At Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, we are proud of our infant school curriculum. Unlike a purely subject-based approach, our infant section lessons use a curriculum organised around themes of knowledge. Our method is based on the idea that children best acquire knowledge when it is presented in the context of a coherent whole (as opposed to a more traditional details-first, big-picture-later approach). In our experience, young students absorb information better when they can see the relevance of an idea in their world.
You may choose to enrol your child in the bilingual section where English and French are spoken in the same proportions, or in the English section where he/she will have one daily French lesson.
As illustrated below, our lesson plans and curriculum are structured around six basic themes:
Each theme addresses the development of age-appropriate skills in that area. At its core, the goal of the programme is to build up permanent, transferrable, life-long learning skills – more so than accumulating a collection of facts, letters, and numbers. We encourage our young students to investigate, be curious, observe, and apply their new skills in a playful, fun, and focused environment.The infant school is divided into three age groups:
- E1 – 3 years old by August 31
- E2 – 4 years old by August 31
- E3 – 5 years old by August 31
Depending on your child’s age and readiness, we will recommend a comfortable starting class level that will offer him or her opportunities to grow. The following E1 to E3 pages offer additional details on the specific skills that are developed by age group. Below are general descriptions of each skill area in the infant school.
Sciences and understanding of the world
Children investigate materials and objects using their senses – touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight. They identify features of living creatures and inanimate objects, ask questions about why things work or happen a certain way, and note similarities and differences. In the context of theme-based work, they explore events that are of immediate interest to their age group and relevant to their environment. Younger children may observe turtles on a field trip, or mix oil and water in the classroom – we look for creative ways to get them involved and excited. Older children get their first exposure to computers and technology.
Language and literacy
At Haut-Lac, we emphasise the importance of good communication skills from a very young age. We teach our students how to interact positively with others in formal and informal situations – how to negotiate, plan, play roles, organise, sequence tasks, and clarify thinking. Children learn to enjoy listening to and using spoken English and French in the classroom. Attentive listening is encouraged through a good variety of stories, poems and songs.
We expand our students’ vocabulary in both languages through topic-based work. As an introduction to reading, younger children start to explore initial sounds through the Letters and Sounds scheme. They are taught how to efficiently and comfortably hold a pencil, make firm marks on paper, and are encouraged to do some pre-writing exercises for the correct formation of letters. Older students are encouraged to spell short simple words, and are taught to connect letters in cursive-style writing.
We use numbers in a familiar everyday context to get students acquainted with them. Children learn to count reliably and to recognise numerals. They also experience shapes, patterns, space, and measuring through structured play activities. We emphasise early understanding of basic mathematical ideas (putting things together is adding, taking things away is subtracting, separating objects into groups or sets is dividing). Our teachers also support children in learning to solve practical real-life problems. Early numbers recording is encouraged but not required.
This area of learning involves art, music, dance, role and imaginative play. Children learn to explore, express and communicate their ideas through colour, texture, shape, form and space in two and three dimensions using a variety of materials and toys.
They learn to enjoy singing simple songs in English and in French and to respond to music by moving. They explore sounds and their ideas by using a range of tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments.
We use gymnastics and dance to develop coordination, control, manipulation and movement. Young students are encouraged to move safely, use their imagination, explore confidently, and refine their movements using the space appropriately.
Personal, social and emotional development
Haut-Lac school’s international context encourages the creation of positive relationships. We teach our young students to consider cultural and interpersonal differences, to respect themselves, and to be considerate of others. As a family of educators, we encourage and inspire a positive attitude towards learning and problem solving, and foster the development of independence.