The Elementary department at ISW has an inclusive curriculum and great teaching staff, where we are able to meet your child’s individual needs. ISW is a truly wonderful place to be! Our school community is successful due to our highly qualified staff, our talented students and caring, involved families. I am excited to have the opportunity to be a partner in education and look forward to many years to come working with your children, the most precious asset that you have entrusted us with.
Your fellow educator,
The ISW curriculum provides a holistic program that balances the development of concepts, skills and character. Our approach focuses on the total growth of the developing child addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare.
Our program focuses on guided inquiry, collaboration and communication as approaches to teaching and learning to provide an environment that fosters the development of problem solving and critical thinking as well as subject competencies.
The subjects of Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, and Character Education are taught by the classroom teacher. Whenever possible, transdisciplinary links are made across subjects to maximize learning connections.
Chinese, PE, Music and Visual Arts are taught by Specialists to form a comprehensive, varied and rich elementary experience. Technology is used as a tool that enhances and broadens the scope and quality of student learning.
The language of instruction is English, with additional support for non-English speakers.
The primary goal of language arts instruction in the lower school 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, teachers in grades K-3 focus on reading skills that include print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and fluency. In grades 4 and 5, reading instruction focuses on vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension. Students learn and practice three types of writing in grades K-5: opinion/argument writing, narrative writing, and informative writing using a workshop model where students are provided with clear goals, as well as responsive, assessment based feedback.
A strong understanding of social studies and history is the foundation of well-informed, civic-minded citizens. Our K-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 four areas.
- Plants and animals- their impact on the environment, parts and functions, interdependence in ecosystems, variations of traits of different organisms, functions of internal and external structure in growth, reproduction, and information processing, role of decomposers, consumers, and producers in a healthy ecosystem.
- Matter & forces- properties and functions of different kinds of matter, how they effect the way objects move, how light and sound travels, effect of balanced and unbalanced forces, patterns in wave motion, how energy is transferred by sound, light, heat, and electric current, identify matter as particles of matter too small to be seen.
- Weather - how it changes over time in recognizable patterns, quantify and predict weather conditions, interaction among the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
- Sun, moon, and stars - patterns in the apparent movement, processes that shape Earth over long periods of time, weathering, erosion, and deposition in shaping Earth’s surface, patterns caused by the relative position of the Earth and sun.
K-5 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. Using a Professional Learning Community model, teachers analyze the assessment data and support each student’s developmental stage of understanding. They work closely in teams to design instruction of both remedial and enrichment needs allowing them to support students at all levels.
At ISW we understand all too well that living abroad and going to school away from home and old friends can be challenging for children of all ages. The difficulties they struggle with are not always visible or clearly expressed. If not addressed, this can affect their behavior as well as their academic performance.
Our school counselor, Ms. Lianne Ong, meets with students who may be having emotional or social difficulties and help determine the best courses of action, which may include a recommendation of counseling. Conversations are confidential. Counselors are available on campus to individuals or groups of students for discussion of problems relating to emotional growth, social adjustment, academic achievement or any other issue.
Appointments may be made by emailing or visiting Ms. Ong.
SUPPORT FOR LEARNING DIFFERENCES
The ISW community embraces individual ways of learning and is committed to supporting children in an inclusive classroom with additional supports. The professionals in Student Support Services collaborate with students, parents and faculty members to create student-centered learning plans, which guide teachers' instruction and increases students' application of learning skills. These plans are designed to increase student opportunity to show mastery of content through multiple means.
When it has been determined that a student can benefit from academic accommodations such as extended time, visual aids, enrichment, or a modified workload, Student Support Services works with with teachers to implement these plans. Additionally, this department provides remedial and enrichment opportunities for students K-12. This can take the form of co-teaching in the general classroom, meeting individually or in small groups with students, or mentoring students after school.
ISW employs two full-time professionals in the Student Support Services who hold graduate degrees and have formal training and expertise working with students who learn differently.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE SUPPORT
Mastery of the English language is crucial for each student to be successful at an international school. To determine the level of English language support needed, all non-native English-speaking students are tested for English during the admissions process. The English Language Learners (ELL) Program develops individual learning plans for non-native English speakers from Grade 1 – 5 according to the English language needs of each individual student.
ISW Elementary offers IET (Intensive English Track) for students with very low English skills in 4th and 5th grade. These students have pull-out support and modified curriculum. This allows for students to be in the best place for them to succeed.
Through close interaction with parents and ISW Staff, ELL teachers provide students with help in all areas of language acquisition (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in order to reach a high level of English language proficiency and achieve full participation in ISW curricula.
MS. LIANNE ONG
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 ISW we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provides motivation for learning, character building, physical growth ad 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.