Our Kindergarten Program utilizes The Creative Curriculum for Preschools designed for Head Start Schools in the USA. This approach to teaching and learning fosters the development of the whole child through teacher-led small and large group activities and the provision of an environment rich in possibilities and provocations.
Our curriculum provides progression but without strict scope and sequence – meaning it follows each learner as she/he demonstrates readiness. All children explore, discover and solve problems, individually and as a member of a small group.
Through exploration, constructive and creative play as well as conversations, story and song each young learner develops a positive self-concept, along with socialization and readiness skills requisite for a happy and successful school experience.
Students of 4 and 5 years learn and apply fundamental skills in reading and mathematics making for an active and stimulating classroom environment and preparing each learner for a seamless transition into our elementary program.
Our Elementary curriculum emphasizes skills in all subject areas and introduces higher level skills to challenge students and stimulate their interests. Our curriculum and approaches to teaching and learning ensure that learning is natural, enjoyable and personally rewarding. Language Arts (reading and writing), math, social studies and science form the basis of study for the classroom.
In the early years, phonics and phonemic awareness (sound/symbol relationships) are the foundation upon which reading is built. Once children grasp the concept and connection between symbols and meaning, sight words are introduced and eventually easy readers. Our guided reading program allows for continuous assessment of reading competencies and the ability to match resources to the developing skills and understandings for every student. Our writing program serves as a basis for writing development through a wide variety of writing prompts.
In math, the Everyday Math program is our base. Developed at the University of Chicago, Everyday Math teaches students to “think math” and see it in the world around them as opposed to seeing math as a series of calculations and problems. This program promotes mathematical reasoning by introducing math as a language through games and projects that can often be played at home. Although this may be very different from a more traditional approach that parents are familiar with, constant communication between home and school will keep parents apprised of how they can help their children think like a mathematician.
Science and social studies round out the core curriculum by introducing students to content important to their understanding of the natural and human world. The science curriculum spirals content by introducing students to an idea once in a lower grade before drawing on it again for mastery in a higher grade. The social studies program has a modified American focus as we draw on our multi-cultural make up to progressively expand our students’ view of the world (from the family to concepts of democracy and politics).
In addition to the core subjects, students also receive instruction in physical education and health, music, art, Arabic Studies, library science and computer education. Our curriculum is essentially traditional, but a school-wide focus on differentiated instructional allows each student to be challenged according to their own ability and readiness within the limits of the program and curricular standards in each area.
In September 2011, GWA has begun to implement inquiry based units of learning. We have done this due to the fact that we have applied for candidate status as a Primary Years Program school. PYP is the elementary division of the International Baccalaureate Organization. The real strengths of this program are the six transdisciplinary themes and the Program of Inquiry. These themes feature issues that have meaning for, and are important to, all of us.
The program offers a balance between learning about or through the subject areas, and learning beyond them The six transdisciplinary themes help teachers to develop a program of inquiry (in-depth investigations into important ideas that require a high level of involvement on the part of the students). These inquiries are substantial, in-depth and usually last for several weeks. Once we have received approval, we fully expect to invest fully in the PYP.