Our Early Years Program
Welcome to the Early Years Program at AIS-R! At the heart of our program is the belief in the innate curiosity and wonder of every child. Our mixed-age setting offers a warm and joyful learning environment that encourages and nurtures the holistic growth of every student. It is a living curriculum that evolves with and for the children as they explore their interests. Teachers listen and observe closely so that they can design invitations and provocations to inspire and extend learning. Throughout the two years, we inquire into the following transdisciplinary concepts:
- Relationships and Belonging: How do we develop relationships and build a sense of community in our environment?
- Environment: How do we connect to and care for nature in our environment?
- Investigation and Materiality: How can we investigate materials and tools?
- Exploration and Discovery: How can we explore to discover?
Play, both structured and unstructured, is a powerful learning tool. Through intentional play, children develop confidence, independence, empathy, curiosity, and critical thinking skills that provide a foundation for a lifetime of learning. At AIS-R, our youngest learners embark on a wondrous journey of discovery, growth, and joyful learning.
- Children have a natural sense of curiosity and wonder that can be fostered when learning follows student interest about the world around them.
- Growth should be cultivated in all areas of development, including cognitive, physical, social, and emotional.
- Each child enters with a variety of past experiences and learns in his/her own unique way and pace.
- We should be mindful of each child’s developmental range and reflect that into our environment, curriculum and learning goals.
- Children learn best through play (structured and unstructured) where they are given opportunities to engage, collaborate, grow and make sense of the world.
- Developing students’ social-emotional skills lays the foundation for academic growth throughout their learning journey.
- Educators are partners in the learning process - observing, modeling, and designing rich learning spaces which encourage curiosity, independence and the development of life skills.
- A safe and nurturing atmosphere encourages children to build confidence and take risks.
Through our emergent, play-based curriculum, students will:
- Ask questions and pursue their own learning
- Interact with peers and adults
- Care for others and our world
- Develop confidence and independence
- Engage in purposeful play
- Explore nature
- Experience a rich, literate environment
- Move in a variety of ways
- Build on interests
- Grow through diverse experiences
Our students partake in a half-day program, beginning at 8:30am and dismissing at 1:15pm. Early Years students eat snacks at breaks provided in their learning day. Nutritious snacks are essential to keep students’ energy at appropriate levels to keep them satisfied and attentive to the learning tasks at hand. Sweets and foods with a high level of sugar provide false bursts of energy and may leave students hungry and sometimes irritable. Candy, chocolate, chips, commercially-packaged cookies, and soda are prohibited and students will be asked to save these “treats” for home. As AIS-R Eagles and models of healthy living, we ask that only healthy options are packed for your child.
There are ample opportunities for outdoor play in our shady playground and Eagle Eco Center which has small animals, a building center and a pond. Our Early Years Classrooms have been carefully designed to encourage and stimulate independence, cooperation, confidence and self-regulation as children move between carefully orchestrated learning spaces, commonly referred to as play-based centers. Some of the inquiry spaces set up in our open plan environment include: science & nature, dramatic play, art, woodwork & makerspace, sensory, math provocation and block & building centers.
All students attending AIS-R must be fully toilet trained. In our efforts to uphold our safeguarding policies and to keep our learning environment clean and healthy, independent toilet training is non-negotiable for all students. A child is toilet-trained when they have mastered control of their bowel and bladder functions and can attend to bathroom needs independently without adult assistance. A student in attendance who has not secured toilet-training (as defined as 3 consecutive school days with accidents), attendance is withheld for 20 school days to give the child and the family an opportunity to complete the training and secure independent toileting.
Animals & Allergies:
Our learning environments support the natural curiosity of our AIS-R Eagles and therefore incorporates natural elements such as plants, soil/sand, flowers, and fruits/vegetables as well as the care for several live animals of different species to include but not limited to birds, lizards, and small mammals (guinea pigs, hamsters, etc.). Should a child be allergic in such conditions, accommodations may be possible within our program parameters, but cannot be guaranteed. Modifications to the program such as removal and/or relocation of an animal(s) or natural elements (during student attendance) cannot be accommodated. With 60 nationalities and a transient community, AIS-R is NOT an allergen-free (nut, milk, wheat, fish, etc.) campus. We cannot guarantee that food brought to school by students is nut/allergen free. It is the expectation of the parent to inform the nurse of their children’s allergies.
Parent Partnerships and Communication:
Open, honest and ongoing communication is critical to the success of the educational partnership we strive for between students, parents and teachers. We ask that you follow the Parent Communication Flowchart when communicating concerns. The following are sources for school related information:
- K-12 Activity Calendar:A calendar of all AIS-R events is distributed to all students.
- Email: Families can email teachers and administration with questions and concerns.
- Eagle Central: A weekly newsletter of upcoming events, articles, and items of special interest to parents and students is emailed to all parents and can be viewed online through our school app.
- Instagram: Homeroom Instagram accounts highlight photos of learning.
- PowerSchool: Is our school information system that allows parents to view their child's report cards, MAP scores, and school messages. Each parent is issued an AIS-R email address and password to log into PowerSchool. Please keep your contact information up-to-date so that we can send you important updates about your child's education
- Website: Browse the school’s website to find general information about each grade level and general school information www.aisr.org.
- AIS-R APP: Houses the latest news, daily updates, events, social media, and pictures of what is happening at AIS-R (Apple and Android).