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Early Childhood Program

We are proud to offer a play-based early childhood program for students ages 2-4.  

Current research shows that children learn best through play. This play-based learning is supported by the Primary Years Program (PYP) curriculum framework and the four units of inquiry at each grade level. In units of inquiry the children will explore, discover, and investigate the materials in their environment and make connections with the world around them. 



In the PYP, it is acknowledged that experiences during the early years lay the foundations for all future learning. Research indicates that the rapid rate of development that occurs in the physical, social, emotional, intellectual and aesthetic domains is particularly significant. It is our responsibility as educators to recognize and maximize this critical stage of learning.

Although development usually occurs in recognizable and predictable directions, it is unique in each child, occurring at varying rates from child to child, and inconsistently for each child. For many children, these early years also mark the first transition from home to group experiences outside of the family and to new physical environments. The school must strive to make this adjustment as successful as possible by encouraging the development of secure and trusting relationships with new adults and peers.

Teachers of students in the early years are encouraged to support students’ interests build up their self-esteem and confidence, and respond to spontaneous events, as well as support the development of skills in all cognitive areas in relevant ways. Children are full of curiosity, and the PYP provides a framework that gives crucial support for them to be active inquirers and lifelong learners.

Social / Emotional

In Early Childhood, all children develop at their own pace. Supporting children’s social/emotional growth is highly valued in ICS’s EC program. By the end of EC4, we would like children to be able to:

  • involve an adult in an activity and sustain the involvement.
  • show loyalty to another child.
  • negotiate the resolution of a conflict with another child.
  • identify an emotion and give a reason for it.
Initiative / Self Regulation


  • Make a plan with three or more details.
  • Join with other children in playing a game with rules.
  • Try three or more ways to solve a problem with materials.
  • Help another child in a self-care activity or program routine.


  • Follow rules and routines of the classroom.
  • Express feelings, needs, opinions and wants that are appropriate to the situation.
  • Choose appropriate responses (re-direction, verbalizing emotions) when faced with frustration.
Language Arts

By the end of EC4, most students will be able to:

  • Identify many of the letters of the alphabet.
  • Make connections between the letters and their sounds.
  • Share information about a particular topic.
  • Use squiggles, sticks, wavy lines, and scribbles to communicate.
  • Write the letters of their name.
  • Respond orally to questions and/or directions.
  • Discover new words.
  • Engage in conversations with adults and peers on a variety of topics, experiences, and activities.
  • Enjoy listening to and retelling several types of readings.
  • Recognize rhyme and alliteration.

By the end of EC4, most students will be able to:

  • Count from 1 to 20.
  • Draw pictures or other symbols to represent numbers up to 10.
  • Develop addition and subtraction readiness using manipulatives. For example, “1 cube plus 2 cubes equals how many cubes?”
  • Understand and use math-related vocabulary, such as first, last, more, less, most, and same.
  • Sort and match objects of similar and different sizes of 2-D and 3-D shapes.
  • Explore shapes.
  • Develop vocabulary related to math activities, such as bigger, longer, and taller, when talking about size, length, and height.
  • Recognize specific times, such as day and night.
  • Use physical objects to make charts.
  • Describe the attributes of objects. For example, how many sides does a triangle have?
  • Demonstrate knowledge of patterns.


Specialist Classes

Students in EC3 and EC4 attend specialist classes with specialty teachers.

Ethiopian Studies

The EC students familiarize themselves with the Ethiopian culture and learn appropriate language which connects with the units of inquiry through play-based activities.


French class for EC students is a playful first approach to French language and culture. The students discover the language mainly through songs, games and fun activities. The EC French curriculum integrates with the EC program of inquiry.


EC students learn to enjoy books and develop a love of reading in a new setting. Students visit the library and are allowed to borrow a book a week.


At the EC level, music is all about connecting what we know with the music and songs we sing; we know about colors and sing songs about colors; we know about animals and we can sing songs or perform movements like animals. By the end of the year, an EC child will be able to sing some songs from memory, keep a steady beat and move in time to the music.

Physical Education (PE)

Students work on:

  • loco motor development (hopping, skipping, galloping, leaping, jumping and landing, etc.)
  • non-loco  motor  development  (balance, tumbling, twisting, and bending, etc.)
  • manipulative skill development (throwing, catching, dribbling, kicking, striking, etc.)
  • movement (in space, personal space, speed, direction)

Nutrition, working with others, rules, safety, self-expression, and health are also included in the PE program for early childhood.