Welcome to the Elementary School (Pre-Kindergarten 3 to Grade 5)
The Elementary School program is driven and guided by both the School's Mission and Vision Statements with the curriculum designed to prepare students to become stewards of a just and sustainable world. We are committed to the development of the whole child, providing a balanced program that addresses children’s social, emotional, and academic development. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years’ Programme (PYP) school, we use the IB Learner Profile to teach our children what it means to be internationally-minded, lifelong learners. The attributes are achievable by all elementary school students and our program ensures that children are given many opportunities to understand and demonstrate these behaviors in real-life settings. The attributes of the Learner Profile serve not only as a guide for the kind of student we hope will graduate from our school, but for all learners in our school community - students, teachers, staff, and parents alike.
Teaching and learning at AISD celebrates the many ways people work together to construct meaning and make sense of the world. Through an inquiry approach, students are able to ask questions, explore, wonder, collect data, seek information and solve problems in a variety of ways, thus actively engaging students in their effort to make sense of the world. Inquiry involves the synthesis, analysis, and manipulation of knowledge through play and guided learning as well. Our faculty is experienced and committed to providing a world-class education for the students at AISD. We believe that student success at school is fostered through strong home-school communication, parental involvement, and support of their child’s education.
The Elementary School at AISD utilizes the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP). This international curriculum framework, designed for students aged 3 to 12, focuses on the total growth of the developing child encompassing social, physical, and emotional needs in addition to academic development. The PYP believes that students learn best when they explore big ideas from a variety of perspectives. Teachers work collaboratively planning units of study to help students make links across subject areas.
We are dedicated to a student-centered education in which students are encouraged to celebrate cultural diversity, share their knowledge and understanding with others, pursue personal aspirations, and set challenging goals. Our teachers empower students to develop confidence and personal responsibility. Students are encouraged to take risks in their learning, to reflect on their work, and to develop the imagination and motivation to meet their own needs to be global citizens.
At AISD, we use PreK – Grade 12 standards and benchmarks to create units that are challenging, relevant, and engaging. We emphasize learning how to learn, thus preparing students for a lifetime of learning, independently and in collaboration with others.
For currently enrolled families, download the Elementary School Student Parent Handbook from here.
Throughout the elementary curriculum, language beliefs and practices are guided by a shared philosophy. The development of language is fundamental to our need to communicate and supports students’ thinking and understanding. Language plays a vital role in the construction of meaning and empowers the learner with an intellectual framework to support conceptual development and critical thinking. AISD believes that a balanced literacy program provides the best opportunity for students to learn effective language skills, and we value the following:
- Skill and strategy instruction embedded in the context of meaningful text
- The use of authentic literature - both text and illustration
- Phonemic awareness instruction
- Word work exploration focusing on its authentic use through writing applications
- The development of strategies to support independent application
- Ongoing assessment and evaluation to monitor student progress
Shared teaching strategies, which support children’s language development, are used across grade levels and in developmentally appropriate contexts:
- Reading aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading
- Writing workshop, shared writing, independent writing
- Listening, speaking, viewing, and presenting learning engagements
The Elementary School has a range of language development resources to meet the diverse needs of students.
The goal of the Elementary Mathematics Program is for all students to achieve mathematical proficiency by developing both conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. The end result is the ability to think and reason mathematically and to use math to solve problems.
It is important that learners acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning through ever-increasing levels of abstraction, starting with exploring their own personal experience, understandings and knowledge. It is important that mathematics be taught in relevant, realistic contexts, rather than by attempting to impart a fixed body of knowledge directly to the students.
Mathematics at AISD is comprised of the following strands which encompass what students should know:
- Counting (PreK-G2 only)
- Number and Operations in Base 10
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Numbers and Operations - Fractions (G3-G5 only)
- Measurement and Data
- Mathematical Practices
In the Elementary School, each of our Units of Inquiry are transdisciplinary in nature, concept-driven and are developed around Transdisciplinary Themes. Each theme has global significance and is supported by knowledge, concepts and skills from the traditional subject areas, but utilize them in ways that transcend the confines of these subjects. Social Studies and Science are taught through the Units of Inquiry and as much as authentically appropriate, Language and Math are taught through these units as well. These six Transdisciplinary Themes contribute to the common ground that unifies the curriculums in all PYP schools, and promote an awareness of the human condition and an understanding that there is a commonality of human experience. This allows the Elementary School to offer a program that is international in its scope, while providing a way to monitor which concepts in Social Studies and Science are taught throughout the grades.
Each unit is approximately six weeks in length and gives students the opportunity for an in-depth inquiry that includes the five essential elements of the PYP: Knowledge, Concepts, Skills, Attitudes and Action. Wherever possible and appropriate, single subject teachers work collaboratively with the class teachers to integrate their subject content through the Unit of Inquiry. Each unit focuses on a central idea to help students develop conceptual understanding, learn new skills and knowledge, and develop attitudes to help them become lifelong learners using inquiry as the vehicle for learning. The lively process of inquiry appears differently within different age ranges and involves an active engagement with the environment, whether through play or through more structured learning.
Teachers develop ways to assess prior knowledge and skills in order to plan the inquiry, ensure the summative assessment tasks are linked to the central idea, and provide learners with the opportunity to show their conceptual understanding and utilize continuous assessment in the context of the lines of inquiry.
Learners are actively engaged in planning, leading and assessing their own learning. Within the Programme of Inquiry, they are empowered to do their best, for themselves, and in order to contribute to the learning and well-being of others.
Host Cultural Studies
All students from KG to Grade 5 take Host Culture/Bangla studies. Our program challenges students to aspire to and understand the values of international mindedness by learning to appreciate and understand Bangladeshi culture. Many of the units in this program are directly linked to the Units of Inquiry and give students an opportunity to make authentic and meaningful connections to the local community. We foster capacity for linguistic and cultural expression by embracing the languages spoken by our students. Where possible, mother tongue languages are used to find common connections with the host culture. Our program strives to develop creative, critical, empathetic thinkers who can apply their knowledge to the interconnectedness of a globalized world. Students develop their knowledge and awareness of the host culture by comparing and contrasting diverse ways of thinking, and developing deep understanding. In turn, our program provides the opportunity for students to become more culturally aware through the growth and integration of the Learner Profile attributes and attitudes.
Students learn basic Bangla within the context of our Host Culture Studies program. In learning the conventions and vocabulary of Bangla, a communicative approach is used, where students interact with the language using games, songs, stories and drama. Students are also given real life contexts in which to practice their Bangla speaking skills. For example, in Grade 5 students learn the language associated with eating out and, for the culminating learning experience, students are taken to a restaurant where they each have to order their own meal.
The Physical Education program is designed around the philosophy of developing students who value living a healthy active lifestyle. Students are given the opportunity to experience a variety of activities, allowing them to build their fundamental and sport-specific motor skills. The PE curriculum includes units in health related fitness, adventure challenge, swimming, track and field, net games, invasion games, and movement composition.
Throughout the year students are introduced to components of personal and social responsibility where they have opportunities to work on their communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution skills. They engage in many different cooperative activities and have to work together to solve problems. Students also have opportunities to be creative and express themselves by designing gymnastics and circus routines. The overall goal of the program is to develop confident students, who understand the importance of living a healthy active lifestyle.
Through music at AISD, students are given the opportunity to learn, communicate and expressive themselves in alternate ways from their homeroom classrooms. Students sing, move, create, play, inquire and perform within the music classroom using standard notation, invented symbols, songs, games, and other activities. In addition to a focus on music, drama and dance are interwoven. Students demonstrate and perform for peers and parents at various times throughout the year.
The primary goal of Visual Arts at AISD is for students to express themselves through a variety of mediums. The program provides many opportunities for learners to deeply explore mediums of their choice, try new mediums and techniques, and achieve success through trial, error, reflection and class critiques. The art room is divided into five centers: drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture and collage. At the beginning of each lesson, a concept is introduced and techniques are demonstrated in a particular medium. The students then choose how they want to “solve” the art problem presented to them and express their understanding of the concept being taught. The lesson, “A Building That Shows Emotion,” for example, could be drawn, painted, sculpted, collaged, etc. as long as the student can communicate through their art and explain how artists show emotion through their creations.