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Curriculum Principles at Jackman ICS

In keeping with our philosophy, the Laboratory 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 Laboratory School 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 Jackman 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 Jackman 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 the laboratory school.
  • 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.

Language Arts
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.

Mathematics
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.

Physical Education
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.

Social Studies
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.

French
At Jackman ICS, 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.

Special Education
In the Jackman ICS Resource Room, our Special Education teacher works with individual students to address needs in reading and writing. In the early years, we support students with letter formation, spacing between words, writing for an audience, and choosing rich descriptive language. In the junior grades, students learn about grammar, sentence structure, paragraph writing, and proper punctuation. In working with the classroom teachers, students who come to the Resource Room receive meaningful, purposeful, and contextualized lessons that are aimed at students' individual literacy levels.

Assessment
In an inquiry-based classroom, the teacher assesses student progress on a continuous basis throughout the school year, collecting and using a wide range of information to provide an informed and comprehensive picture of the student’s learning. Enabling students to express their understanding in differentiated ways is crucial for many reasons, but especially for the following:

  • The teachers’ ability to differentiate instruction and assessment as a means of helping students understand how they can improve is closely related to the feelings that students have about themselves as learners specifically, and about learning in general (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010a).
  • “Using multiple sources of evidence increases the reliability and validity of the evaluation of student learning” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010a)

Some examples of varied and authentic assessment sources include, but are not limited to: student questions, inquiry lab books; portfolios; visual art; and anecdotal observations.