I appreciate that they don’t focus the curriculum on teaching to the test, that they realize that kids being excited to learn, being exposed to many ways of learning, and being introduced to the arts and world culture and language is as important as excelling in math and English.
Creative Minds is the only public charter school in the United States accredited to implement the holistic, research-based framework of the International Early Years (IEYC), Primary (IPC), and Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) developed by Fieldwork Education for children aged 3 to 14. To fulfill Creative Minds mission of preparing students for success in a global society, we have implemented this unique international, projects- and arts-based curriculum, which helps children develop a sense of their own nationality and culture while also developing respect for the nationalities and cultures of others. Thematic units combine several academic subjects in an engaging manner that makes learning relevant to real life. Creative, interdisciplinary projects also promote deep engagement and provide opportunities for students to integrate their own interests and experiences. Hands-on tasks spark curiosity, encourage teamwork, and help students to make connections between academic subjects and real-world issues. The thoughtful learning cycle also taps into children’s strengths, supports areas of growth, and provides a framework for teachers to differentiate and individualize instruction. In addition to rigorous academic goals, the curriculum also helps students to achieve their personal and international learning goals.
At Creative Minds, the International Curriculum is further strengthened by Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s developmental approach to education. This model, as described in The Learning Tree, provides the evidence-based, social-emotional foundation for celebrating the diverse learning styles and cultural worldviews that each student brings to the classroom. Understanding and supporting each child’s unique social and cognitive development is crucial for teachers and parents, as together we prepare our students for future academic and personal success in a global economy.
In addition to the arts-integration framework that is built into the Fieldwork International Curriculum, Creative Minds promotes a well-rounded autonomous arts program that includes music, movement, visual arts and drama during the school day and in our extended day programs. All students in preschool through third grade benefit from taking both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language classes, with exciting opportunities to explore the cultural nuances of each language through song, festivals, arts and food. Students in fourth through eighth grades select either Spanish or Mandarin as their primary global language focus for more in-depth language study.
IEYC, IPC, and IMYC Goals
The IEYC, IPC, and IMYC frameworks focus on three different types of learning: knowledge, skills, and understanding.
Facts that are important to know.
This is information that we know is true and the way we answer a knowledge question will be either right or wrong.
|Finding out how to do things. Skills are practical and can be described as “being able to do something.” Skills take time to develop. We learn skills in small, progressive steps.||Developing a sense of the meaning behind why we know and do things. Understanding involves a combination of accumulated knowledge, practiced skills, and reflection over time.|
|“Tell Me”||“Show Me”||“Talk to me about that.”|
Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding are interconnected, building on each other in a continuous cycle that promotes meaningful learning for students.
Subject Goals cover knowledge, skills and understanding. There are Subject Learning Goals for the following: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Information Technology, Design Technology, History, Geography, Music, Physical Education, Art and Society.
Some examples of Subject Goals include:
Language Arts Learning Goals (Milepost 1)
- Know the basic structure elements of word structure
- Be able to recognize and use nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs
History Learning Goals (Milepost 2)
- Know about the main events, dates and characteristics of the past societies they have studied
- Be able to gather information from simple sources
- Understand that the past can be considered in terms of different time periods
Music Learning Goals (Milepost 3)
- Know how a number of musicians – including some from their home country and the host country – combine musical elements within a structure
- Be able to compose musical pieces combining musical elements within a structure
- Understand that musicians use music to express emotions and experiences
Science Learning Goals (IMYC)
- Know about the structure of a cell, tissue, organ, and organ system and their function
- Be able to conduct scientific investigations with increasing rigor
- Develop an understanding of the need for developing new ways of generating energy
This pedagogical framework prepares students for success in a global society by developing their sense of international mindedness. Our child-friendly definition of international mindedness at CMI encapsulates our international goals: “I am becoming a thoughtful global citizen through learning deeply about myself and others.”
The IEYC, IPC, and IMYC are also unique in defining learning goals that help young children begin the move towards an increasingly sophisticated national and international perspective. The philosophy of “independence and interdependence” runs throughout the programs and the international perspective is based upon:
- A knowledge and understanding of one’s own national culture;
- An awareness and understanding of the independence of and the interdependence between people;
- An awareness and understanding of the independence of and interdependence between countries;
- An awareness and understanding of the essential similarities between the people and countries of the world;
- A developing ability to be at ease with others who are different from ourselves.