The Lower School Program at ICSA serves students in grades Pre-K to Grade 5. Students who are four years of age as of October 31st may be eligible for placement in the Pre-Kindergarten program.
One of ICSA's intellectual objectives is to promote the desire to learn, the awareness that learning is a lifelong process, and the recognition that there are a wide variety of resources for learning. Therefore, the lower school focuses on the total development of each child and provides many opportunities for personal and academic growth in a nurturing, structured environment.
Our program is experiential. Children learn new concepts and skills through their class work, through interactions with texts and materials and through interactions with classmates and the world around them. Projects, long-term assignments, and group work often require students to work together through a process that eventually results in a final product. A very important part of this experiential process is the time provided by teachers for students to edit and reflect upon their work. The goal is continual student learning, not simply a high grade or a product at the end of a unit.
Reading comprehension is very important in a child's learning process. In order to understand and learn new things, students must be able to comprehend what they read, so they know how to obtain information and/or apply concepts to their learning process. In the Lower School, we are using a Balanced Literacy approach to reading and writing instruction. A student’s day might include some time learning in Writing Workshop, Reading Workshop, word study, listening to a read aloud or helping the teacher and classmates during an interactive writing activity. Our instructional practices are based on work done at LitLife and research at Teachers College at Columbia University.
We use the Math in Focus (Singapore Math) program. This program has three basic elements: Concrete: concepts are introduced through hands-on experiences with manipulatives. Pictorial: students visualize the concept and represent it pictorially through models like number bonds and bar models. Abstract: Students use only abstract numbers and symbols when they have enough context to understand what they mean.
ICSA’s Lower School has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for grades K to Grade 5. Grades 2 to 5 also adopted the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading curriculum. Seeds of Science is a research-based curriculum that integrates hands-on inquiry science activities with reading and writing. Students also engage in meaningful discussions about their discoveries and wonderings.
Social Studies is taught through a global perspective because we want our students to understand and participate in the world around them with knowledge, empathy and inclusivity as foundations.
The philosophy of the lower school program is to provide the best strategies to the individual student through programs that are flexible and challenging. The students have time each day for enrichment via classes in Music, PE, Art and IT. French is the language of the host country and all students in the Lower School have French instruction four days out of every five days.