At ISA, the Early Childhood School, starts with 2 year olds (PK2), and is dedicated to a language emergent experience focusing on the unique learning and social/emotional needs of the younger child. We feel that the early years should be positive and fun, while enriching children’s knowledge and understanding of the world and their place in it. We see parents as important partners in this effort.
Our language immersion program allows children to learn their second language, the same way they learn their first – naturally. We teach in the target language using French or Spanish to build basic skills for the future. Following a European program model, our Early Childhood Education program is divided into four sections: PK2 (2-3 years old), PK3 (3-4 years old), PK4/Pre-Kindergarten (4-5 years old), and Kindergarten (5-6 years old). The transition from home or from daycare into a school environment is the first big step for our youngest students entering PK2 and PK3, and for some new to PK4. Our program is designed to welcome students throughout the school year, with 3, 4 and 5 day options to ease the transition.
Our French and Spanish Programs are organized into the following six domains: Oral Language in all its Dimensions, Expressing and Understanding through Physical Activity, Expressing and Understanding through Artistic Activity, Building the First Tools to Structural Thinking, Discovering the World, and Living Together. The curriculum guides our program, as teachers from both tracks work together in its implementation. Activities are chosen that develop fine and gross motor skills, academic (language, math, science) skills, and artistic skills. In addition, the program supports the children as they learn social skills, including teamwork and friendship development. We teach universal values such as respect, responsibility, and kindness.
The Early Childhood program is based on the premise that language acquisition happens best with meaning and that children construct meaning and knowledge through multi-sensory experiences. These experiences support our students’ development of communication skills in the target language. The first steps are understanding the target language, and then moving to the use of the language during everyday activities. Our PK2 and PK3 classes are immersion in the target language. In PK4/Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, we continue with language immersion, and introduce an English program. Students in PK4/Pre-Kindergarten receive three hours weekly of English instruction and Kindergarten students receive four hours each week.
Our daily schedules include center-based instruction called “workshop” or “atelier” or “taller”, which encourages cooperative learning while building pre-academic skills with hands-on activities. Dramatic play and free play allow children to organize themselves, solve problems, develop social and creative thinking skills, communicate with one another, explore new interests, as well as nurture their talents and imagination. During a typical day, all children participate in large and small group activities, games, free play, songs, stories, quiet time (naps for the two and three-year-olds), outdoor recess, snack, and lunch.
ISA follows a consistent schedule. Unlike most traditional childcare facilities, we are a fully accredited non-profit, independent international school that offers a structured curriculum and follows a traditional school calendar.
PK2 and PK3 cover a full range of activities: whole class instruction, individualized and center-based instruction, and social activities such as music, games, dramatic play, recess, nap, and meal.
PK4/Pre-Kindergarten curriculum develops the acquisition of basic skills necessary for later academic success. The program focuses on structured activities and refining socialization.
Our program sets the foundations for reading, writing, and problem solving. The skills acquired are gross and fine motor development and the ability to concentrate, to control behavior, to analyze, to communicate, and to socialize. We introduce a formal English class in PK4/Pre-Kindergarten (3 hours/week), taught by a highly educated teacher.
Our Kindergarten curriculum prepares children for Lower School within a nurturing environment. The program focuses on promoting creativity, problem solving and social interaction through strong language, reading, writing, and math activities.
The development of listening and speaking skills in French/Spanish is facilitated through auditory and visual discrimination. Reading activities are designed to teach the concepts of space such as left-right and top-bottom orientation, chronology, and auditory perception. Writing activities help children to develop control in their hand movements. They also learn how to design shapes used in the cursive style which is mandatory in the French/ Spanish curriculum.
Our Kindergarten Curriculum is organized as follows:
For more information about the curriculum, please visit the website of the French Ministry of Education / Le Ministère de l’Education Nationale (look in “Les In-structions Officielles”) or the Spanish Ministry of Education / El Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (look in “El Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE)”).