The Primary Years Programme provides the overall framework for learning and teaching at Qatar Academy Msheireb. International Baccalaureate scope and sequence documents form the basis of the curriculum [Language; Mathematics; Social Studies; Science; Arts; Physical, Social and Personal Education].
However, the school recognizes that standards-based education adds academic rigor to a school’s curriculum and as such learning and teaching is further informed by AERO [American Education Reaches Out] standards:
- AERO Common Core Plus: English / Language Arts
- AERO Common Core Plus: Mathematics
- Ministry of Education and Higher Education: Arabic
Qatar Academy Msheireb staff have collaborated to align the IB, AERO, and Qatar Ministry of Education standards to produce tailored scope and sequence documents.
Qatar Academy Msheireb recognizes the importance of Early Years as a time when the foundations for future learning are established. During the early years the brain and body develop faster than at any other point in a child’s life, with a rapid rate of development in the physical, emotional, social and cognitive domains. At QAM PS3 and PS4 students are immersed in a rich dual-language learning environment, spending half their time in each of English and Arabic homerooms. The pedagogical approach in the early years is play-based, as play is the vehicle for inquiry and learning for our three and four year olds. Student agency, skill development, literacy, numeracy and social-emotional learning is fostered through intentionally crafted opportunities for students to engage in purposeful play, developing IB Learner Profile attributes, fine and gross motor skills, as well as strong oral language proficiency which is foundational for the acquisition of reading and writing skills.Early Years Curriculum
Qatar Academy Msheireb is a dual language school. The languages of instruction are Arabic and English. The synergy between Arabic and English learning is strengthened by a collaboration between Arabic and English teachers developing complementary pedagogical approaches. The approach is based on QAM beliefs about learning language, which align with IB beliefs: “The learning process simultaneously involves learning language – as learners listen to and use language with others in their everyday lives; learning about language – as learners grow in their understanding of how language works; and learning through language – as learners use language as a tool to listen, think, discuss and reflect on information, ideas and issues (Halliday 1980).” (IB Primary Years Programme Language Scope and Sequence. p.1) Importantly, the three aspects are recognized as being linked and are not considered as discrete processes.
A balanced language approach at QAM is not based on any one program, but incorporates aspects of the Readers’ & Writers’ Workshop models, and Fountas & Pinnell’s approach to teaching literacy, and Word Study strategies. Examples of key engagements of language learning and teaching include: Mini-Lessons; Modeled Reading; Modeled Writing; Phonics / Word study; Guided Reading; Guided Writing; Shared reading and writing; Independent reading and writing; Conferring; Read aloud.
Language is integral to inquiry learning, and as such, is authentically integrated wherever possible into the units of inquiry. This may be through reading, writing, viewing or listening to fiction or non-fiction text connected to inquiries. AERO Language Arts & Qatar Ministry of Education Standards not authentically embedded into Units of Inquiry are taught in stand-alone Language units.
Mathematical thinking is developed through authentic problem solving where students inquire, model and explain their use of mathematical strategies. Learning engagements often incorporate practical hands-on manipulation of a variety of concrete learning materials to support conceptual understanding.
The Mathematics Curriculum is organized in five strands:
Data handling allows us to make a summary of what we know about the world and to make inferences about what we do not know.
- Data can be collected, organized, represented and summarized in a variety of ways to highlight similarities, differences and trends; the chosen format should illustrate the information without bias or distortion.
- Probability can be expressed qualitatively by using terms such as “unlikely”, “certain” or “impossible”. It can be expressed quantitatively on a numerical scale.
To measure is to attach a number to a quantity using a chosen unit. Since the attributes being measured are continuous, ways must be found to deal with quantities that fall between numbers. It is important to know how accurate a measurement needs to be or can ever be.
Shape and space
The regions, paths and boundaries of natural space can be described by shape. An understanding of the interrelationships of shape allows us to interpret, understand and appreciate our two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) world.
Pattern and function
To identify pattern is to begin to understand how mathematics applies to the world in which we live. The repetitive features of patterns can be identified and described as generalized rules called “functions”. This builds a foundation for the later study of algebra.
Our number system is a language for describing quantities and the relationships between quantities. For example, the value attributed to a digit depends on its place within a base system. Numbers are used to interpret information, make decisions and solve problems. For example, the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are related to one another and are used to process information in order to solve problems. The degree of precision needed in calculating depends on how the result will be used.
Where appropriate mathematics learning is integrated into units of inquiry. AERO Mathematics standards not embedded in the context of an inquiry are addressed in stand-alone inquiry-based mathematics learning engagements.
Specialist teachers in Islamic, Physical Education, Music and Art work collaboratively with homeroom teachers to build cross-curricular connections both within their specialized domain areas, and woven into units of inquiry.
The Arts: Music
The music program at Qatar Academy Msheireb allows students to enjoy, explore, communicate and express themselves through music. They learn that people from around the world express ideas and feelings through music in many different ways.
Singing is the foundation of the classroom program from early years to Grade 5 with language acquisition and reading skills an important focus. Through a wide variety of songs and singing games, students learn about the concepts of music. Rhythm, tempo, dynamics, pitch, articulation, structure, tone color and expression are explored. Students understand that music is a language that can be notated and interpreted. Motor skills, memory skills and social-emotional development are incorporated into the program through games and movement activities. Students discuss, compare and analyze music using musical terminology.
Performing on tuned and untuned percussion instruments and learning the ukulele enable students to experience the joy of making music in a group. Through playing simple borduns to more complex patterns, they improve their sense of rhythm, learn ensemble skills as well as how to interpret scores and understand how music is organized. Students learn about musicians, instruments and musical styles from around the globe to appreciate the different ways in which other cultures express themselves.
The Qatar Academy Msheireb Choir rehearses weekly all year and performs regularly. The choir extends musical skills and offers those who love performing regular opportunities to do so. Ukulele Club rehearses weekly and is offered for students in Grades 2-5. The annual QAM production gives students the opportunity to perform at a high level.
The Arts: Visual Arts
Assessment at QAM is ongoing, harnessing both formative and summative assessment to determine student knowledge, skills and understanding, and to inform teachers and the pedagogical leadership team in the ongoing review and monitoring of the QAM curriculum.
The QAM curriculum has a goal of enabling learners to construct meaning. Assessment plays an integral role in all learning and teaching. It is essential to inform pedagogical practices that are responsive to student needs. Assessment allows for the design of a differentiated curriculum, with appropriate scaffolding to support learner progress. It is a cyclical process and assessment is integral at all stages and involves assessment for, assessment as, and assessment of learning. A variety of formative and summative assessment strategies and tools are used to assess learning in all subject areas (in English and Arabic) for differing purposes including to:
- establish prior knowledge
- identify learning needs
- measure student achievement
- track progress over time
- reflect on approaches to learning
- reflect on approaches to teaching
Assessment Tools and Strategies include: teacher observations (anecdotal notes), peer & self assessment, rubrics, observation checklists, question and answer, work samples, teacher-designed assessment tasks, student portfolios, class discussions, analysis of works in progress, journals, observation checklists, concept maps …
Periodic Assessment Tasks: Reading Benchmark Assessments (Running Records), Writing Samples, Spelling inventory, Phonics Assessment, Sight Word Assessment, UOI Formative and Summative Assessment tasks.
NWEA MAP (Northwest Evaluation Association Measure of Academic Progress) in October, January and April
- Math (KG – G5)
- Reading (G1 – G5)
- Language usage (G2 – G5)