Early Childhood

International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC)

The International Early Years Curriculum is an innovative, research based curriculum that integrates play-based learning with thematic learning. The program is based upon the philosophy that helping young children learn—academically, socially, emotionally, and physically—is the real purpose of schools. Interactive, hands-on projects spark curiosity, engage students, encourage teamwork, and help children make connections between areas of study and their own lives. Curricular units focus on developing the following skills:

  1. Independence and interdependence nurture each child’s personal goals and his or her relationships with other children;
  2. Communicating develops skills including speaking and listening, reading and writing, early numeracy work and the expressive arts;
  3. Exploring develops skills in inquiry;
  4. Healthy living encourages children to understand how to look after themselves and each other.

IEYC Personal Goals include:

  • Adaptability: We are okay with change.
  • Communication: We share and let others share.
  • Inquiry: We ask questions to learn new things.
  • Integrity & Compassion: We are honest, do our best, and help others even when no one is looking.
  • Resilience: We try again, even when it’s hard.
  • Respect: We treat others the way we want to be treated.
  • Thoughtfulness: We think about what we say and do.
  • Cooperation: We work together.

Early childhood (preschool through prekindergarten) classrooms at CMI are characterized by:

  • Play-based learning is rooted in the IEYC Themes, Learning Strands, and Learning Goals. Our teachers put research and understanding of best practices of play in early childhood to work. Following the student’s lead, teachers engage with students around the themes they are exploring, with the goal of strengthening their social-emotional regulation and deepening their content knowledge. In play, students practice the learning and personal goals, with a special focus on adaptability, communication, and cooperation.
  • Extensive use of small-group instruction provides differentiated learning opportunities and supports students in practicing respect, communication, and cooperation. In small group work, students explore and express the knowledge and skills they are developing through the work in their classrooms with teachers and peers.
  • Project-based work gives teachers flexibility to follow children’s interests and multiple modalities of learning, while following the IEYC unit sequence and themes.
  • Arts integration provides both motivational and cognitive benefits for student learning. The thematic units of the IEYC  provide extensive opportunities for students to deepen their understanding and express their learning through multiple forms of art. In addition to arts integration with academic subjects, students receive a well-rounded curriculum of standalone arts classes through our Enlightenment subjects (Physical Education, Global Languages, Music, and Visual Arts).

For more information about the learning methodology and goals of the IEYC, please review Fieldwork Education’s presentation for families here.

English Language Arts

In our Early Childhood Program, CMI uses a whole language approach to English Language Arts, focusing on play-based and small group work in literacy and language. Teachers guide children to develop phonemic awareness, basic letter skills, decoding, reading fluency and comprehension through play, rhyming, songs, read-alouds, games, and guided reading instruction.


CMI’s Early Childhood Math Program lays the critical foundations for later mathematical thinking by enhancing a child’s positive emotional attitude to math and building strong number sense. Teachers guide students through a concrete-representational-abstract approach to math, beginning with hands-on activities in which children explore well-designed Stern Math manipulatives, and then gradually moving on to develop appropriate representational (symbolic) and abstract representations of mathematical ideas and skills. The Eureka Math curriculum is also introduced in prekindergarten in order to prepare students for the transition to the Kindergarten Common Core Math Standards.