Curriculum Principles at ICS
In keeping with our philosophy, the school takes a developmental approach in defining Program Goals and Expectations and has articulated the following central principles:
- The curriculum is challenging and coherent
The Institute of Child Study teaches a challenging and coherent curriculum within each grade level and across grade levels and subject areas. The goal of the curriculum is deep understanding and engagement in learning. The school uses the Ontario Curriculum of the Ministry of Education and Training as a basis for overall expectations. Enrichment permeates the ICS curriculum and is available to all.
- The curriculum is creative and responsive
The teachers use knowledge of child development, the sequence of acquisition of skills, and the inquiry and security philosophy of the school as guiding principles in developing the curriculum. The school principal leads and facilitates this process. The school places value on the initiatives which teachers take to respond to the individuals in the group and to reflect their interests and questions in the daily work of the class. Teachers communicate across divisions and subject areas about the curriculum as it is taught to each class.
- The curriculum supports the whole child
Every teacher at ICS accepts responsibility for balancing social, psychological and emotional growth with academic learning. We believe that the curriculum needs to be cognitively challenging, authentic, and social. The curriculum respects the family, cultural, and racial diversity which is valued at ICS.
- The curriculum is integrated and holistic
Children are encouraged to use multiple ways of knowing and expressing their knowledge. Subject matter is frequently taught in ways which blend the disciplines and allow the meaningful application of skills gained in one domain to the exploration of another domain. Timetables allow for specific subject teaching as well as integrated approaches to the curriculum. Music,visual arts, drama and physical education are taught by specialty teachers and integrated with the work of the classroom. There are resources for both special education and French language instruction.
- The curriculum is developmental
Every subject area is taught in a developmentally appropriate way respecting the salient characteristics of both the age group and the individuals in the class.
In Language Arts, our students develop knowledge and skills in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students access, comprehend, interpret, analyze, evaluate, and respond to language through reading; communicate effectively as speakers and writers; and listen in an informing,empathetic, and critical manner.
In Mathematics, our students value mathematics and its usefulness is everyday life; display confidence and elegance in their ability to function effectively in situations involving mathematics; think, reason, and communicate mathematical ideas; demonstrate strength in problem-solving and computation; use technological tools appropriately and effectively; and transfer knowledge beyond the mathematics classroom to enable lifelong learning.
Science & Technology
In Science and Technology, our studentsdevelop knowledge and skills in the areas of life science, physical science, and earth science. Students work to understand and appreciate the workings of their natural and physical environment; demonstrate substantial knowledge of facts, concepts, conceptual networks, and process skills that enable them to continue to learn and think logically; and understand how science, technology, and society are interrelated and use this knowledge in everyday decision-making. Our students are young scientists constructing deep understanding.
In Social Sciences, our students develop knowledge and skills which include anthropology, economics, geography, history, philosophy, political science. Students work to understand themselves and society; be prepared for active citizenship; understand how the past influences the present; develop an appreciation for the complexity of the community and the world; live competently and productively in a complex world.
At the Instititute of Child Study, the French program offers the Accelerated Integrated Method (AIM), also called the Gesture Approach. This method has proven that it is easier to internalize new vocabulary when gestures are associated with words. AIM teaches words of high frequency, allowing children to accumulate a wide vocabulary base in the early stages of language acquisition.
- The Primary French Program (JK - Grade 1) intersperses gesture instruction with other vocabulary acquisition tools in order to bring variety and fun to the classroom. The goal of the Primary French Program is to create an environment that promotes the love of French.
- The Junior French Program (Grade 2 - Grade 6) continues the use of the AIM method as well as teaches students how to describe, ask questions, retell, extend, and create stories. Student learn vocabulary and grammar, in both oral and written form, and also use expressions, verbs, and adjectives.
The goal of the Health and Physical Education curriculum at ICS is to enable students to develop their movement skills, health-related fitness, and understanding of what it means to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Through child-centred instruction, the program aims to instill confidence in students to participate actively and think critically about movement and health. Students will have the opportunity to exhibit leadership and decision-making through the creation and exploration of games, dances, and routines.
Academic Achievement Expected
Students at the Institute of Child Study graduate at the end of Grade 6 prepared for Grade 7 in either public or independent schools in the province of Ontario. Throughout their years at ICS, students are offered a program in which enrichment in every subject is encouraged and available.
Annual Student Evaluations
Students at the Institute of Child Study are evaluated continuously throughout the year through various formal and informal assessments. These are used to shape student goals. Reporting to parents is done in regular detailed interviews and summarized in a written report card. In addition, the school participates for research purposes in the Canadian Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) from Grade 1 to Grade 6. This is a series of standardized, normed tests in mathematics and language which compares both individuals' and the school's overall performance with other students and schools. The Institute of Child Study regularly scores above the 96th percentile on average in each test taken.