The complete Elementary School program encompasses Grades 1 to 5. All School programs follow a curriculum designed to meet the requirements of both a national and international education.
The curriculum is divided into Core Subjects and Additional Subjects:
are allotted more hours of instruction and pupil achievement and skills in the subject are assessed.
are allotted one or two lessons weekly and are assigned a skills assessment.
The Italian Language and Cultural Programs strictly follow the Italian Elementary School Program outlined by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR).
Report cards are issued three times per year at the end of each term to all Elementary and Middle School students. All Elementary and Middle School families will receive an Interim Report at the mid point of the first term. This will provide an update across all areas for the first part of the School year. In the second and third terms, Interim Reports will be sent to students during the middle of the first, second and third quarters. These reports will be sent only to the parents of students whose work, behaviour or general effort in class is not satisfactory or are receiving failing grades in a particular course. Parent-teacher meetings throughout the year ensure that the progress of each student is well monitored. The academic program is enhanced with a wide range of extracurricular activities such as numerous sports activities within the “Monsignor F. Tomadini” Institute: indoor swimming pool, gymnasiums and basketball court, as well as art, music, drama and field trips.
The following brief subject outlines are designed to give parents and other interested parties a guide to the school’s basic approach to the various subject areas.
CORE SUBJECTS (^top)
The Language Arts program strives to build fluency and competence in both oral and written English expression, establishing a staircase of increasing complexity in phonetic awareness, grammar conventions, spelling structure, and vocabulary development. Students are encouraged to make meaningful and authentic uses of speaking skills in diverse situations, to use written language in both subjective and objective genres and to write logical arguments based on substantive claims, sound reasoning and relevant text claims. A cornerstone of the literacy program is the cross-curricular focus, whereby critical language skills are transferred to other disciplines, leading to development of personal expression and growth and to the effective use of media and modern information technology.
The Reading program aims to develop a life-long love of reading, while building critical thinking skills through main strategy focuses: decoding, predicting, making connections, asking questions, summarising, making inferences, visualising, determining cause-effect, analysing. Following a multi-disciplinary approach, students read a diverse array of cultural texts: classic and contemporary literature, historical sources, scientific articles. Methodology aims at providing students with a balanced literacy experience, including read-alouds, shared reading, guided reading groups and individual reading. Adopting a student-centered approach, whereby each learner reads at his own level, readers participate in active discussions, developing confidence, self-esteem, and critical thinking skills, while promoting co-operation, communication, and conflict resolution.
The Mathematics program is based on the premise that an information and technology-based society requires individuals who are able to think critically about complex issues, solve multi-faceted problems, adapt to new situations and effectively communicate their thinking processes. The main curricular objective, in Mathematics, is to provide students with the framework needed to meet these goals, leading to the mastery of basic skills in mathematical structures, operations, and thought processes, promoting logical reasoning, effective problem solving, and related technological skills. Students are encouraged to explore mathematical phenomenon in concrete “real life” activities, to identify relationships between these and everyday situations, and to use acquired concepts and skills to extend their thinking in other subject areas. Main areas of focus are: Number Sense; Logical Reasoning & Problem Solving; Measurement; Geometry; Statistics, Data Analysis & Probability; Algebra & Functions. Students are guided in their learning, from concrete experiences, to pictorial representation and finally to abstract concept representation, as in the world-recognised Singapore Mathematics method.
The Udine International School Italian Studies program is committed to promoting international understanding and values as well as reinforcing those of the traditional Italian culture.
The Italian Studies course follows the program outlined by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR). The child’s learning is based on the practical use of the Italian language, thus fostering positive interpersonal relations (it is through interpersonal relations that the child begins to communicate and create a channel of co-operation with others), solidarity and growth. With this in mind, we can safely conclude that even if the Italian language is studied in an international environment, it becomes an important channel of thought, not only because it translates thoughts into words, but also because it stimulates and develops the child’s mental processes and expresses emotional, rational and cultural experiences. The Italian language becomes a means through which students establish social relationships and foster communication and interaction.
It is for these reasons that one of our major objectives is the continuity of the Italian program from Elementary through Middle School, along with a fruitful co-operation with all those involved in this process.
The teaching of the Italian language and culture is therefore an integral part of the Elementary and Middle School curriculum. The Italian Department teachers in both sections create and implement a series of procedures, activities and projects aimed at creating a welcoming, stimulating and professional learning environment for our students. (for further information consult “Program of Studies & Parent-Student Handbook” in the “Information Section”).
Starting in Grade 3, particular attention is given to Italian culture, society, geography, local culture and territory, along with economic and sociological studies. The school also organizes frequent fields trips to museums, art exhibits, libraries, historical, artistic and archaeological sites.
The main focus of the Social Studies program is to develop, through exploration of local and world historical content knowledge, an awareness of the inter-connectedness between the past and the present, focusing primarily on the following areas: Chronological and Spatial Thinking; Research, Evidence & Point of View; Historical Interpretation. The curriculum also seeks to lead students to actively reflect on civic competence, citizenship education, economic choices, and civic values necessary for engaged democratic participation. The program spaces from personal and local culture in early primary years, to ancient civilizations and medieval cultures in later elementary years. Throughout, students are invited to employ skills of data collection, analysis, collaboration, problem solving, decision making and inquiry processes aimed at enhancing global perspective and gaining awareness of how decisions made in the past and in other parts of the world affect our lives today, just as our decisions affect the lives of others. Pertinent excursions and workshops are planned to enhance Social Studies learning, and to provide opportunities for enrichment of local culture.
The Science program adopts a student-centered focus that relies on inquiry as the basis for learning. Through structured units of inquiry, students are encouraged to ask questions, make hypotheses, plan routes to test their ideas, make observations, collect data, draw conclusions, interpret and analyse results and communicate findings using appropriate Science-specific vocabulary. Students are also exposed to the latest global discoveries in Science and Technology, with the ultimate goal of linking pre-existing knowledge with new and deeper knowledge about the world. Learners conduct experiments and projects with peers, collaborating towards the development of a scientific method, critical thinking and communication skills. The program includes updates on global environmental issues and strives for awareness of the importance of personal choice in caring for the planet. Content areas in Science include the following areas:
The Human Body.
ADDITIONAL SUBJECTS (^top)
The Udine International School art course is designed to give students a cultural background as well as a basis for the expression of personal creativity. The program includes the study of the basic language of art: the elements (lines, shapes, tone, colour and texture) and the principles of drawing (rhythm, balance, harmony, unity, contrast). Students explore through drawing, painting and sculpture means.
Art history is an integral part of the curriculum. Furthermore, students learn the critical analysis of famous works of art as well as of their own work. The combination of studio work, art history, and art analysis gives the student the ability to create and appreciate art.
In the early grades the major objective in class is to help children enjoy music. This is achieved by listening to music, singing songs and actively involving them in creative responses. Students will learn to distinguish between high and low sounds, discover melody and identify simple rhythmic patterns.
In Grades 4 and 5, the students are encouraged to develop skills in reading music notations. Students develop a greater musical awareness by listening to these recordings and acquire a better understanding of the basic principles of tempo, dynamics, mood, rhythms and melodic expression in music.
At The Udine International School we believe that handwriting is an important skill that must be developed during the Elementary years. While the reliance on computers and word processing programs is increasing, a legible, efficient handwriting style is still important for further education and most types of employment. The explicit teaching of handwriting also provides cognitive benefits to support literacy and numeracy development and enhances fine motor skill development.
Our aim is to teach each child to write legibly, fluently and at a reasonable speed. To support this aim a structured, whole school approach to handwriting has been adopted.
The D’Nealian Handwriting program is used at The Udine International School throughout Elementary School. Students start in the Early Childhood years with pre-writing activities and then in Grade 1 with the manuscript form. The Program stresses correct letter forms, strokes, spacing and style. The child masters letters, words and then moves on to the formation of sentences. Emphasis is placed on correct hand position, neatness and the correct formation of the letter patterns. The transition to cursive writing is adopted by the end of Grade 2 and continues in Grade 3. This is a widely used standard of cursive and emphasizes slanted writing use. The handwriting program continues in Grades 4 and 5 and students are encouraged to strive for neatness, legibility and correctness in all their written work.
Students who come to The Udine International School from different countries or other schools are likely to have already learned to write using different handwriting styles and/or font. Provided the handwriting style is established, legible and efficient the student will be supported to continue using that handwriting style while at UIS.
There is an expectation that all students in upper Elementary and all three grades of Middle School use a legible and fluent handwriting (cursive) style in all of their formal written presentations.
The mission of our physical education curriculum is to involve students in culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate movement experiences that focus on learning to move and learning through movement. Movement skills and fitness levels, thinking and reasoning abilities, and social-emotional skills are all enhanced by engaging children in a comprehensive program of fundamental movement, sport skill, physical fitness and dance experiences. Systematic and realistic self-assessment of one’s own progress aids in building on individual strengths and enables the curriculum to be adapted to individual needs. The principles and values behind movement skills and lifetime fitness are taught in an atmosphere that promotes student understanding and appreciation. Through a child-centred developmentally based approach to teaching that is responsive to the safety and welfare of students, the physical education curriculum contributes to self-esteem enhancement, responsible behaviour, creative expression and group cooperation. This is accomplished in an environment that both values and provides opportunities for social growth, increased emotional maturity, and responsible citizenship. The value of each child is recognised by striving for individual excellence in a caring and nurturing environment – an environment that promotes learning to move and learning through movement for all children.
At The Udine International School the computer is considered an information handling machine and a tool to enhance learning. In the Elementary School, pupils learn basic skills and develop important abilities which they can utilise in different subjects. These include all the standard Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as image editing and programming software geared to a younger audience. During each lesson, students will follow their teacher’s blog, allowing them to work independently and at their own pace. Students will also use this blog as a means of communication with their teacher and as a reference point for their own learning outside the computer lab.
The program is intended to be broad-based and to provide a groundwork for which pupils can develop their interests. Pupils will use software which can be applied in other areas of the curriculum. Assessment will be based upon practical work and is related to what students are studying in class. Pupils who have access to computers at home will be encouraged to use them. The school is equipped with a computer lab for students as well as a wide variety of software.