Curriculum in Lower School
ISO Elementary School
The ISO Elementary School team focuses on the holistic development of each child collaboratively to provide opportunities for personal, social, emotional and academic growth. Our comprehensive, standards-based program of studies, supplemented with best practices from around the world, holds each individual to high expectations while encouraging creativity in a safe and nurturing environment.
At ISO we recognize that literacy learning begins in infancy and that children have many experiences with oral and written language before they officially start their schooling. Through a climate of trust and a healthy partnership between teachers and parents, our early years students are encouraged to build on their oral language, reading, writing and mathematics skills in an environment rich in literature and filled with developmentally appropriate sensory experiences.
Our elementary curriculum is tailored to each student through individualized English language acquisition programs, problem solving experiences, and hands-on, inquiry based programming in science and social studies which incorporates technology.
In English Language Arts, students’ learning is supported in a number of ways, including English as a Second Language classes, individualized Reading Support, and small class sizes with teaching assistants available to work with small groups or provide personalized learning support. Fountas & Pinnell and Reading A-Z reading achievement is assessed quarterly so that students are always receiving reading instruction at the level that is just right for them. 6 + 1 Writing Traits are used as a basis for the elementary writing programs in all classrooms.
Our Everyday Mathematics program is a scaffolded curriculum which ensures ISO students receive exposure to the different mathematical strands on a regular, ongoing basis. We teach these strands using a combination of hands-on practical activities, problem solving scenarios, the use of manipulatives and group work – all of which help reinforce the concepts being taught. Our math exemplars open ended problems allow students to apply learned skills, and provide an excellent assessment tool for teachers to provide meaningful feedback and encourage students to perform at an individual level of excellence.
A hands-on, inquiry based approach is used in Science and Social Studies, which encourages and challenges each student to investigate and experiment with a range of natural phenomena and materials in relevant contexts. Cross curricular learning and multi-age groupings are planned to allow students to explore personal interests in learning while collaborating with a variety of different people.
Our library is home to award-winning children’s literature and is a real hive of activity for our elementary reading enthusiasts. In addition to our well-resourced library, complete with 9 student computers, ISO has two computer labs. These house both PCs and Macs to ensure our students are able to research their topics in greater depth and use technology and books as tools in their learning. IT learning also takes place in the classroom in order to support, reinforce, and extend student learning. ISO has 40 iPads for use in elementary classrooms. Students use these to read, listen to stories, develop ELA and math skills through various apps, and to photograph, record and track their own learning through online portfolios.
Our specialist teachers ensure our students receive a well-rounded education on a weekly basis. Weekly PE lessons (Pre K – Grade 5) coupled with seasonal swimming sessions (Grades K-5), music ensembles and celebrations, sports days, arts week, and elementary assemblies all add value to our core curriculum.
Our French department follows the program of studies of Alberta, which is based on the CEFR (Common European Framework of References for languages). We cater for each elementary child’s needs by differentiating and grouping according to French language experience and ability. Running parallel with this program is our ESOL department that offers English language support to those transitioning from their mother tongue to English.
The Elementary School runs a comprehensive After School Activities program, which ranges in variety each semester and includes many artists and experts from our local community. Each teacher provides an activity, and parents are also encouraged to be part of this program.
Enriching students’ learning experiences by arranging guest speakers is a service we happily provide for our students. We’re always on the lookout for workforce professionals and enthusiasts to enhance our students’ educational understanding of key concepts and societal roles . If you have a profession or interest that you feel would benefit the elementary students of ISO, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your child’s class teacher.
Parents are involved in many ways, from reading stories to supporting guided reading groups, from sharing traditions with groups on international home language day to running activities during sports days. Thank you for considering ways that you might be able to share your experiences and knowledge with our students.
Here at ISO we embrace the fact that learning also takes place outside the classroom. We believe that field trips should reflect and extend learning. Regular excursions allow students hands-on experiences, bringing abstract concepts to life. ISO encourages students to view each learning opportunity as a chance to explore, question, and grow developmentally. Safe and secure excursions are planned keeping in mind the curriculum, student interest, and experience. Permission slips are sent home well in advance of each trip and contain information pertinent to the specific details for the student. All field trips are appropriately supervised, and safe transport is provided. Where possible parents are encouraged to accompany our field trips to be apart of their child’s learning.
Move to the Middle
The transition from the self-contained Elementary classroom to the departmentalized upper school classrooms can cause students anxiety. ISO has developed a transitional program for ‘rising’ sixth-graders. At ISO we call this program, ‘Move to the Middle’. Towards the end of the school year, fifth grade students are assigned a middle school buddy whom they spend a day with attending middle school classes. A discussion session is scheduled to allow fifth graders and their parents opportunities to ask the middle school faculty and administration questions pertaining to: expectations, workloads, schedules, activities and general day-to-day operations.