Immersion Elementary Curriculum Overview
Our curriculum and immersion design produces results.
- We implement best in-class curriculum in the major content areas – Language Arts / Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies / History.
- We teach all subject matter in the target language and in English, and execute a design that ensures mastery and depth of understanding.
- We use discussion-based, interdisciplinary, project-based learning (DBIPBL) units of study so that students are challenged to think broadly and deeply about essential questions and enduring understandings, and apply their skills to various tasks.
Learning Science in Mandarin
Peek Inside an Elementary Spanish Class
We live our values, and develop character organically.
We consider this a core strength of our program.
Students are taught how to analyze social situations, communicate respectfully, and choose appropriate actions.
We use Singapore Math as a curriculum for our elementary programs. The philosophy behind Singapore Math is to provide students with a thorough understanding of math concepts, developed through a sequence using concrete manipulatives, followed by pictorial representation, and then abstract representation. Students are challenged to understand the “why” & “how” of numbers manipulation, rather than memorize facts & sequences of steps in problem solving. Frequent group work allows students to understand the importance of discourse, collaboration, and diverse methods of solving a problem.
We are able to differentiate and advance a student when a concept is mastered. HWIS' math curriculum is delivered in a cyclical modality.
Early elementary students develop a sound understanding of one-to-one correspondence, sorting by attributes & patterns, money, dates, telling time, measurement, and addition & subtraction. Students continue to learn topics introduced in Kindergarten and deepen their understanding with emphasis on graphing, two digit addition & subtraction, learning about temperature, manipulating addition & subtraction facts, and adding & subtracting 3-digit numbers. Multiplication & division are introduced as soon as the student shows capacity.
Upper elementary students acquire a deep understanding of place value, decimals and probability, negative numbers, mixed numbers, and 1- & 2-digit division. Students go on to learn how to multiply & divide fractions and decimals. They also practice ratios & percentages, fractions & multiples, understanding fraction operations, two-dimensional geometry, the Pythagorean theorem, linear & inverse variations, symbol sense, and, importantly, problem-solving and communications.
HWIS' STEM curricula are delivered in discussion project based learning (DPBL) units of study.
Using training provided by ASSET, we bring together the best curricula and materials for hands-on science exploration, in both English and the target language. The core content objectives & skill development are emphasized over mere memorization of facts.
Examples of topics in the early elementary grades include complete animals studies with an emphasis on compare/contrast concepts. Students study plants & trees, the insect world, and undertake a complete a beach study including pebbles, sand & silt. They go on then to learn about the water cycle, pollution, preservation, and air & weather. Physical science topics include solids & liquids, and balance & motion concepts. Space science includes learning about the earth, sun, moon & stars.
Upper elementary grades students learn Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science using inquiry, hands-on learning, and the scientific method. Topics include the body systems (nervous, circulatory, respiratory, reproductive, digestive & immune), cellular functions, genetics, magnetism, energy, levers & pulleys, states of matter, and chemical reactions.
Social Studies / Culture
Social Studies/History provides the context for the current world cultural awareness imperative to preparation for global navigation & citizenship. Our teachers provide authentic knowledge and cultural understanding to help students broaden their understanding of our world. Students learn about pluralism, cross-cultural, socio-cultural, socio-economical & socio-political interdependence, across the target language nations, and the world.
Early & upper elementary students study topics including school, family, community, geography, human wants & needs, citizenship, folklore, the economy, business, world cultures, U.S. government, elections, and the regions of the United States, as well as the Paleolithic & Neolithic Ages, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece & Rome, Ancient India & China, Africa/Nubia, Mesopotamia, Medieval Europe, the Age of Exploration, Colonial America, the Renaissance, Early American Civilizations (Mayas, Incas, Aztecs), the American Revolution, the American Civil War & Reconstruction era, the Constitution, Westward Expansion, and Service Learning. Most importantly, students will discuss and analyze the relationship of history to current global events.
Language Arts Literacy (LAL) objectives are similar regardless of the language of study. Our curriculum is based on essential questions and enduring understandings. For reference and support, we use Houghton Mifflin’s Journeys in English, Senderos in Spanish, and Better Immersion for Mandarin Language Arts. The faculty is trained in and delivers LAL implementing Lucy Calkin's Readers & Writers Workshop.
Early elementary students develop a love of learning & reading. The faculty facilitates reading habits, exposing students to storytelling and diverse kinds of literature. They learn to make connections, sequence a story, and understand print & what it represents. As students are all at different stages of learning letter-sounds & reading, teachers will select “just right” books for independent reading, understanding character development, and completing author studies. Students are introduced to the Writer’s Workshop, monitoring comprehension, sequencing & summarizing stories, interpreting & learning to see things from the perspective of the author. They are exposed to different kinds of reading material such as memoirs, informational texts, mystery, and poetry, learning to both read, and write, in a variety of genres.
Upper elementary students have increased exposure to literary genres and written forms—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, persuasive essays, narrative stories, responses to literacy plays, print & non-print text. They learn how to conduct inquiry & produce research reports, develop public speaking & listening skills, and further their learning in grammar usage & mechanics. HWIS inspires students to become avid readers & prolific writers. Students join book clubs and contribute to HWIS student news reports.
Our music program provides a foundation in general music theory and choral, while also providing instruction in classical guitar for upper elementary students. Students develop musicianship, aural skills, and sight-reading, as well as an appreciation of the music of many cultures, periods & genres.
Our artists-in-residence guide students through explorations of different materials & media to express creativity, while incorporating concepts of scale, composition, balance, and space. Students develop fine motor skills with 2D & 3D projects. All projects will incorporate students' understanding of, and exposure to, different world cultures.
In a recent project, students undertook an animal study inspired by a trip to the Central Park Zoo.
The elementary PE program teaches team & individual sports through a building-blocks approach, in which students practice sport-specific movements & drills which develop competency and instill confidence. Program priorities include building confidence & self-esteem, promoting team building & group solving skills, fostering characteristics of good sportsmanship & teamsmanship, and explaining how rules & proper technique contribute to a fun, safe environment.