In the Elementary department (ES), the goal is to encourage and instill in students a love for reading and writing, and to build their confidence in oral communication. ES focuses on foundational skills that will prepare students for success as they progress academically. Teachers explicitly teach reading comprehension strategies by building background knowledge and vocabulary to allow students to make a connection to the text. This allows students to ask questions, create/visualize pictures in their minds, and be able to give meaning.
In reading, students are exposed to a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction texts, including poetry, folktales, realistic fiction, autobiography, historical fiction, and exposition. Students are encouraged to read independently to develop reading fluency, oral ability, and writing skills. With Writing, our aim is to develop higher level thinking skills that will prepare students for more comprehensive subjects as they begin to write with their audience in mind.
ES reading, grammar and writing skills are scaffolded from grade one to five. Each year, these skills are reviewed as lessons become progressively detailed and complex, which is intended to prepare ES students to enter Middle School (MS).
Focus on the five strands of mathematics — number sense and operations, patterning and algebra, measurement, data analysis and probability, geometry and spatial sense — begin in ES, and continuously becomes more refined as students reach grade five. Students in lower elementary learn how to add and subtract using whole numbers, tell time, explore place value, discover shapes, understand data using pictographs, and solve simple word problems. As they gain a better understanding of basic math problems, students are introduced to more difficult algebraic problems and word problems that help them develop critical thinking skills. Upper elementary students use all four operations and computations to solve more complex problems to develop their critical analysis skills.
PAS stresses the importance of a creative Visual Arts program, which aims to teach students how to form opinion, develop ideas and critique art, both orally as an individual and in a group setting. Students learn to make artistic decisions and express themselves as critical thinkers through art.
By connecting their art process with broader social context, students develop their capacity to grow into well-rounded citizens. Teaching students to think conceptually and aesthetically empowers them and helps them understand how an individual can create an impact both locally, in Taiwan, and globally.
Students learn how artwork is composed and assembled through learning the principles of design, artist’s intent and social context. Students create hands-on projects using a variety of art materials and art techniques. These concepts are then continued into MS and HS, and developed further.
The language of art is a powerful tool to ignite imagination and help ES students learn to be creative thinkers, problem solvers and communicators through their art, which is often displayed in school forums. They are encouraged to make connections with art and the world around them, and to appreciate the range of forms and styles that art can take.
As the leading American school in Hsinchu, Pacific American School (PAS), understands the importance of building a solid academic foundation through a comprehensive and robust curriculum that adheres to the American National Standards. In order to equip our students with the necessary skills to progress successfully into the future, we have integrated teaching skills and strategies to cultivate Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Self-expression. We not only build these necessary characteristics through our academic curriculum, but also through an array of innovative activities and events.
While a homeroom teacher covers most of the subjects in our lower elementary classrooms, as the children progress into upper elementary grades, specialized teachers teach core classes, including English, Social Studies, and Science. Additionally, we also have specialized teachers teaching Art, Computer, Music, Chinese, and Physical Education. Our teachers collaborate closely to integrate their curricula, extending sciences and reading activities to subjects like Art and Computer. Club activities are offered twice a week, and include sports, board games, Lego, robotics, a How-to, Junior Percussion, Arts Fun, and cooking, etc. Swimming lessons are arranged during the warmer months of the school year with professional coaches. During the colder months, we have percussion or library hour.
At PAS, we believe that learning is not simply reading off a textbook, but to integrate it with creative hands-on activities to make learning a memorable experience. Field trips to science and astrological museums, Baby Boss, Glass Museum and other in-school events, such as Geography Bee, Spelling Bee, Science/Math Fair all contribute to making learning fun and experimental. The compactness of the school community allows the elementary students ample opportunities to interact with and learn from older students through school-wide activities, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Performance, Talent show…etc.
ESL enrichment classes are also available for students if necessary, after teacher evaluation. Due to our low student-to-teacher ratio, each student receives ample attention in regards to both his/her academic and psychological development. Students are taught to be punctual, responsible, proactive, and confident while participating in or out of class. Active participation through in-class discussions and dialogue, projects, and presentations are all a part of our students’ regular training and assessment.
At PAS, we look to discover diverse strengths within our students, and nurture those abilities.