Welcome to our Early Childhood Centre
The human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than at any other stage in life. At UNIS Hanoi we understand that the investment made in every child at this age will shape their future. We harness the extraordinary curiosity and capacity for new experience that characterizes this distinct developmental phase in children.
In an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration, our enthusiastic and capable learners are respected and assisted in their learning journey. We are building upon our tradition of respect for every child's rhythm and pace in their holistic development.
We provoke curiosity and develop skills through exceptional teacher/student relationships which both challenge and nurture all our students through the research and inquiry process to make connections to their world
We provide a multi-sensory environment which responds to each child's learning experience, and allows for spontaneous learning.
Challenge is enjoyable, independence is rewarded and a sense of wonder in new ideas is shared by students and teacher alike.
As part of a Discovery to Grade 12 International Baccalaureate school, you can be confident that from the start your child will enjoy continuity for success throughout their schooling at UNIS Hanoi and beyond.
I like our school. Teachers care about the children. The learning makes me feel really good. I feel like I am really clever.
Find out more about our ECC...
At UNIS Hanoi your child will:
- Learn through an inquiry based approach – structured activity and play-based learning.
- Use expressive arts extensively as a vehicle for learning
- Be challenged to take their understanding and experience to the next level
- Delight in making connections between what is known and could be known
- Be listened to with respect as they learn to express themselves both verbally and non-verbally.
- Develop independence to take risks in their learning
(Read more in Our Philosophy to Early Education)
Where we learn is as important as how we learn and who we learn with and from (or with whom we share our learning).
At UNIS Hanoi our Reggio-inspired environment for Discovery is all new!
- Bright, light and spacious spaces especially designed for connectivity and integrated learning
- Unique Learning Piazza offering a collaborative shared creative, exploratory space
- Dedicated Discovery Garden as part of our extensive ECC natural play environment
- Access to the outstanding facilities on our 23-acre, Discovery-Grade 12 purpose built campus
- Small classes to promote excellent teacher student relationships (1:5 ratio)
- Qualified Vietnamese Teachers who assist in classrooms and connect the students the with Vietnamese language and culture
- The Council for International Schools highly commended the Early Childhood Centre Team for the "rich and dynamic learning environment they provide for children, who are engaged in their learning.”
(Read more in Our Philosophy to Early Education)
Children are born learners. They are constantly encountering new experiences and trying to understand them in order to extend their skills, develop their confidence and build on what they already know. Home is the starting point where this learning begins and where building blocks are laid. The learning journey continues as children start school. For many children, these early years also mark the first transition from home to group experiences outside of the family and to new physical environments. We strive to make this adjustment as successful as possible by encouraging the development of secure and trusting relationships with new adults and peers.
UNIS Hanoi follows the International Baccalaureate Curriculum framework (www.ibo.org) across the Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High school. In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), it is acknowledged that experiences during the early years lay the foundations for all future learning. Research indicates that the rapid rate of development that occurs in the physical, social, emotional, intellectual and aesthetic domains is particularly significant. At UNIS Hanoi we believe that it is our responsibility as educators to recognize and maximize this crucial stage of learning.
In our Early Childhood classrooms, children are invited to investigate important subject matter by developing their own questions and wonderings, seeking ways to explore these through means such as observation, research, experimentation and investigation. Starting with the child's current understanding, our teachers facilitate learning by providing stimulating opportunities so children develop deeper understandings, make connections to their experiences and progress in their unique educational journey.
Our Reggio Inspired Learning Environment
The philosophy and approach followed by Reggio practitioners marries very well with the PYP approach and the children at UNIS Hanoi are able to benefit from these complementary philosophies.
The environment we have developed within the ECC is Reggio inspired and influenced:
- Carefully organized for small and large group projects and intimate spaces for individuals and small group research and discussion
- Formal and informal space
- Large areas for display and presentation
- A range of furniture and screens to provide intimacy and flexibility
- A range of resources to support work in a variety of media
- Natural resources that allow students to marvel at their world
Our aim is to provide an environment in which your children:
- feel safe and secure and have a sense of well-being;
- grow emotionally and socially with children their own age who have similar needs and interests;
- learn to confidently make and follow through on choices;
- learn to express their needs and feelings in constructive ways;
- try out their ideas through multi-sensory exploration;
- share the responsibility for the care of the equipment in the classrooms and playground;
- learn to work and play safely;
- develop independence.
Our Early Childhood team strives to create a learning environment that encourages children to:
- explore and research alone and with others, both peers and adults;
- be supported in their process of learning;
- be listened to and be informed;
- work and communicate with others;
- see themselves as constructors of projects;
- express their potential, abilities and curiosity;
- know that their identities are respected.
Every Child Is Unique
Although development usually occurs in recognizable and predictable directions, it is unique in each child, occurring at varying rates from child to child. Fundamental to our programme is that we recognize and support each child as they develop socially, physically and educationally. Each child adopted different time frames for crawling, walking, talking, managing to feed themselves. At school we acknowledge that children have different times when they can hold a pencil, share toys with others, want to start reading, colour within lines and develop independence skills. Our Early Childhood teachers support individual students' interests, build up their self-esteem and confidence, and respond to spontaneous events, as well as support the development of skills in all cognitive areas in relevant ways. Children, from birth, are full of curiosity, and our PYP and Reggio inspired framework gives crucial support for children to be active researchers, inquirers and lifelong learners.
Our teachers ensure that the children develop early literacy and early mathematical skills and work at the highest level they are capable of attaining. Throughout their time with us we strive to challenge and inspire each and every learner whatever their age or level of understanding when they enter the school. Our teachers are trained to differentiate the various aspects of the programme to ensure that each child is challenged appropriately and motivated to take their learning and understanding to the next level.
How Best Will Children Learn?
Children have beliefs about how the world works based on their experiences and prior learning. Through our constructivist approach to education, we encourage children to make meaning of their lives and the world around them, by providing authentic, opportunities for them to construct, test, and confirm or revise their personal models of how the world works. Each day is organized around structured activity and play-based learning, using an individualised and inquiry-based approach. This enables the teachers to bring together the social, emotional, physical and academic areas of the curriculum. Our teachers structure the environment and provide activities to supports each student's exploration as they strive to gain understanding of the world and to learn to function comfortably within it, to move from not knowing to knowing, to identify what is real and what is not real, to acknowledge what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.
In the early years learning is an informal process. The programme is structured, as order is important at this stage of a child's development, but within this structure there is flexibility to allow for the individual pace of each child.
Each morning the class comes together at Circle Time to engage in daily routines and introduce new concepts. Circle Time encourages children to: participate in discussion, listen to others, learn about routines and gain a sense of time, take turns, sing songs, recite poems and rhymes, and share ideas and experiences
- Social development is of major importance in the first years of schooling. The children develop friendships and learn how to share, take turns, and solve conflicts. The Personal and Social Education curriculum is addressed both explicitly through specific content and implicitly through the culture and organisation of the class.
- Role play helps young children use language in different simulated situations and provides further opportunities for interacting with others. The children are provided with a wide range of props, costumes and settings throughout the year.
- Constructive play, which includes activities such as solving jigsaw-puzzles, building with bricks, and sand/water play develops hand-eye co-ordination, spatial awareness, fine motor control, and concepts of size and shape. These activities help build a foundation for writing, reading and mathematics.
- Language development is emphasized in the early years. Oral language (expression, vocabulary, and structure) is particularly developed through a wide range of class and individual activities which encourage children to talk and listen.
- Early mathematical activities foster the development of numeracy and the understanding of mathematical concepts in the maths strands of number, pattern, data-handling, shape, and measurement. For example, sorting and classifying activities provide children with experience in using mathematical and scientific language, as well as identifying properties of objects and developing concepts of similarities and differences.
- Early literacy activities encourage the development of writing and reading skills. Story time is an important part of the day when children listen to, look at and discuss familiar and new stories. Each class has its own reading area where children can browse books. Weekly visits to the school library further promote language and literacy development. Children are encouraged to borrow a wide range of books from the collection in both English and their mother tongue language.
In conjunction with play-based learning, children in Kindergarten gradually have more structured time for phonics, reading, writing and mathematics as and when each individual learner is ready. Many of these activities are related to the Units of Inquiry. Once the children have settled into the Kindergarten programme, the children will begin to bring home books for you to read. The teachers will explain the purpose of take-home readers before commencing this part of the programme. Homework is not given in the ECC but parents are encouraged to read stories to their children every day. We value a strong connection between home and school. In Discovery we do not send readers home but may request you to support our Units of Inquiry by sending in photos, artifacts or books connected to the current unit.
The Programme of Inquiry (PoI) involves children in learning activities, where the study is organised around a theme or concept for inquiry. This will always be a "big idea” which will require knowledge and ideas from many subject areas to understand. In this way the Unit of Inquiry (UoI) guides children to acquire essential knowledge and skills in a way which has real meaning for them. At the same time they will begin to make connections between areas of the curriculum which will make it easier for them to understand new learning. Key concepts are introduced through the units of inquiry, incorporating knowledge and skills from across the curriculum, including Social Studies and Science and Technology. Observation and investigation are particularly emphasized during these units. In Discovery and Kindergarten 1, the children study four units and in Kindergarten 2 they study six.
Specialist Subject Teaching
In addition to their homeroom teacher, the children in Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 are also taught by single-subject teachers who provide access to additional curriculum areas and support the children as they engage in trans-disciplinary inquiries. Children explore Art, Music and Physical Education curricula further with single-subject teachers. Physical education lessons in the gym develop the children's fine and gross motor skills and encourage physical and spatial awareness. The children's natural love of music is encouraged through movement-based singing, rhythm and instrumental activities, with the aim of developing creativity, musical skills and techniques. Children's horizons are expanded as they explore a range of media to stimulate creativity. Confidence is built as the children are given opportunities to create and be praised for their efforts. Children in Discovery experience exploration in these subject areas with their homeroom teacher with some specialist input from the Music teacher.
Many of our children join UNIS Hanoi with no English at all. Our teachers are experienced in working with children with limited English. Children also receive support from an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher on a regular basis. With the commitment to develop international-mindedness, UNIS promotes continued development of the child's mother tongue and additional language learning. Children in Kindergarten 1 and 2 receive Vietnamese culture and language lessons which focus on the cultural aspects of living in Vietnam, including songs and stories, traditions, festivals and daily life.
The Early Childhood classrooms are equipped with Information Technology (IT) and audio-visual resources which are used as a tool to enhance learning. There are computers and listening centres that the children are regularly encouraged to use. Other resources such as digital cameras, video camera, proscopes, table top interactive whiteboards and DVD /video recorders are also used when appropriate to support the programme or record children's work. We continue to explore different ideas about to use technology to enhance the learning experiences of our youngest students.
We offer a variety of activities from which our Discovery, Kindergarten 1 and 2 students can select 2 sessions a week.
Those Discovery students on a half day programme can return to school at 3:30 to join in with their peers. Any Discovery student who wishes to attend must be accompanied by a care giver who will be present in these sessions so they can learn more about our approach to early education and strengthen the caregivers/parents as partners bond.
Through our ASA programme we provide a secure, safe and familiar environment where our youngest students can further explore and develop their physical, creative and social skills and at the same time wecan build community.
Early Childhood Centre 2015-2016
- The Early Childhood Centre is a dedicated part of the UNIS Hanoi Elementary School for our youngest learners:
- Discovery (age 3-4) with 16 children/class (2 classes)
- Kindergarten 1 (age 4-5) with 16 children/class (3 classes)
- Kindergarten 2 (age 5-6) with 18 children/class (4 classes)
- Included in our competitive tuition fees:
- English as an Additional Language (EAL) specialist teaching
- Music, Art, PE and IT specialist teaching
- Learning Support, Speech and Language Therapy and Counseling
- After School Activities Programme
- Lunch for Pre-School grades (Discovery Full-Day and Kindergarten 1)
- Tuition Fees for 2015-2016:
- Discovery Full Day: 11,500 USD (8.10-15.20* with quarterly review option)
- Discovery Half Day: 7,900 USD (8.10-12.00 with option to move to full-day)
- Kindergarten 1: 14,665 USD (8.10-15.20*)
- Kindergarten 2: 17,115 USD (8.10-15.20*)
(* Please note that Wednesday is early release at 14.25 for all Grades K1 – Grade 12 for Faculty Professional Development. All Discovery students finish school at 12.00 on Wednesdays.)
Giving Your Child The Best Start
As a parent you play a crucial role as the first educator of your child. A child will absorb information more rapidly during his or her early years than at any time in his or her life. During this time their learning is influenced by the home environment. What and how things are learned during this period is a preparation for the more formal atmosphere of school. Attitudes and ideas formed in the comfort of the home are the foundations on which we build in school. Your child will learn best through meaningful and fun activities and through positive encouragement and support from those around him and her. Children are naturally motivated to learn. By working together at home and school we can provide a supportive and stimulating environment in which your child can develop at his or her own rate.
Communicating Your Child's Needs
Starting school is like a journey. It takes time, preparation, and planning. In order to make your child's journey a successful one new families are invited to attend the ECC Open House. This provides families and teachers with an opportunity to ask questions, learn about our programme and begin building the important relationships between home and school. Teachers can observe the students in the classroom environment which helps us begin to know your child's learning styles and preferences. This information better informs class placements. Interviews with the parents, student and Assistant Principal also provide additional opportunities for clarifying conversations. We believe that parents and teachers must work together to better meet the needs of the children.
Prior to Starting School
Encourage your Child to be Independent
- Encourage your child to put away their own clothes and to dress and undress themselves.
- Allow your child to feed themselves and introduce basic table manners so that sitting at a table to eat and coping with lunch boxes, packets and flasks, becomes a normal part of their routine.
- Make sure your child attends to their basic needs such as getting a drink, blowing their nose, using the toilet and flushing it afterwards, controlling the water taps and leaving the bathroom clean and safe for others.
- Involve your child in general housekeeping by giving them little tasks such as setting the table or tidying their room. Teach your child to organize and care for their belongings. Learning to put away clothes, toys and other belongings tidily, encourages responsibility in other areas.
All children who enter ECC must be able to use the toilet independently. We do not accept children who are wearing nappies/diapers or throw away pants. We do not have the facilities to cater for this. Children should be able to signal or respond to a reminder to use the toilet. They must be able to clean themselves independently.
Encourage Positive Attitudes to Learning
- Spend time talking through everyday events with your child. Ask open ended questions to develop speaking skills and general knowledge. Encourage your child to ask questions and answer their questions with more questions to develop an inquiring mind.
- Share books with your child on a regular basis and make sure your child sees you reading. Expose your child to many different types of literature - comics, cook books and non-fiction.
- Encourage your child's attempts to write and accept their invented writing and spelling. Provide your child with a wide variety of writing materials and help them to make their own books, cards and posters. Avoid diminishing your child's natural enthusiasm by over correcting their work.
- Storing and ordering household objects; cooking, setting the table and counting objects are just some of the ways to foster and develop your child's mathematical thinking. Simple board and card games are a fun way to improve basic problem solving skills.
- Give your child opportunities to use technology responsibily; computers, cameras, i-pads, DVD and CD players.
- Have a collection of empty boxes, toilet rolls, cartons and egg boxes for your child to make models with.
- Have some paint available so children can also paint at home. Use a variety of objects, fingers, old toothbrush, and a straw – anything you can think of.
- Collect old bags, clothes and accessories for your child to dress up and encourage role play.
- Provide opportunities for your child to mix with other children in different environments so they can learn from each other e.g. invite a friend to your house for a play afternoon.
- Encourage risk taking and let your child know that it's all right to make mistakes. Learn to observe your child without interfering. Children learn by solving their own problems.