Early Years at HIS

The Early Years multiage program at Hokkaido International School is for children ages 3 and 4. The program is built on a foundation of understanding the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of young children. We understand that the whole child must be nurtured. This is done by providing an environment that is child centered, experiential, stimulating, creative, and flexible. Activities are designed to offer children opportunities to explore, experiment and discover with hands-on materials. The multiage learning environment, climate, and activities encourage students to develop confidence, skills, and attitudes that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Because children are active learners with innate curiosity, the program ensures that learning objectives are relevant to students and set in a joyful and playful atmosphere. This includes language development, self expression and creativity approached through puppetry, drama, literature, songs, dance, poetry, and games.

Listening and speaking in English is a large component of the Early Years program. The rich language environment that is grounded in play, drama, music and stories, and that is beneficial to young native English speakers, is the same environment especially critical for second language learners. Vocabulary and grammar are developed in natural and authentic ways as students engage in the varied experiences of the classroom.

While providing developmentally appropriate activities, HIS Early Years teachers understand that every child is on a unique path of growth, and also has a unique personality and learning style. Therefore, objectives and outcome goals are child specific while aligning with appropriate age-level school standards. By the time students enter Kindergarten, they will have worked on learning letter names and sounds, conveying ideas on paper with pictures and letters, counting and recognizing numerals to 20, sorting, and patterning. Students enter Milepost One (Kindergarten-Grade 1) with a solid foundation in those concepts, plus further work with math and problem solving and having engaged in early literacy activities including beginning reading. Children are given the opportunity to learn, grow and develop according to their own path, each in their own time and unique way.

While many children in the multiage classroom may seem to be engaged in a similar activity, the teachers understand that each student may be taking different learning from the experience. A positive self image as well as a core of knowledge results from the opportunity to grow and be nurtured individually in this type of rich and stimulating environment.

Above all, the Early Years experience strives to ensure that the children are happy and eager to come to school.

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