Admissions Inquiry

Curriculum

The better the beginning the stronger the finish.

At Shanghai American School we consider pre-kindergarten to be the important first steps of each child's educational journey. This time is marked by a child's rapid brain development and unbridled enthusiasm for experiencing new things and mastering new skills. At SAS your children in Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 joyfully learn because teaching and learning is done using a purposefully implemented curriculum based on play. Our curriculum supports your child’s cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development. These three elements form what educators call the whole child. Developing the whole child is what SAS does best.

The classroom and outside environments are often called the third teacher. They are purposefully created to support the development of:

  • Large and small motor skills
  • Increased language and knowledge of in math, science, reading and writing
  • Behaviors - self-regulation and social interaction
  • Increased awareness of family, community and the larger world
  • Creative expression - art, dance, drama and music
Teachers develop lessons using an individualized approach. Individualization is achieved through on-going observations and assessments of each child, and the results used to plan ever increasing complex experiences. A close eye is kept on the skills and concepts that will help to optimize each child’s potential and build the foundations required for the next step in their educational journey.

Click on the links below to find more in-depth information on the whole-child and other important program information.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive skills - thinking skills, are essential building blocks to PK3 and PK4 students’ growth and development as learners. Teacher and child initiated, hands-on curriculum provide students opportunities to practice and demonstrate they are working on or have mastered various skills including classification symbols, language, and images beginning with the concrete and moving to the abstract. For example starting by studying a real flower then moving to a photo of a flower, then to the letters that spell flower.

PK3 Cognitive Indicators

  • Sustains interest in working on a task, especially when adults offer suggestions, questions, and comments
  • Practices an activity many times until successful
  • Plans and pursues a variety of appropriately challenging tasks
  • Observes and imitates how other people solve problems; asks for a solution and uses it
  • Solves problems without having to try every possibility
  • Explores and investigates ways to make something happen
  • Shows eagerness to learn about a variety of topics and ideas
  • Uses creativity and imagination during play and routine tasks
  • Changes plans if a better idea is proposed
  • Recalls familiar people, places, objects and actions from the past (a few months before); recalls 1 or 2 items removed from view
  • Tells experiences in order, provides details, and evaluates the experience; recalls 3 or 4 items removed from view
  • Remembers the sequence of personal routines and experiences with teacher support
  • Draws on everyday experiences and applies this knowledge to a similar situation
  • Puts all of the red beads together and all of the blue beads together
  • Pulls out all of the trucks from the vehicle bin
  • Identifies scratchy and soft pieces of fabric
  • Puts pictures into piles of babies, older children, and grown-ups
  • Draws or constructs, and then identifies what it is
  • Acts out familiar or imaginary scenarios; may use props to stand for something else

PK4 Cognitive Indicators

  • Sustains work on age-appropriate, interesting task; can ignore most distractions and interruptions
  • Plans and pursues a variety of appropriately challenging tasks
  • Solves problems without having to try every possibility
  • Shows eagerness to learn about a variety of topics and ideas
  • Uses creativity and imagination during play and routine tasks
  • Changes plans if a better idea is thought of or proposed
  • Tells experiences in order, provides details, and evaluates the experience; recalls 3 or 4 items removed from view
  • Draws on everyday experiences and applies this knowledge to a similar situation
  • Puts all the red beads together and all the blue beads together
  • Pulls out all the trucks from the vehicle bin
  • Identifies scratchy and soft pieces of fabric
  • Puts all pictures into piles of babies, older children, and grown-ups
  • Says, “These buttons are blue, and these are red”; then resorts buttons into big and little
  • Points to groups of animals and says, “These are zoo animals; then sorts the zoo animals into those with stripes and those without strips
  • Draws or constructs, and then identifies what it is
  • Plans and then uses drawing, constructions, movements, and dramatizations to represent ideas
  • Acts out familiar or imaginary scenarios; may use props to stand for something else
  • Interacts with two or more children during pretend play, assigning and/or assuming roles and discussing actions; sustains play scenario for up to 10 minutes

Language, Reading and Writing


A solid foundation in language development gives children the skills they need to become successful learners. Children who have rich language and literacy experiences in Pre-kindergarten are more likely to develop strong language and literacy skills. These skills—the ability to listen, speak, read, and write—develop interdependently in children, and each contributes to the development of the other. Talking frequently with children expands their vocabulary, which positively impacts their future ability to read and understand print. These concepts carry over into other areas of learning.

Oral language, including grammar, the ability to define words, and understanding what is being said, helps provide the foundation and is an ongoing support for literacy. Research shows that the level to which a child progresses in reading and writing is one of the best predictors of whether the child will function competently in school and in life.

PK3 and PK4 students develop language skills through active learning experiences. Children engage in imaginative activities. They create puppet shows, build block structures, invent games, and shape sand castles. They learn to listen thoughtfully, and to share ideas, questions, and information during group discussions. Books are everywhere. Children listen to stories and poems read aloud every day. Children begin to tell their own stories. They learn to organize ideas and to present events and information sequentially. Fluent language, a burgeoning vocabulary, and thoughtful listening build the foundation for reading and writing.

PK3 and PK4 students learn to recognize and identify letters in signs, labels, lists, charts, graphs, and other print around their classroom and throughout the school. Letter/sound associations are presented in many ways. Charts, poems, a morning message, the daily schedule, and predictable Big Books are read aloud with the help of a few children at a time or with the whole class in chorus. Letters, repeated words, phrases, and rhymes are highlighted to help students learn about print. PK3 and PK4 children take home books to share with their families. Children continue their investigation of letters and sounds as they write their names, captions, simple messages, or dictate stories.

PK3 Language, Reading and Writing Indicators

Language
  • Responds appropriately to specific vocabulary and simple statements, questions and stories
  • Follows directions of two or more steps
  • Uses complete 4 to 6 word sentences
  • Tells stories
  • Engages in conversations of at least 3 exchanges
  • Uses acceptable language and social rules when communicating with others
Reading
  • Fills in missing rhyming words and generates rhyming words spontaneously
  • Sings songs and recites rhymes
  • Hears and shows awareness of separate words and sentences
  • Recognizes as many as 10 letters especially those in own name
  • Identifies the sounds of a few letters
  • Shows understanding that text is meaningful and can be read
  • Asks and answers questions about the text and refers to pictures
  • Pretends to read a familiar book treating each page as a separate unit and names and describes what is on each page using pictures as cues
  • Retells familiar stories using pictures or props as prompts
Writing
  • Controls linear scribbles
  • Produces mock letters of letter-like forms
  • Produces letter strings

PK4 Language, Reading, and Writing Indicators

Language
  • Responds appropriately to complex statements, questions, vocabulary, and stories
  • Follows detailed multi-step directions
  • Describes and tells the use of many familiar items
  • Tells elaborate stories
  • Engages in conversations of at least 3 exchanges
  • Uses acceptable language and social rules when communicating with others
Reading
  • Decides whether two words rhyme
  • Matches beginning sounds of words
  • Hears and shows awareness of separate syllables in words
  • Produces the correct sounds for 10-20 letters
  • Identifies and names 11-20 upper and 11-20 lowercase letters
  • Shows understanding that a sequence of letters represents a sequence of spoken sounds
  • Shows awareness of various features of print: letters, words, spaces, upper/lower case letters, and some punctuation
  • Identifies story related problems, events, and resolutions during conversations with an adult
  • Pretends to read, reciting language that closely matches the text on each page and uses reading-like intonation
  • Retells familiar stories in proper sequence, including major events and characters
Writing
  • Produces letter strings
  • Partially writes name accurately
  • Writes with early invented spelling
  • Expresses ideas through writing
  • Labels using drawings, letters and letter like shapes
  • Independently writes some upper and lower case letters

Mathematics


We believe that young children acquire an understanding of math through repeated experiences using concrete, manipu­lative materials. Children learn early mathematical concepts through free exploration and discovery, manipulation of concrete materials, experiential learning, and direct instruction. The Pre-kindergartenmath program is based on research and is designed to integrate learning mathemat­ics into other subject areas so that children can learn math through exploration during each school day. Playful activities help children become independent and comfortable thinkers about mathematical ideas. The development of these concepts is derived from activity-oriented classrooms where there are many opportunities for the children to integrate mathematical concepts into their daily lives and relate them to the world around them.

Math is more than counting and recognizing numbers. It's learning about more and less; many and few; heavy and light; long and short. Math also involves learning shapes (circle, square, rectangle); recognizing patterns (red-blue-red-blue); and comparing (which is more and which is less).

There's no need to drill with flashcards to get your child to learn math. And you don't have to be good at math yourself. As you go through the day, there are many opportunities for "math talk."

  • At mealtime, talk about your child's cup being empty or full. Ask your pre-kindergarten child questions: "Would you like your sandwich whole or cut in two halves?" On another day, ask, "Should we cut it in triangles or squares?"
  • Let your child help you sort the laundry or match pairs of socks.
  • Sing songs or say rhymes that have numbers, such as "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe."
  • Play games like "Mother May I?" and ask your child to take five giant steps or turn around two times.
  • When you and your child play with toy trucks or blocks, say, "Oh, you have so many and I have only a few. And look, your brother
  • Jamal has none. Will you give us more?"
  • Count and touch the buttons on your child's shirt as you dress him.
  • Have your child help you count two apples or three bananas at the grocery store.
  • Let your child help you set the table. Have him count the number of persons who will be eating. Help him to place a fork, knife, spoon, and napkin for each person.

Excerpted from Building Your Baby's Brain: A Parent's Guide to the First Five Years. Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies, Inc. (2010).

PK3 Math Indicators

  • Verbally counts to 10; counts up to five objects accurately using one number name for each object
  • Recognizes and names the number of items in a small set (up to five) instantly; combines and separates up to five objects and describes the parts
  • Recognizes and names a few numerals
  • Identifies numerals to fives by name and connects each to counted objects
  • Follows simple directions related to proximity (beside, between, next to)
  • Identifies a few basic shapes (circle, square, triangle)
  • Makes simple comparisons between two objects
  • Compares and orders a small set of objects as appropriate according to size, length, weight, area, or volume; knows usual sequence of basic daily events and a few ordinal numbers
  • Copies simple repeated patterns

PK4 Math Indicators

  • Verbally counts to 20;counts 10-20 objects accurately; knows the last number, states how many in all; tells what number (1-10) comes next in order by counting
  • Recognizes and names the number of items in a small set (up to 5) instantly; combines and separates up to 5 objects and describes parts
  • Makes sets of 6-10 objects and then describes the parts; identifies which part has more, less, or the same (equal); counts all or counts on to find out how many
  • Identifies numerals to 5 by name and connects each to counted objects
  • Identifies numerals to 10 by name and connects each to counted objects
  • Uses and responds appropriately to positional words indicating location, direction and distance
  • Describes basic two and three-dimensional shapes by using own words; recognizes basic shapes when they are presented in a new orientation
  • Compares and orders small sets of objects as appropriate according to size, weight, length, area or volume; knows usual sequence of basic daily events and a few ordinal numbers
  • Uses multiples of the same unit to measure; uses numbers to compare; knows the purpose of standard measuring tools
  • Uses nonstandard units to measure length and explores with capacity
  • Copies simple repeating patterns
  • Sorts and classifies by similar attributes
  • Begins to demonstrate sequencing skills

English as an Additional Language (EAL)


The nurturing, language-rich environment of the PK3 and PK4 classrooms provides the opportunity for second-language learners to develop their language skills in an authentic and playful setting. Using a thematic, literature-based approach, EAL students develop listening and oral language skills within the classroom. Through activities such as role playing, singing, chanting, and learning nursery rhymes, poems, and games, the language learners are soon able to participate more fully in regular classroom activities.

The most important factor affecting competence in a second language is the level of proficiency in their first language; therefore all children are encouraged to continue developing their native language as they learn English, as well as having the opportunity to practice and listen to English outside of the school environment.

The Arts



The Arts explores visual arts, musical concepts and expression, dance and moving, and drama through actions and language. While fostering creativity, early childhood art classes help our young learners gain an awareness and an appreciation for art. During arts classes children will:

  • Explore various mediums
  • Combine imagination with art skills to create original pieces
  • Be offered choice activities
  • View works of art via art literature and stories

The pre-kindergarten music program provides opportuni­ties for children to communicate and express themselves musically. Throughout the year your child will develop an appreciation for music through:

  • A variety of sound sources
  • Selected recorded music
  • Opportunities for improvised singing
  • The building of a repertoire of songs

Our PK3 and PK4 classes are largely exploratory, using a wide range of appropriate materials that provide a rich base from which conceptual understanding can evolve in later years. As a result of their experiences with music, our goal is that children will initiate both independent and collaborative play with musical materials and demonstrate a curiosity about music.

PK3 Indicators

Explores the visual arts
    • Shows appreciation for various forms of visual art
    • Shows appreciation for the artwork of peers
    • Communicates what he or she sees and how it makes him or her feel
    • Uses and cares for art materials
    • Explores different materials, tools and processes
    • Shows increasing awareness of color, line, form, texture, space, and design in his or her artwork or the work of others
    • Communicates about his or her artwork (e.g., what is it made of, what he or she was thinking, and from where the idea comes from
Explores musical concepts and expressions
    • Shows awareness and appreciation of different kinds of music
    • Expresses thoughts, feelings, and energy through music
    • Shows increasing awareness of various components of music: melody (tune), pitch (high and low sounds), rhythm (the beat), tempo (speed), dynamics (changes in volume), and timbre (sound quality distinguishing one instrument from another)

Explores dance and movement concepts

    • Communicates feelings and ideas through dance and movement
    • Demonstrates spatial awareness (where the body moves); location (separate or shared space); direction (up or down, forward or backward); level (low, middle, high); and pathways (straight, curved, zigzag)
    • Demonstrates effort awareness (how the body moves); speed (fast or slow); force (strong or light); and control (bound or free)
    • Demonstrates relational awareness (relationships the body creates) with the physical self (body parts); with body shape and size (big, small, straight); roles with other people (leading or following, mirroring, alternating); and in space (near or far, over or under, around or through)
Explores drama through actions and language
    • Shows that real-life roles can be enacted
    • Communicates a message or story though action and dialogue
    • Represents ideas though drama (e.g., pretends to be the big bad wolf)
    • Shows appreciation of the dramatizations of others

PK4 Indicators

Explores the visual arts
    • Shows appreciation for various forms of visual art
    • Shows appreciation for the artwork of peers
    • Communicates what he or she sees and how it makes him or her feel
    • Uses and cares for art materials
    • Explores different materials,tools and processes
    • Shows increasing awareness of color, line, form, texture, space, and design in his or her artwork or the work of others
    • Communicates about his or her artwork (e.g., what is it made of, what he or she was thinking, and from where the idea comes from
Explores musical concepts and expressions
    • Shows awareness and appreciation of different kinds of music
    • Expresses thoughts, feelings, and energy through music
    • Shows increasing awareness of various components of music: melody (tune), pitch (high and low sounds), rhythm (the beat), tempo (speed), dynamics (changes in volume), and timbre (sound quality distinguishing one instrument from another)
Explores dance and movement concepts
    • Communicates feelings and ideas through dance and movement
    • Demonstrates spatial awareness (where the body moves); location (separate or shared space); direction (up or down, forward or backward); level (low, middle, high); and pathways (straight, curved, zigzag)
    • Demonstrates effort awareness (how the body moves); speed (fast or slow); force (strong or light); and control (bound or free)
    • Demonstrates relational awareness (relationships the body creates) with the physical self (body parts); with body shape and size (big, small, straight); roles with other people (leading or following, mirroring, alternating); and in space (near or far, over or under, around or through)
Explores drama through actions and language
    • Shows that real-life roles can be enacted
    • Communicates a message or story though action and dialogue
    • Represents ideas though drama (e.g., pretends to be the big bad wolf)
    • Shows appreciation of the dramatizations of others

Chinese

PK3 and PK4 Chinese time will provide a safe, enjoyable learning environment where students have access to authentic Chinese language and culture. Students will learn to communicate in Chinese through various activities that allow them to interact with their peers and teachers, including Chinese games, dance, drawing, songs and storytelling. The Chinese program will:

  • Emphasize speaking and listening development
  • Begin to instill in children a love and respect for the Chinese people and their culture
  • Further the child’s understanding of global diversity

Click here to view the Chinese Program curriculum details

Physical Development


Physical development focuses primarily upon children‘s gross-motor and fine-motor skills. Physical skills assessed in PK3 and PK4 children include traveling skills, balancing skills, coordination, fine-motor strength and the use of writing and drawing tools. Research indicates physical development is positively correlated with children‘s social-emotional development, success in school and healthy brain development.

PK3 Physical Development Indicators

  • Moves purposefully from place to place with control
  • Sustains balance during simple movement experiences
  • Manipulates balls or similar objects with flexible body movements
  • Uses refined wrist and finger movements
  • Uses writing and drawing tools
  • Grips writing and drawing tools with whole hand but may use whole-arm movements to make marks
  • Holds drawing and writing tools by using a three-point finger grip but may hold the instrument too close to one end

PK4 Physical Development Indicators

  • Moves purposefully from place to place with control
  • Coordinates complex movements in play and games
  • Sustains balance during simple movement experiences
  • Sustains balance during complex movement experiences
  • Manipulates balls or similar objects with flexible body movements
  • Manipulates balls or similar objects with a full range of motion
  • Uses refined wrist and finger movements
  • Uses small, precise finger and hand movements
  • Uses writing and drawing tools
  • Holds drawing and writing tools by using a three-point finger grip but may hold the instrument too close to one end

The PK3 and PK4 physical education program enables the young students to begin developing competence in fundamental movement skills. The main focus of physical education class is for your child to develop age-appropriate physical activities while gaining self-confidence and body awareness.
Specific themes and learning objectives within each unit include:

  • Physical fitness and movement concepts
  • Various movements with a variety of equipment
  • A range of games that promote physical development

Swimming units are held twice a year in the Fall and Spring. The lessons are an investigation of swimming through stroke improvement and water Safety under the foundation of the American Red Cross (ARC). Students experience swimming as a form of physical fitness, play, movement exploration, social interaction and personal achievement. The student to teacher ratio is kept low and students are ability grouped to maximize learning, (average 4:1). Students will receive an ARC certificate at the end of this school year indicating the level and standard they achieved.

Social Emotional Development


Social and Emotional skills develop while children are engaged in a wide variety of activities inside and outside the classroom. PK3 and PK4 children are just learning to regulate their own emotions and behaviors. Examples of these are when children establish & sustain positive relationships, and work cooperatively and constructively in group situations.

Social–emotional skills that are essential to children's well-being and success in school and life. These skills are equal and important to other readiness skills such as math or reading and when fostered, produce long lasting and positive results. Research confirms social and emotional readiness is critical to the successful transition to kindergarten, even to later accomplishments in the workplace.

Social-emotional skills will develop overtime when children interact with their peers and are supported by patient and caring adults. Examples are when a child is:

  • confident, friendly, has developed or will be able to develop good relationships with peers;
  • able to concentrate on and persist at challenging tasks;
  • able to effectively communicate frustrations, anger, and joy; and
  • able to listen to instructions and be attentive.

The PK3 and PK4 program uses three objectives for the social-emotional are of development and learning:

Emotional and Behavioral Regulation
This objective is about developing habits and character traits such as responsibility, independence, and self-direction; and about following
rules and routines.

“I know you feel sad when its time to clean up. Take my hand and we will put your trains in the box. Now you'll know where to find them when you're ready to play tomorrow.

Establish and Sustain Positive Relationships
This objective focuses on developing caring relationships and successfully interacting with adults and children. It also includes recognizing and interpreting the emotional cues of others.

“You are lining up the cars just like Jeremy.”
“You’re right, she does look frustrated. Why do you think she feels that way?”

Participate Cooperatively and Constructively in Group Situations
This includes traits that will help children get along in the world, such as cooperation, sharing, and taking turns.

“Thank you for giving the doll to Charvez when he asked for it.”
“It looks you are taking turns with the cash register so that everyone gets to use it.”

PK3 Social Emotional Indicators

  • Comforts self by seeking out special object or person
  • Is able to look at a situation differently or delay gratification
  • Accepts redirection from adults
  • Manages classroom rules, routines, and transactions with occasional reminders
  • Demonstrates confidence in meeting own needs
  • Manages separations without distress and engages with trusted adults
  • Demonstrates concern about the feeling of others
  • Uses successful strategies for entering groups
  • Plays with one or two preferred playmates
  • Takes turns
  • Seeks adult help to resolve social problems

PK4 Social Emotional Indicators

  • Is able to look at a situation differently or delay gratification
  • Controls strong emotions in an appropriate manner most of the time
  • Manages classroom rules, routines, and transitions with occasional reminders
  • Demonstrates confidence in meeting own needs
  • Takes responsibility for own well-being
  • Engages with trusted adults as resources and to share mutual interests
  • Identifies basic emotional reactions of others and their causes accurately
  • Uses successful strategies for entering groups
  • Initiates, joins in, and sustains positive interactions with a small group of two to three children
  • Establishes special friendship with one child, but the friendship might only last a short while
  • Takes turns
  • Initiates the sharing of materials in the classroom and outdoors
  • Suggests solutions to social problems

Daily Routine


Daily Schedule PK3 & PK4
8:10am–1:00pm.
Arrival and unpack things
Morning meeting
Snack
Recess
Language - Reading and Literacy
Math
Science
Physical Education, Arts and Music
Lunch

Optional extended school day: 1:00 - 3:00pm
Includes rest time, snacks, Chinese and other activities.

Quiet Time
Every afternoon our early childhood program provides a “quiet” time allowing children to rest. This is an important time; The brain processes all that has happened during the morning. As the year progresses the duration and format of rest time may vary, your child's teacher will share the details. A child who does not sleep after a few minutes will be allowed to rest using books or other quiet activities.

Extra Clothes
All children must have a complete change of clothes at school. Accidents happen with water or paint and children feel better dry. Please label everything carefully with a name.

Appropriate Clothes
Send children in clothing that they can manage to get off and on with minimal assistance. Belts, shoes that tie, etc., are difficult for young children to manage. Shoes with velcro are suggested and tennis shoes is the most appropriate for school, especially for physical education.

Toilet Learning
We understand that occasional bathroom accidents do happen, however it is expected that your child is 100% dry during the day by the start of school. Children should wipe themselves independently, and pull their own pants up and down. Training pants/pull-ups indicate children are not ready to be independent.

Snacks
Please send two snacks labeled 'snack 1' and another marked 'snack 2'. These are for the morning and afternoon. Keep snacks healthy with items such as fruits, vegetables, a small sandwich or crackers and cheese. A water bottle labeled with your child's name should be sent everyday.
Powered by Finalsite