In kindergarten through fourth grade, the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) provides a rigorous, thematic teaching structure designed to engage children of all abilities to be creative thinkers and problem-solvers in a globalized world. Instructional units bring together core academic subjects, science, social studies and the arts, enabling children to make links across subjects in exciting and stimulating ways. The curriculum is designed so that students:
- Acquire the essential knowledge, skills, and understanding of a broad range of subjects;
- Engage with their learning through positive experiences so they remain committed to learning throughout their lives;
- Develop the personal qualities they need to be good, contributing citizens;
- Develop a sense of their own nationality and culture at the same time as developing respect for the nationalities and cultures of others.
CMI’s elementary program also incorporates:
- Literacy and math goals based on the National Common Core Standards adopted by DC Public Schools.
- Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop helps develop a lifelong love of reading and writing, with enhanced opportunities for students to exercise their reading choice and to express their unique writer’s voice. In small groups, Workshop introduces students to a new skill or strategy, and then provides supported opportunities to practice the skill at their level individually and in small groups. The Workshop model provides frequent opportunities for students to articulate their thinking, which reinforces the personal goals of communication and thoughtfulness. CMI’s English Language Arts curriculum is also aligned with National Common Core learning goals, to support students to make progress toward individual academic goals and to meet or exceed U.S. national standards.
- Discourse-driven math instruction focuses on hands-on exploration, problem solving and conceptual understanding, beyond carrying out math procedures. Exploring multiple pathways to solve problems builds adaptability and resilience. Students debrief questions and complete exit tickets that help both students and teachers monitor understanding and provide next steps. The Eureka Math curriculum provides the basis for instruction, to ensure that math learning goals are aligned with National Common Core Standards.
- Extensive use of small-group work and the station model provide enhanced opportunities for differentiation. Collaborative team work supports students in practicing respect, communication, and cooperation.
- Inquiry-based learning includes thematic, project-based learning with a focus on research. As students pursue their lines of inquiry, they engage in thoughtful learning processes with teachers as facilitators. This approach helps students learn how to frame questions and plan approaches to solving problems. In navigating the uncertainty of less-structured questions, students practice adaptability and resilience.
- Arts integration provides both motivational and cognitive benefits to student learning. The thematic units of the IPC provide extensive opportunities for students to deepen their understanding and express their learning through multiple forms of art. In addition to arts integration within core academic subjects, students also receive a well-rounded arts curriculum in Music and Visual Arts.
- Rigorous global language classes in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese also introduce students to Spanish and Chinese languages and cultures through the arts, song, dance, festivals, and more.
Curriculum activities are based on research into:
- Recent findings from the field of Mind, Brain and Education
- Best practices for differentiating instruction based on each student’s individual learning profile
- The importance of opportunities for both individual and group work
- Using an exciting entry point to all units that motivates students to learn
- Tapping into each child’s prior knowledge
- Open-ended questions that invite curiosity
- Assessment activities that require children to represent their own learning in different ways
- Parent involvement that supports children’s learning at home
IPC 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