The Elementary program at YCIS Silicon Valley provides a challenging, global-minded education for students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade.
At YCIS Silicon Valley, we believe that learning should be joyful, active and meaningful. Elementary students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 are developing their sense of identity, building strong foundations of skills they will need throughout life, and learning how to be caring and compassionate citizens. Supported by dedicated teachers who nurture and inspire, YCIS students set forth on a path to become people of character and integrity, who have a strong belief system of strong positive values, who know themselves and will become global citizens who make a difference in our global world.
A Well-Rounded Program
YCIS Silicon Valley’s well-rounded academic program offers students opportunities to find their passions and explore their interests within the context of a challenging curriculum and a safe, nurturing learning environment that meets the development needs of young children. All YCIS elementary students have an English-speaking classroom teacher who teaches core academic subjects and a Chinese-speaking teacher who teaches Chinese language and culture. Students also have teachers for Music/Violin, Art and Physical Education. Character Education is taught bilingually by Chinese and English-speaking Co-Teachers. Students have many opportunities to develop confidence in performing and presenting through regular music concerts, cultural performances, and bilingual assembly presentations. Students may also join a lunchtime choir, learn new orchestral instruments after school or play in an informal lunchtime sports league.
Core Academic Curriculum
The core academic curriculum at YCIS Silicon Valley is aligned with US national and California state educational standards. Teachers use a variety of web-based educational resources and research-based texts, along with other quality educational resources aligned to state and national content standards, to achieve student learner outcomes. Instructional differentiation within each classroom meets the needs of all students, and cross-curricular integration of subject matter ensures a more holistic educational approach.
English Language Arts
In English Language Arts (ELA), aligned with Common Core State Standards, students explore a wide variety of genres, writing styles and perspectives in fiction and non-fiction reading and writing. Teachers use several resources for reading and writing development including Guided Reading and Writer’s Workshop programs. Reading instruction is differentiated to ensure students develop independent skills at an individually appropriate pace and level of challenge. In writing, students gain confidence and skill with the process of writing while developing their creative expression. Writing and reading skills are further developed and applied throughout the curriculum as students learn to think critically and express themselves creatively through language.
For Mathematics, we use the Singapore Math curriculum, aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Singapore Math emphasizes hands-on learning and combines eastern and western approaches to developing computation, problem solving and creative thinking skills. For students with exceptional achievement in mathematics, accelerated instruction is available based on assessments and teacher recommendations. Students’ math development is enriched through access to digital learning platforms.
Students learn science by doing science, with the FOSS Science program developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Based on the premise that science should be collaborative, hands-on and encourage the critical and creative thinking skills for success in the 21st century, the FOSS program gradually builds students’ skills in the scientific process: to observe, to think, to test and to explain. FOSS utilizes a multimedia approach, integrates reading, writing, and mathematics, and extends classroom learning outdoors. The science curriculum is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as developed by the National Research Council.
In Social Studies, students develop critical thinking skills used by historians and social scientists to learn about the past and connect it to the present. Students also develop their understanding of what it means to be a responsible citizen at all levels of human organization beginning with the self and family and moving outward to the world. Social Studies is aligned with California content standards and is often integrated with English Language Arts.
The YCIS Chinese Studies curriculum for the elementary grades is unique, research-based and carefully structured to build fluency in listening, speaking, reading and writing Mandarin. Developed by Yew Chung Education Foundation’s Chinese Curriculum Research Development division, the program includes leveled textbooks and enrichment materials which cater to both heritage and non-heritage language backgrounds. Kindergartners learn about the origin and evolution of Chinese characters while being introduced to theme-related traditional characters. In Grade 1, students choose to learn either traditional or simplified characters. See Chinese Studies (K-8) for further information.
Music and Violin Program
With a global focus, Music introduces students to a wide variety of musical styles, genres and composers. A hallmark of a YCIS education, the violin program for young students in Kindergarten through Grade 3 enhances children’s reasoning skills, builds teamwork, and develops patience, concentration, coordination and discipline. Students build on their violin training with music theory and appreciation in Grades 4 and 5. Students display their musical talents in school concerts and public performances. In addition to regular classes, students have the option to join a lunchtime choir or learn additional orchestral instruments after school.
Through the Arts, children gain confidence in self-expression, grow creatively, develop verbal and non-verbal communication skills, focus better and persevere, and experience new perspectives on the world. Taught in Mandarin, Art classes offer a global focus exposing children to artists, styles and works of art throughout world civilization. Students explore a variety of mediums and techniques to create their own visual art projects that are often displayed around the campus.
Through regular physical exercise and exposure to a range of sports, children improve dexterity and agility, learn teamwork and good sportsmanship, and develop habits for a healthy life. During PE, students develop fine and gross motor skills, while learning the fundamentals of various team and individual sports and activities. Intramural sports are optional and available for students in Grades 3 to 5 during the regular school day.
Through the use of a common language for reflecting on values and character traits, the Core Essentials character education program reinforces children’s development of a strong inner moral compass and as thoughtful, compassionate and respectful individuals. Focusing on one character trait per month, and integrating music, art and hands-on projects, character education lessons are co-taught bilingually in Mandarin and English by grade level teachers. Each class has the opportunity to share their understanding by preparing and presenting one bilingual character trait assembly for the school. Character traits are celebrated and reinforced throughout school life as children develop values such as Respect, Responsibility, Creativity, Gratitude, Generosity, Commitment, Kindness, Patience, Peace, Honesty and more.
Technology and Digital Learning
At YCIS, we believe students must be technologically fluent and agile in a fast-changing world. To be an effective educational tool, technology must be readily accessible. While hands-on and cooperative learning are essential, technology gives access to resources and provides different perspectives that can engage a wide range of different learning styles. SMART Boards, Chromebooks, iPads, subject-specific software, and other technologies offer students opportunities to enhance and expand their learning.