KG 1(Nursery) & KG 2(Reception/Pre-K)

At IST the Early Childhood program consists of the KG 1 (Nursery) and KG 2 (Reception/Pre-K) classes where students generally range in age from three to five years. For many children this marks the first transition from home to group experience outside of the family and to a new and exciting physical environment. The school’s primary goal is therefore to ensure that this adjustment is as successful as possible by encouraging the development of a secure and trusting relationship with new adults and peers. Early childhood years are distinctive from the primary or elementary years in several ways and the rapid rate of developments that occur in the physical, social, emotional, intellectual and aesthetic domains are particularly significant. Although the progression usually occurs in recognizable and predictable directions, it is unique in each child, occurring at varying rates from child to child, and inconsistently for each child.

The experiences that contribute to children’s development and learning are defined by social and cultural contexts – the family and the home; the school environment, the children and adults within it; the surrounding community. The young child engages with the world in a direct and interactive manner and IST’s Early Childhood program encourages an active learning approach through which children construct meaning from experience with the social and physical world that surrounds them.

Every day children in the Early Childhood program are given opportunities to learn and develop through exploration, play and a variety of structured activities. We continually and consistently encourage each child to grow and develop individually, honoring each child’s uniqueness. Young children need extended periods of time and as much space as possible to explore, investigate and play, with a variety of materials, in order to learn about themselves, other people and the world around them.

An environment that reflects the natural, developmental stages of learning characterizes our program, and our classrooms, playroom, and outside play areas are well equipped and organized for young learners. Children’s interactions in and with these spaces stimulates them to become active learners, by providing ongoing opportunities for them to

  • make choices and decisions
  • use materials in flexible and imaginative ways
  • initiate inquiry and ask questions
  • work collaboratively with others
  • sustain their interests and extend their knowledge
  • develop understanding

Children in the program do real work that allows them to demonstrate what they know. The demonstrations can be as simple as stringing beads or as complex as inquiring about what makes the seasons. We take great pride in offering young children a day full of delight in learning and being together in school.

Play is FUNdamental at IST

In productive play, the fun is in the doing. Through play children explore their world, discover how to get along with others, test their skills and muscles, try out new ideas, and feel competent enough to try different activities. When we enrich children’s play, they learn

  • cooperation
  • problem solving
  • language
  • mathematics

And they develop

  • curiosity
  • self-esteem
  • strength and coordination
  • self-direction
  • values

Types of play we see at school

  • Solitary Play: playing alone
  • Parallel Play: two or three children doing the same type of play near each other
  • Cooperative Play: groups of children playing together
  • Structured Play: games that follow rules
  • Free or Self-Directed Play: when children choose what they want to do

Productive play is learning!

Ready. Set. Go!

Ready. Set. Go! means our program is a get ready program. We are supporting young learners getting ready for the formal schooling that commences in KG 3 (Year 1). For reading, writing and speaking and listening, this means we explore the language arts by

  • talking, singing and playing (in Chinese as well as in English)
  • making time to read together each day
  • choosing our books with care
  • surrounding our young children with reading and alphabet materials
  • fostering an awareness of print and how we use it
  • providing a variety of writing tools and materials
  • displaying writing and drawing

For mathematics we explore by

  • surrounding our young children with materials to count and sort and classify
  • daily calendar and accounting activities
  • fostering an awareness of mathematical concepts and how we use them each day

For Science, Social Studies, and Personal, Social and Physical Education we investigate through an exploration of our Units of Inquiry.

In addition to the learning program provided in the homeroom, students in NPK attend the following specialist classes:

  • Music: two periods of music
  • Physical Education: two periods of sport, one period of fitness
  • Chinese of Mother Tongue: three periods a week

Units of Inquiry

Students in KG 1 (Nursery) and KG 2 (Reception/Pre-K) classes inquire into and learn about globally significant phenomena in the context of four units of inquiry at each of these grade levels. Each of these units of inquiry addresses a particular transdisciplinary theme. The units of inquiry for Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten have been developed with the needs of our young learners in mind and as a vehicle through which key content, skills and attitudes can be developed. There is also a strong link and cohesion between units within one grade level and between units in the Nursery and PreKindergarten level. The information below gives an outline of the units of inquiry studied.

An Inquiry Into:
Who we are
An Inquiry into:An Inquiry into:
How we express ourselves
An Inquiry into:
How the world works
An inquiry into:
How we organize ourselves
An inquiry into:
Share the planet
KG 1 (NURSERY) Special Individuals

Central Idea: We are special individuals with unique characteristics.

Lines of inquiry:
  • Ways in which we are similar and different
  • Me and my family
  • Things I can do
  • Early Years only complete Four Units of Inquiry The Artist

    Central Idea: We can use art to share our ideas and explore our imagination.

    Lines of Inquiry:

  • How we use art to represent our ideas and feelings
  • The process that we use to create art
  • Sharing and reflecting on our art and other art
  • The responses that art can evoke.
  • Early Years only complete Four Units of Inquiry Construction

    Central Idea: Purpose, imagination and our understanding of scientific principles influence how we design and construct.

    Lines of inquiry:

  • Ways we construct
  • Principles that affect construction
  • How our imagination influences our construction
  • Living Things

    Central Idea: Living things have certain requirements in order to grow and stay healthy.

    Lines of inquiry:
  • Characteristics of living things
  • The needs of pets and animals
  • Our responsibility for the well-being of other livings
    An Inquiry into:
    Who we are
    An Inquiry into:
    Where we are in time and place
    An inquiry into:
    How we express ourselves
    An inquiry into:
    How the world works
    An Inquiry into:
    How we organize ourselves
    An inquiry into:
    Sharing the planet

    Central Idea: Friendships enrich our lives and require nurturing in order to develop.

    Lines of inquiry:
  • How friendships can be developed
  • What friends do for each other
  • Ways we can appreciate and maintain friendships
  • Early Years only complete Four Units of Inquiry Emotions

    Central Idea: Feelings and emotions can be shown in many ways.

    Lines of inquiry:
  • Different types of emotions & experiences which relate to these
  • Ways in which stories, drama and music can show and share emotions
  • Materials

    Central Idea: Materials have different properties that determine their use.

    Lines of inquiry:
  • Different kinds of materials and their properties
  • How materials are the same or different
  • How different materials can change
  • Early Years only complete Four Units of Inquiry Plants

    Central Idea: Plants have specific needs in order to grow and stay healthy.

    Lines of inquiry:
  • Our responsibilities towards the plants we choose to grow
  • Characteristics of plants
  • What plants need to grow
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