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Elementary School (KG2 – Gr. 5)

From KG2 through to Grade 5, students at Dunecrest Elementary School are inspired to develop a lifelong passion for learning a commitment to being empathetic and caring individuals, and the courage to realize their hopes and dreams.

A standards-based curriculum provides the foundation for preparing students to think creatively, communicate effectively, and be enthusiastic learners.

Students are engaged in hands-on project-based learning, driven by their own curiosity and interests. Through project work, children actively investigate their interests, discover new ideas and develop their own theories, learning to think critically and creatively. Project-based activities engage students in authentic learning and connect them with their environment and community.

Our dynamic learning community is committed to meeting the needs of all students in a warm and caring atmosphere. The emphasis is on the education of the whole child. As students are most receptive to learning when they feel safe, secure and happy, an emphasis on social and emotional learning will be integrated into homeroom classes with the support of our Elementary counseling program.

Academic Programs:

The Elementary school encompasses students in KG2 through Grade 5.

The Elementary program follows the AERO Common Core Plus Curricular Standards for Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, Music and Art, the SHAPE standards for Physical Education and the ISTE standards for technology.

Guided by Dunecrest’s mission and central pillars, it is our goal to have all students meet or exceed Dunecrest’s standards and benchmarks in learning. Our curriculum is designed to ensure that students are receiving the precise building blocks that will prepare them fully for the next phase of their education.

Mathematics

Dunecrest’s Elementary mathematics curriculum is based on the AERO Common Core Plus Curricular Standards.

These standards are divided into the mathematical domains of counting, numbers in base ten, operations and algebraic thinking, measurement and data, and geometry. In addition, children are immersed in learning developmentally appropriate mathematical practices.

As stated in the official literature of the Common Core State Standards, ”The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe ways in which developing student practitioners of the discipline of mathematics increasingly ought to engage with the subject matter as they grow in mathematical maturity and expertise throughout the elementary, middle and high school years.”

The Eight Standards for Mathematical Practice are:

1.Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them

2.Reason abstractly and quantitatively

3.Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

4.Model with mathematics

5.Use appropriate tools strategically

6.Attend to precision

7.Look for and make use of structure

8.Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Science

The Elementary Science curriculum is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are part of AERO Common Core Plus. These standards will be taught through hands on experiments and a collaborative, project based learning approach.

The NGSS approach learning in a cyclical format. Ideas are introduced in earlier stages and built upon at more advanced stages of a child’s education.

The standards are written to provide a three-tiered approach to learning through acquisition of cross-cutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas.

The Elementary standards fall under these broad subject area headings:
• Matter and its interactions:
• Forces and Motion
• Energy
• Waves and Their Application
• From Molecules to Organisms, Structures and Processes
• Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics
• Hereditary Inheritance and Variance of Traits
• Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
• Earth’s place in the universe
• Earth’s systems
• Earth and Human Activity
• Engineering and Design

Language Arts

The Elementary Language Arts curriculum provides a balanced literacy approach to the teaching of Reading, Writing and Word Study. The curriculum is constructed from the AERO Common Core Plus, English Language Arts Curricular Framework and shaped by the Teachers College Reading and Writing units of study.

The standards are divided across the following areas:

• Reading Literature
• Reading Informational Text
• Reading Foundation Skills
• Writing
• Listening & Speaking
• Language Foundations

Social Studies

The Elementary Social Studies curriculum is based on the AERO Common Core Plus Social Studies Framework , the Literacy in Social Studies Standards, and the UAE Ministry of Education Social Studies Standards.

The AERO Social Studies framework is developed around eight key learning standards:

• Standard 1 (Time, Continuity, and Change) Students will understand patterns of change and continuity, relationships between people and events through time, and various interpretations of these relationships.

• Standard 2 (Connections and Conflict) Students will understand causes and effects of interaction among societies, including trade, systems of international exchange, war, and diplomacy.

• Standard 3 (Geography) Students will understand the interactions and relationship between human societies and their physical environment.

• Standard 4 (Culture) Students will understand cultural and intellectual developments and interactions among societies.

• Standard 5 (Society and Identity) Students will understand social systems and structures and how these influence individuals.

• Standard 6 (Government) Students will understand why societies create and adopt systems of governance and how they address human needs, rights, responsibilities and citizenship.

• Standard 7 (Production, Distribution, and Consumption) Students will understand fundamental economic principles and ways in which economies are shaped by geographic and human factors.

• Standard 8 (Science, Technology, and Society) Students will understand how societies have influenced and been influenced by scientific developments and technological developments.

As the AERO standards are conceptually developed, the knowledge, skills and additional understandings for Social Studies will be developed using the Ministry of Education standards for Social Studies.

Arabic Language

The primary goal of our program is to enable students to communicate effectively in the Arabic language. (Arabic as an Additional Language and Arabic as a First Language).

The Elementary School Arabic curriculum will follow the learning standards provided by the Ministry of Education in Dubai for AFL (Arabic as a first language) and AAL (Arabic as an additional language). Students at this age are placed in language classes based on their mother tongue language as well as their level of language acquisition.

Students are engaged in a variety of linguistic activities that require them to use words and phrases in a question and answer format and to develop basic conversational skills. At this stage of learning there is an emphasis on developing an understanding of phonetics and grammar as well as the comprehension of whole texts.

Games, drama and songs are used to engage students in learning, and authentic connections are made to ensure that Arabic is used consistently.

Islamic Studies

At Dunecrest American School, Islamic Studies is part of our learning curriculum for our Muslim student body. Our Islamic Studies curriculum meets the expectations for learning established by the UAE Ministry of Education for Islamic Education. The Islamic studies curriculum is developed around the following core program goals:

• To make students more aware of Allah and their responsibility to serve Him and propagate his message.

• To teach students how to prepare for their ultimate objective: success in the life hereafter.

• To help establish in students a firm commitment and dedication to Islam as the eternal source of guidance.

• To make students aware of their responsibilities as Muslims.

• To teach students how to think, analyze, and solve problems based on Islamic rules.

• To encourage students to acquire positive attitudes, develop balanced personalities and appreciate knowledge.

• To work closely with parents to provide a secure, nurturing, and motivational environment for children to grow and prosper in.

• To expand students’ reading vocabulary and improve their understanding of words and their meanings.

Music

Elementary School students participate in music classes every week. They are actively engaged in singing, playing instruments, dancing, and performing.

The music curriculum is standards based, aligned to the AERO Common Core Plus curricular standards and the National Core Arts Standards.

Learning is divided into four conceptual areas:

• Creating
• Performing/ Presenting/Producing
• Responding
• Connecting

Visual Arts

Elementary School students at Dunecrest learn a wide variety of artistic techniques and mediums through which they can express themselves and develop their creativite talents.

The art curriculum is standards based and aligned to the AERO Common Core Plus curricular standards and the National Core Arts Standards.

Learning is divided into five conceptual areas:
Creating
Performing/Presenting/Producing
Responding
Connecting
Historical and Cultural Context

Physical Education

SHAPE America's National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education define what a student should know and be able to do as result of a highly effective physical education program. Shape America defines physical literacy through these five key ideas:

  • Standard 1: The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.

  • Standard 2: The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.

  • Standard 3: The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.

  • Standard 4: The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.

  • Standard 5: The physically literate individual recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.

English Language (ELL) Support

English Language Learning Support uses a co-teaching inclusion model to support students in the classroom.

ELL support is developed through the use of the WIDA instructional model. The WIDA program provides a set of rich standards, learning materials and assessments that teachers draw upon and use. These include the ”can do” assessment statements that are used to measure students’ levels of language acquisition on admission to the school, as well as monitor their support throughout the program. The school has chosen to use the WIDA model as the WIDA vision matches the school’s vision of learning. WIDA’s core values are:

• Innovation: Drawing upon research and practice to create the best resources for children, youth and educators.

• Service: Exceeding expectations with trusted and knowledgeable support of our clients and stakeholders.

• Can Do Philosophy: Recognizing and building upon the assets, contributions, and potential of culturally and linguistically diverse children and youth.

• Collaboration: Facilitating interaction among educators, state and local educational agencies, researchers, policy-makers, and experts worldwide.

Support for Students with Additional Learning Needs

Dunecrest American School utilizes the response to intervention (RTI) approach to support students with special educational needs. The school uses the tiered approach to provide interventions for those students that need additional support through a co-teaching model. Diagnostic testing during the admissions process identifies the needs of individual students entering the school and if necessary, a support plan is developed for them before their first day of classes.

Dunecrest strives to ensure that its learning environment and teaching strategies meet the needs of all children, and that all children are included as a part of the community and feel that they belong.