Stamford American Elementary School Curriculum Guide - page 15

The Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten 1 Programs at Stamford are designed to
provide guided inquiry, based on each individual achieving more than they believe
they can. All activities aim to enable students to become inquisitive, communicative
and confident young learners. From Pre-Kindergarten onwards, our curriculum
incorporates the IB Primary Years Program framework standards. The curriculum
includes the subject areas of Mathematics, Language, Science, Social Studies, the Arts
and Personal, Social and Physical Education taught through interdisciplinary themes
in order to help the students make connections between the subjects. Language
includes an introduction to a foreign language through daily Mandarin or Spanish
activities. Integration provides a common framework, making learning experiences
more meaningful and connected, and thus more effective.
It is recognized that the teaching of language should build on students’ previous
experience, needs and interests. Language plays a vital role in the construction of
meaning. It empowers the learner and provides an intellectual framework to support
conceptual development and critical thinking.
At Stamford, all students have the opportunity to learn more than one language.
Acquisition of more than one language enriches personal development and helps
facilitate international-mindedness. The influence of mother-tongue development is
significant for all learners and is crucial for cognitive development and in maintaining
cultural identity.
Stamford’s Language Program identifies three main strands:
• Oral communication
• Written communication
• Visual communication
These communication strands are organized into sub-strands which include listening
and speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting. The sub-strands are addressed
separately, although in practice they are interactive elements of the program.
Oral Communication: Listening and Speaking
Listening and speaking are natural, developmental processes that infants and young
children are immersed in from their earliest experiences. Most children arrive at
school with an impressive command of their mother-tongue language. Oral language
encompasses all aspects of listening and speaking—skills that are essential for ongoing
language development, for learning and for relating to others.
Listening (the receptive mode) and speaking (the expressive mode) work together in a
transactional process between listeners and speakers. Listening involves more than just
hearing sounds. It requires active and conscious attention in order to make sense of
what is heard. Purposeful talk enables learners to articulate thoughts as they construct
and reconstruct meaning to understand the world around them. Oral language involves
recognizing and using certain types of language according to the audience and purpose.
Written Communication: Reading
Reading is a developmental process that involves constructing meaning from text.
The process is interactive and involves the reader’s purpose for reading, the reader’s
prior knowledge and experience, and the text itself. Children of all ages need to
experience and enjoy a wide variety of interesting, informative, intriguing and
creative reading materials.
Reading helps us to clarify our ideas, feelings, thoughts and opinions. Literature offers
us a means of understanding ourselves and others and has the power to influence and
structure thinking. Well-written fiction provides opportunities for learners to imagine
themselves in another’s situation, reflecting on feelings and actions, and developing
empathy. The ability to read and comprehend non-fiction is essential for the process of
Course Descriptions: Early Years Program - Pre-Kindergarten and
Kindergarten 1: Age 3-5
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