Outdoor classroom challenge

Working the runway

Science Rocks!

Friendships that last

Academic Program


The ICS Addis elementary school is authorized as an IB Primary Years Program (PYP) school, integrating subject areas to support inquiry and learning in meaningful contexts. The transdisciplinary nature of the curriculum enables students to experience how subject knowledge and understanding work together in the real world towards sustainable action. 

We know that students learn best when their learning is, significant relevant, engaging and challenging. We provide a rigorous and differentiated learning experience based on the very best instructional practices; all designed to tap into each individual student’s passion and creativity. 

As part of the ICS Addis personalized learning journey, we work in Learning Hubs where teams of teachers work together to support students’ individual needs and choices in their learning experiences. At the same time, this format also allows and a higher level of flexibility and collaboration among students. High academic expectations at ICS Addis are based on the Common Core standards, yet academic instruction is balanced by time in art, music and physical education. 

The PYP units of inquiry are organized into six themes: Who We Are, Where We Are in Place and Time, How We Express Ourselves, How the World Works, How We Organize Ourselves and Sharing the Planet. Each of the units of inquiry provides opportunities for students to develop the essential elements of the PYP: Knowledge, Skills, Concepts, Attitudes, and Action. 

One of these units each year is designated a personalized learning experience (PLEx) unit where students are given extended time and personal agency to focus on something they feel passionate about or want to learn more about within the conceptual focus of the unit. We have found this provides an essential opportunity for students to develop a plethora of 21st-century skills, such as self-organization, time-management working with peers and independence in learning. All our units end in some kind of showcase of learning.

Core Subjects

Reading and Writing

Literacy skills are taught through a balanced literacy approach, using the curricular tool from the Reading and Writing Project, from Teachers College, which focuses on explicit instruction in reading and writing strategies as well as regular individual attention. As much as possible these reading and writing experiences are blended into the units of inquiry to develop the benefits for transdisciplinary understanding.


Mathematics skills are taught through the Eureka Math program with learning outcomes based on the Common Core Standards. Eureka Math connects math to the real world in ways that take the fear out of math and build students’ confidence, helping them to achieve true understanding, lesson by lesson, year after year.


Aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, the science skills are embedded within the PYP units of inquiry, using a hands-on inquiry-based approach to science, with a focus on science and engineering practices.


The social studies and humanities are taught through the IB PYP units of inquiry which are reviewed regularly to ensure vertical alignment. The program places an emphasis on students developing an understanding for themselves and others in the context of an ever-changing global society and within their own unique contexts.



Students in kindergarten are introduced to color mixing and tempera paints. In grade 1 students start to explore color, shape and lines using mixed media. In grade 2, students use both color mixing and the combination of line, color and shape to create projects like “My Dream House.” In grade 3, the element of texture is introduce along with color mixing and lines, colors and shapes.

Students in grades 4 and 5 spend the early part of the year reviewing the elements and principles of art and design in order to build visual and perceptual skills that they continue to use throughout the year in a variety of art projects. Students create line compositions, drawings from observation, and design projects focused on symmetry, balance and the use of positive and negative space. As the year progresses, students explore both art history and contemporary art as inspiration for their own art creation. Students experiment with a wide variety of media including paint, printmaking, textile design and clay sculpture. Creative and critical thinking are valued and developed through ongoing discussion of art and aesthetics.


At ICS, elementary music students are given opportunities to explore what it means to be musical. Students are encouraged to actively participate in singing, playing instruments, composition, improvisation, and listening while developing literacy in music. Encouraging students to experiment with sound while exploring the musical components of rhythm, melody, form, tempo, dynamics, timbre, and texture are an essential aspect of the program.

Students have opportunities to explore music in a variety of settings, including whole classroom, as a soloist and in small groups. Problem-solving and investigative learning are actively encouraged. A variety of repertoire is learned and performed, with an emphasis on exploring multiple genres of music from across the globe. Students have quite a few opportunities to perform throughout the year in assemblies and concerts, thus having the opportunity to learn performance as well as audience skills.

In kindergarten, students develop rhythm and pitch awareness through musical games and movement. In grade 1, students continue to develop rhythm and pitch awareness through musical games and movement. In grade 2, students start to identify and perform more complex melodic and rhythmic patterns. In grade 3, students continue to explore the concepts of form, mood, expression and style while performing and creating a more complex repertoire of music. In grade 4, ensemble skills are further developed as students learn how to play recorder. In grade 5, students continue to develop a variety of skills during general music class.

World Language

At ICS Addis, our main objective is to cater for internationally-minded students who are able to communicate effectively with people from numerous countries and cultures.

As an IB-PYP school, the Elementary School at ICS Addis offers French as a World Language through an inquiry-based approach. The main purpose is to introduce a new language study during the primary years, enriches our students mind and open new horizons for French cultural journey into the world.

In Elementary French, we help each child develop the 5Cs of the ACTFL (American Council for Teaching Foreign Languages) Standards from KG to Grade 12. We put a strong emphasis on Communication and Cultures and assess students' growth and performance against the Can-Do Statements of the ACTFL standards. The Elementary School has two French teachers and two teaching assistants assigned to Lower ES (KG to Grade 2) and Upper ES (Grades 3 to 5).

Physical Education

Physical Education in the elementary grades aims at the development of the whole child that includes the psychomotor, cognitive, and affective aspects of each child.

The beginning focus of the program is the development of the children’s physical fitness that serves as the base for learning complex motor skills. The fitness unit includes what it means to be physically fit and the identification of activities for the development of the various fitness components. PE teachers determine focus elements and work a meaningful program that would address each child’s need. Currently, students are working on hand-eye coordination skills with special emphasis on ball handling and rhythms.

In the lower elementary grades, students learn the basic movement concepts such as body awareness, spatial awareness, and their relationships to objects, locomotor skills (galloping, hopping, skipping, running, and jumping) and non-locomotor skills (bending, twisting, stretching, and controlling objects). They also learn dance movements, hand-eye coordination skills, both individually and in groups.

The upper elementary grades focus on the refinement of basic movement skills and their applications in preparation for game situations. Grades 3 to 5 students have an opportunity to participate in intramural games that enhance the development of game skills and teamwork. Activities in the intramural games extend skills learned in the regular PE classes.

Following the physical fitness and hand-eye coordination skills is the learning of manipulative skills and the development of foot-eye coordination with special emphasis on floor hockey and soccer respectively.