We use two sets of standards to guide the design of our Chinese language arts curriculum: CCSS (Common Core State Standards), which is the native language model, and ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), the second language model. At YHIS, we see the acquisition of Chinese language as a powerful, organic hybrid of the two models, which has effectively helped our students to become competent readers and writers of the language.
Starting in first grade, English is introduced and incorporated into the curriculum gradually until the proportions of English and Chinese are even by fifth grade.
English lessons at YHIS focus on phonics, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, reading and writing. Other aspects of Language Arts, such as story analysis, can be taught in any language and transferred. Our students are exposed to literature, poetry, folk tales, mythology, and non-fiction, in both Chinese and English, which reinforces the components and cultural richness of both languages.
At our school, English and Chinese homeroom teachers work closely with each other to coordinate their lessons precisely so students acquire the full sets of skills in both languages within the meaningful context of the units of inquiry. We pride ourselves in offering an academically advanced English curriculum that gives students the opportunity to read with purpose and understanding, and write creatively and confidently.
At YHIS, Mathematics is considered a global language and vehicle through which we make sense of the world around us. Students begin to use it as a way of thinking rather than seeing it as a series of facts and equations to be memorized. It is fundamental to the philosophy of YHIS that students acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning through ever-increasing levels of abstraction.
Connections with Units of Inquiry:
Wherever possible, Mathematics is taught through the relevant, realistic context of the units of inquiry. The direct teaching of mathematics in a unit of inquiry may not always be feasible but, where appropriate, prior learning or follow-up activities are used to help students make connections between the different aspects of the curriculum. A developing understanding of these connections contributes to the students’ understanding of mathematics in the world and to their understanding of the transdisciplinary theme.
YHIS uses as the main math textbook a widely-used version of Chinese national math curriculum (edited by Zhang Tianxiao 张天孝). It is a comprehensive mathematics curriculum with goals to challenge students with meaningful and increasingly sophisticated mathematical problems with an emphasis on depth in mathematical thinking rather than exposure to a series of fragmented topics.
Units of Inquiry (UOI) classes at YHIS seamlessly integrate many subject areas, including language arts, science, social studies, arts, STEAM, and physical education. UOI classes are the cornerstone of our dynamic and holistic education approach. Rooted in the IB philosophy, these classes offer a transformative learning experience. Our curriculum is structured around in-depth, transdisciplinary themes that encourage students to explore the world around them through the lenses of multiple disciplines. These inquiry-based units spark curiosity and critical thinking, inviting students to ask questions, seek answers, and become active, lifelong learners. Each unit is a journey of discovery, fostering an appreciation for diverse perspectives and global interconnectedness. Through Units of Inquiry, our students develop not only academic excellence but also the skills, attitudes, and values essential for thriving in our ever-evolving world.
Our visual arts curriculum is designed to ignite curiosity, spark imagination, and empower students to communicate their ideas visually. Through a range of artistic mediums and techniques, our young artists embark on a journey of self-discovery, cultural appreciation, and critical thinking. They learn to express their perspectives, emotions, and aspirations, while also embracing the power of art as a universal language that connects people and cultures.
YHIS teaches all students sport and gymnastics-based physical education geared to each grade level. They learn and engage in Sports such as Basketball, Soccer, and Badminton, as well as perform Gymnastics on the balance beam, bars, and floor.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) plays a significant role in the holistic development of learners at YHIS. Social-emotional programming equips students with emotional resilience, effective communication, self-awareness, and ethical decision-making skills necessary for academic success and personal growth. SEL promotes mindfulness and stress management, nurtures positive relationships, and enhances emotional intelligence in a multicultural context. In doing so, it contributes to the well-being and mental health of students, ensuring they become empathetic, ethical, and globally competent individuals, ready to make a positive impact on the world.
The MYP is a conceptually driven framework that encourages students to connect concepts or ‘big ideas’ across subject groups with the world outside. All units use one key concept and a variety of related concepts to support conceptual teaching and learning.
According to the International Baccalaureate Organization, key concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. PYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically. The PYP prescribes eight key concepts and numerous related concepts to be taught throughout the program.
Concept-based learning is highly beneficial for primary-aged students, as it fosters deep engagement and understanding, encourages transferable knowledge, and promotes lifelong learning. It cultivates critical thinking, transdisciplinary learning, and problem-solving skills while reducing the need for rote memorization. Students gain a flexible and enduring knowledge base that prepares them for the real world, emphasizing a global perspective and transcending curricular boundaries.
All MYP units have a ‘statement of inquiry’. This is a meaningful statement that expresses the big idea of the unit, guides student inquiry, and prompts connections outside of the unit. It is constructed by combining the key and related concepts with the global context.
Statements of inquiry set conceptual understanding in a global context in order to frame classroom inquiry and direct purposeful learning.
The IB has identified a set of ten attributes for the learner profile in order to nurture active, compassionate, and lifelong learners. These IB learner profile attributes are at the heart of all four IB programs and represent the IB’s mission in action.
The International Baccalaureate learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them. Students in our Primary Years Program work to develop the following learner profile attributes in and through their curricular program:
At YHIS, we prioritize developing essential 'Approaches to Learning' (ATLs) skills for our students. These skills encompass thinking, self-management, social, research, and communication abilities, all designed to empower students in learning how to learn. These ATLs are integral to our educational approach
A unifying thread throughout all PYP subject groups, approaches to learning (ATL) provide the foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self management skills helps students learn how to learn.