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What We Believe
The CAIS mission provides the vision for our curriculum. We challenge and support our students each day to embrace Chinese, become their best selves and create their place in the world. Authentic contexts for learning language and integrated content make learning experiences both meaningful and memorable.
How We Achieve It
Dual Language Immersion at CAIS
The CAIS program is unique and constantly evolving to meet the challenges of a changing world. Students at CAIS gain cognitive benefits associated with second language proficiency. The dual language program has approximately 50% of instruction delivered in Chinese and 50% in English. Chinese class instruction across disciplines is delivered 100% in the target language. The primary goal of CAIS Chinese curriculum is to develop high level language proficiency, which is measured against ACTFL proficiency guidelines, through the study of various academic and cultural contents. Students at CAIS will have the ability to function comfortably, competently and confidently in an authentic Chinese cultural environment. For more information, see the Chinese English Dual Language Immersion page.
The CAIS approach centers on content integrated across subjects and languages. CAIS curriculum is organized around Focuses of Integration, six overarching ideas used in every grade level at CAIS:
- change and continuity
- global citizenship
- self development
- innovation and creativity
CAIS teachers and curriculum directors work intentionally to make learning meaningful by connecting cross curricular content to real life. The curriculum is designed with the end in mind, working back from a vision of success for all students and developing the path of learning activities that leads to this outcome. Teachers work together across languages and disciplines to create meaningful, but not necessarily overlapping, connections across content areas and classrooms. Technology integration efforts are robust, with two full time educational technology coordinators, a one-to-one iPad program in the middle school and instruction that spans coding, keyboarding, and media literacy as well as technology tools used in the service of teaching and learning in other subject areas.
Intellectual Challenge and Nurturing
The CAIS mission is to help our students to become your best self. To this end, the CAIS program balances intellectual challenge with creating a nurturing environment for students to develop their social and emotional competencies. CAIS students meet or exceed independent school norms across subjects. Habits of excellence, such as resilience and diligence are supported by ample support systems at CAIS. On staff, CAIS has five student support faculty members, including educational therapists and Chinese Language Support teachers. Students needing support and extension also have the added benefit of a low teacher to student ratio, with two teachers in each classroom for grades Pre-K to five. Social and emotional learning is emphasized with the intentional teaching of self management and awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
Global Perspective and International Learning Experience
Students at CAIS will have the ability to function comfortably, competently and confidently in an authentic Chinese cultural environment. Our immersion curriculum offers international programs for students in 5th, 7th, and 8th grades. Working with three different age groups, these three programs have different purposes, and thus correspondingly different program locations and structures. Cultural responsiveness is woven into routines and daily life at CAIS and international programs provide authentic contexts for deeper cultural immersion in greater China. For more information, explore our China Center information.
CAIS Curriculum Glossary
The important understandings that have lasting value beyond languages, cultures, disciplines and the classroom. Enduring understandings go to the heart of the unit and cut across curricular areas. What a teacher most wants students to remember as a result of teaching the units.
Overarching questions that prompt learners to explore a discipline/s in order to achieve an enduring understanding or a big idea. (What questions would serve as mental velcro as you teach this unit?) Essential question:
- Serve as organizers to target instruction
- Cannot be found in the text or answered yes or no
- Require students to consider alternatives
- Spark meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences
- Provoke deep thought, lively discussions, sustained inquiry, and new understandings
- Are crafted to hook and engage the learner
The focus of integration is the organizing center or idea and includes the different areas teachers integrated in the unit. These areas might include:
- specific content areas
- other discipline areas
- the learner
- the world around us