to gather and record information
  • Use observations to identify simple patterns, make predictions and refine their ideas
  • Explore the way objects and phenomena function
  • Identify parts of a system
  • Gain an understanding of cause and effect relationships
  • Examine change over time periods and recognize that more than one variable may affect change
  • Be aware of different perspectives and ways of organizing the world
  • Show care and respect for themselves, other living things and the environment
  • Communicate ideas or provide explanations using their own scientific experience

Social Studies 

Students will gain an understanding of their world, focusing on themselves, their friends and families and their environment. They will appreciate the reasons why people belong to groups, the roles they fulfill and the different ways that people interact within groups. They will gain a sense of place and the reasons why particular places are important to people, as well as how and why people’s activities influence, and are influenced by, the places in their environment. They will gain a sense of time, recognizing important events in their own lives, and how time and change affect people.

The content areas will directly relate to the PYP units of inquiry and the science units:

  • Who We Are: “Decisions! Decisions!” – We are all unique individuals learning to work together and to be responsible.
  • Where We Are in Place and Time: “We Are One, We Are Many” - Individuals and families are part of a larger world community.
  • How We Express Ourselves: “Let’s Celebrate!” – People celebrate important events and holidays.
  • How the World Works: “Weather All Around” – The weather and seasons change all around the world and influence human activities.
  • How We Organize Ourselves: “It’s Symbolic!” – People use symbols and pictures to show beliefs and values.
  • Sharing the Planet: “What’s Alive?” – All living things have basic needs

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten

Religious Education

Spanish
The Spanish program at the Early Years campus is designed to:

  • expose Pre-K and Kindergarten students to basic vocabulary and to lay the foundation for development of the basic skills to produce and receive messages.
  • support PYP units of inquiry and promote international-mindedness

Music 
The mission of music education at Notre Dame Academy is:

  • to learn music as an applied curriculum
  • to integrate music, art, and academics
  • to celebrate and preserve our cultural and religious heritages musically, and to learn about and appreciate other cultures
  • to stimulate the student intellectually and emotionally
  • to let the music experience be individually and collectively therapeutic, evocative, emotive, and communicative

The music program, ultimately, will give the students self-discipline, self-esteem, dignity, respect, goal direction/completion, along with personal satisfaction and gratification.

Physical Education  
Goals & Objectives of the Fit for Life program:

  • To provide all students with a minimum of 30min daily physical activity
  • To teach and practice a variety of different skills, games, activities and sports
  • To teach core values such as sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline, respect and hard work
  • To enjoy being active
  • To learn the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle

Art  

The elementary art curriculum, Pre-K through 5th grade, is designed to build students’ core knowledge in the arts. Art techniques, vocabulary, artists, and movements are taught in innovative and interactive ways, correlating with each grade levels’ units of inquiry whenever possible so that students develop connections between their academic instruction and the world of art. The art environment also encourages students to develop an ethic of care, as they learn to care for art supplies, care for their own ideas and ways of expression, and care for others as they learn about diverse communities and cultures through art.