Changing Perspectives

Future Leaders

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About the Early Years

Who We Are: Shared Understandings in Early Years

Be, Connect, Grow, Transform: Myself, My community, My world

Being: Our Image of the Child

We value each individual child as unique, strong, capable, creative, and full of wonder. 

As researchers and bearers of rights, children are socially connected and actively participate in their learning process. We believe that as active participants, children have the right to express themselves and make meaning of their world in many ways and at their own pace. 

Children research their world while educators research learning.

We view educators not as transmitters of knowledge, but rather curators of learning experiences. Educators and children are both researchers in the learning process. 

Our learning spaces are inviting, promote curiosity, and are purposefully planned in response to children's voices. They reflect our beliefs about the capable child.

Connecting: The Learning Process

We believe play, being social and symbolic, is the driving force for learning. Through play, children build relationships with others, the environment, materials, and experiences. During play children make meaning, express themselves, interact with others and experience the world. Play is the social process of learning and meaning is constructed during interactions with others. 

Together with caring and collaborative early years educators, children at ICS participate in meaningful investigations and inquiries, anchored by the Primary Years Program (PYP) framework and the ICS learning process that is concept-based and inquiry-driven, with the child at the center of the learning process.

Growing: Symbolic Exploration and Expression

We believe symbolic play and expression are the starting point for a strong learning community - where relationships are the center, where bodies are active and engaged, and where language evolves through reflection and interaction. 

These areas of expression help to build a strong cognitive, social, and communicative foundation for future learning in the elementary years and beyond.

Transforming: Our Local and Global Community

We believe ‘the child is actively involved in re-shaping the community’ (Gardner 2012), and therefore, their world. 

Our learning community is full of hope and is re-shaped by the unique children within. 





Early Years Overview

The early years program at ICS Addis is a part of the elementary school, and includes children ages 2-6.

The early years pedagogy is inspired by The Educational Project in Reggio Emilia and is anchored by our PYP concept-based units of inquiry, reflecting international best practices. The approach is designed to respect curious, growing children where playful inquiry sets the foundation for important skills in thinking, self-management, social-emotional growth, communication, physical coordination, and cognitive/academic creativity. Children explore symbolic representation, including early literacy and numeracy, through play and careful educator facilitation.

Our early years 2 classes maintain a 4:1 student to teacher ratio, while early years 3 and 4 have 8:1 ratios. In early year 5, we maintain a 9:1 ratio. The early years programs are supported by our early years coordinator, an early years specialist for music, art and movement and the lower elementary school counselor.

Our specialist is integrated into our learning community throughout the day and compliments our holistic approach to learning. This enhances our already dynamic learning environment by bringing in artistic and musical experiences through movement, nurturing the important brain/sensory/body connection.

Early Years Campus

In the 2019-20 school year, our early years 2-4 classes are located on our two spacious Little Eagles Nest campuses, adjacent to the main ICS campus. Early years 2 and 3 are half day programs, five days per week. The early years 4 program has both half day and full day options. Early years 5 (the equivalent to kindergarten) is a full day program, located on the main ICS campus.

Program Requirements

Students entering early years 3 and up are required to be toilet-trained. Students in early years 2 are not required to be toilet-trained.

     Grade Level     



     Early Years 2 (EY2)     


     8:00 AM-12:00 PM      

     Early Years 3 (EY3)     


     8:00 AM-12:00 PM**     
     Early Years 4 (EY4): Half Day           4           8:00 AM-12:00 PM     
     Early Years 4 (EY4): Full Day           4           8:00 AM-3:00 PM / 2:00 PM on Wednesdays     
Early Years 5 (EY5) 5 8:00 AM-3:20 PM / 2:00 PM on Wednesdays

*Students must be this age on or before 31 August of that school year.

**Little Eagles Camp: early years 3 students may enroll in an optional extended day program, available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

In the 2020-21 school year, EY3 and EY4 students may attend half or full day. Half day is 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM; full day is 8:00 AM - 3:20 PM / 2:00 PM on Wednesdays. There will be no Little Eagles Camp, as the full day option will replace this for EY3.


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