Curriculum by Subject
- Language Arts
- Social Studies / History
- Communication Skills
- World Languages
- Physical Education
- Fine Arts
Engaging, multisensory, and developmentally-appropriate lessons in Reading, Writing, Grammar, Oral Language, and Research Skills form the core of Language Arts studies.
As students progress though the grades, their reading and writing becomes more fluent and proficient. Teachers use a range of strategies to support student language development including creative thinking and collaborative assignments that build reading comprehension, teacher-guided lessons to promote vocabulary and spelling acquisition, narrative, persuasive and expository writing, and the use of multiple reading genres to increase interest and broaden appreciation. Poetry reading and the figurative language used by poets forms the basis for poetry appreciation and composition.
Grammar and usage instruction enhances student writing and includes sentence diagramming in the upper grades. Students grow in their ability to articulate their ideas on paper and in oral presentations as integrated literature and social studies units provide ample opportunities for both skills.
Immanuel is a leader in technology innovation and integration among area Christian schools. MovieMaker, Pixie 3, Scratch, and other digital story-telling programs are a few of the many computer resources used to encourage language development, respond to reading, and add depth and variety to writing assignments. Technology is central to today’s research process, and students at ICS learn to search the Internet safely and efficiently for information used in reports, brochures, essays, and the formal research paper.
Critical thinking, collaboration, and creative problem solving activities are central to the study of world and national history, geography, civics and culture in the Social Studies and History curriculum.
Understanding diverse people groups and their histories is essential in our multi-cultural society. Developing an appreciation for the past, combined with knowledge of the present, gives Immanuel students the framework to become informed, involved citizens. Not just a rote memorization of dates and places, social studies classes combine the power of the Internet in accessing primary and secondary sources, lively classroom discussion and inquiry-based projects to make history come alive. Strands developed sequentially through all grades include knowledge and content goals in history, geography, economics, cultural-social-political structures, democratic values in national identity and citizenship, and thinking skills in study, communication and participation.
Field trips get children out of the classroom and expose them to the historically rich locations in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Students in middle school come face to face with American history in trips to Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and the Bull Run Battlefield. Children in the lower school learn about the building blocks of a society as they visit local farms and stores and the National Building Museum. Destinations such as Mount Vernon and Gadsby’s Tavern acquaint fourth grade students with daily life in colonial America while third grade students visit the Native American Museum to enrich their studies of our country’s first inhabitants.
At Immanuel, classroom teachers pair high quality historical novels with history studies. This integration of literature and social studies themes contributes to a well-rounded view of an historical time or place. Content area integration also adds depth and insight to the study of people, places and events in a historical setting and promotes higher order thinking as students synthesize information from discrete subjects.
The ability to read with fluency and comprehension is one of the most vital academic skills in any school. Immanuel embraces the need for both competency and enjoyment in reading by choosing the best available novels, stories, and expository texts available for early childhood through young adult stages. Our goal is to create life-long readers whose love of reading will lead to success in future academic, professional and personal endeavors.
Many children enter kindergarten with basic reading skills, while others experience the “Aha!” moment later in their primary school experience. Primary reading classes address the needs of the individual learner through tiered reading groups that use a combination of basal readers and phonics instruction to help students grow in their word recognition, vocabulary, oral reading and comprehension abilities. Reading instruction addresses various learning styles through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities that supplement reading of texts.
High quality, award-winning books form the basis for the reading curriculum. Caldecott and Newbery award novels and books chosen for their relevance to student writing projects are featured in each class. In the primary grades, author units with well-respected writers such as Jan Brett, Eric Carle, and Kevin Henkes model imagination and creativity in writing. Beginning in second grade, historical novels complement social studies instruction and provide an added dimension to students’ understanding of historical events and people. Classic works are featured in middle school, including The Hobbit, Animal Farm, Johnny Tremain and works by William Shakespeare.
Our comprehensive Math program motivates students to build on prior knowledge to learn, understand, and apply new concepts. The in-depth study of numbers, patterns, relationships, measurement, estimation, inference, and logic forms the foundation for critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills.
Immanuel Christian School follows a best practices approach to teaching mathematics with a logical progression in the presentation of skills and concepts. Math is viewed as an applied science that deals with relationships among quantity, measurement, and properties. Instructional methods include, but are not limited to, systematic and explicit instruction, drill, peer-tutoring, individualized assistance, self-instruction, mnemonics, modeling, cooperative learning, math labs, tiered projects, movement and music, and hands-on activities. Math teachers use technology tools such as Active Boards to demonstrate computation and applied math, for virtual manipulatives, and to enhance mathematical thought and understanding. While calculators are introduced in first grade, primary math instruction features extensive use of manipulatives to develop representational number concepts.
ICS is committed to instruction based on developmental readiness. Gifted or high-achieving math students in the primary and elementary grades participate in Math Explorers, in which advanced math, logic problems, and games stimulate critical thinking. Beginning in fifth grade, math classes are divided by ability level to ensure that students who demonstrate early Algebra readiness progress to high school level Algebra and Geometry in middle school. To meet the needs of striving students, ICS math teachers offer additional assistance in areas of weakness on an as-needed basis. Teacher assistance is offered in a variety of ways, including lunch-time tutoring and special activities that are designed to ensure each child has the chance to perform at his or her full potential.
As a part of the Immanuel Christian School science curriculum, students are taught to thoughtfully and analytically engage the world around them. Lessons emphasize critical thinking, and pondering questions and problems instead of rote memorization of facts. Rigorous academic instruction is designed to challenge and excite students as they connect theory with the natural world.
In the primary grades, students begin scientific inquiry and experiments using science kits and teacher-created lessons. In third through fifth grade, students work with a hands-on curriculum that allows them to study environmental and physical science. The students observe and study a variety of plants and various organisms such as ants, fruit flies, aphids, ladybugs, hermit crabs and anoles to learn more about their structure, growth and development, and impact on their habitat. Through awareness of the worldwide environmental community (including plants, animals, and humans), students understand the importance of stewardship of the earth. The curriculum also encourages science that parents and children can do together such as gardening and recycling
Students also study forms of energy such as sound, light, heat, and motion. Basic principles, theories, systems, and concepts are explored through the scientific method using processing skills that enable them to question and test their hypotheses about the interactions observed in the world around them.
In sixth grade, students are taught Earth Science which includes rocks, minerals, the earth’s interior, space exploration, stars, and weather. Seventh grade science begins with microbiology and expands to instruction on more complex life forms. Cells are viewed under microscopes before learning about tissues, organ systems, and ecosystems. Eighth grade students explore concepts of physics and chemistry, learning the Periodic Table of Elements and how the basic elements combine and recombine to form the natural world. Motion is brought to life from the stationary pages of the textbook as students race toy cars to measure speed and launch bottle rockets to experiment with propulsion.
The ability to clearly express one’s ideas in a variety of text and speech platforms is a highly valued commodity in today’s world. At Immanuel, opportunities to build communication skills are included in every unit in every subject area of the school.
Communication skills include speaking, listening, reading, print and online writing/publishing, and the use of digital story-telling tools. Within each of these categories exists a range of purposes and audiences that shape the content of each task. At ICS, we work with students across content areas to establish and improve every area of academic and interpersonal communication. From the kindergarten Christmas play in which children recite a prepared speech for an audience of parents and peers, to the intellectual and informative requirements of acting as a docent in the fifth grade Egyptian museum, to the academic structure of a formal research paper, students are taught to communicate effectively, confidently and respectfully.
In the writing disciplines, whether the task is informative, persuasive, or creative, students develop proficiency in word choice, complete sentences, coherent paragraphing, correct grammar and syntax, and the use of technical and/or figurative language. Keyboarding skills are introduced in the elementary grades to provide children with comfort and confidence in writing with electronic platforms. Primary students practice good handwriting skills, including an introduction to cursive writing. As the act of letter formation begins to require less effort, students can express themselves with greater accuracy and fluency.
Students practice oral language skills on a daily basis at ICS. In middle and elementary classrooms, students take turns preparing and leading the morning devotional time and participate in classroom discussions and Socratic seminars. Development of speech skills is not confined to Language Arts classes. Students in science and math classes are called on to present their evidence for answers and conclusions. With continued practice and constructive feedback from teachers, students progressively increase their comfort level and expertise in oral expression.
The ICS Library supports the ICS curriculum by providing quality reading, multi-media, and instructional materials to both faculty and students. Our collection of 18,000 volumes is balanced and responsive to the curriculum and recreational reading needs of our students. Click here to visit our library website where you can:
- Access online research tools.
- Find reading lists to inspire your student.
- See links to book review sites.
- Learn more about our library policies.
Frequent class visits are an essential part of the library program. Primary grades (K-2) participate in book selection, storytelling, and basic library instruction. Elementary grades (3-5) focus on online catalog proficiency, material location skills, reference resource mastery, and an understanding of literary genre. Middle school grades (6-8) utilize the library for recreational reading selection and class research projects. Special instruction is given on information literacy strategies, such as bibliographic citation, internet search techniques and resources, and understanding plagiarism and copyright standards. Library staff is present during all class visits to aid in material selection, reference requests, and program direction.
Looking for a good read or a specific title? Click to access our online catalog.
Partnering with parents to develop the Christian character of their children is a principal goal and responsibility of the staff and faculty of Immanuel Christian School. The Character-in-Action program facilitates the realization of that goal by working with teachers and parents to integrate Christ-like values and activities in the classroom and providing service opportunities outside the walls of ICS.
Each homeroom class adopts two character traits which are the focal point of age-appropriate classroom activities and service projects. For example, one of the fifth grade character traits is diligence; this trait is worked out in diligent prayer on behalf of local police and first responders. This relationship with local officials is also an example of an important aspect of CIA – class service projects. Each grade level is involved in meaningful interaction with adults or other children in the community. The second grade makes regular visits to residents at Leewood Assisted Living in Annandale, bringing joy and friendship to the elderly residents. Students in seventh grade make regular Book Buddy visits to kindergarten classes at Annandale Terrace Elementary School, and eighth grade students volunteer at Access Ministry in McLean to interact with children with developmental disabilities.
In an effort to enhance character training, each student has a “CIA Journal” in which they periodically write about an event or experience that has had an important impact on their life. This type of journaling allows students to reflect on the personal meaning of service to others.
Spanish language familiarity, acquisition and proficiency are taught in grades K-8. The Lower School Spanish program consists of 30-minute, weekly classes that focus on acquiring vocabulary, developing listening and inference skills, and speaking basic conversational phrases. The classes combine music, games, and hands-on activities to encourage long-term retention. To further maintain language skills and develop cultural awareness, the students in grades K-2 have prayer partnerships with missionaries in Spain and Mexico. This ongoing partnership provides an inside look at Hispanic culture as well as a meaningful opportunity for spiritual development.
The academic goal of twice-weekly Spanish classes in Grades 6-8 is designed to teach the language with purpose and context, and in preparation for the 8th grade Performance Assessment which determines readiness for high school Spanish. More emphasis is placed on grammar and vocabulary and the ability to converse comfortably in Spanish.
The PE program at Immanuel emphasizes the importance of personal fitness, sportsmanship, athletic skills, healthy eating, and affirmative social relationships. Classes meet twice weekly for Grades 3rd-8th and three times a week in Grades kindergarten-2nd taking advantage of the excellent athletic facilities provided to the school.
Students in the Upper School are eligible to participate in an array of interscholastic sports: soccer, cross-country, basketball, lacrosse and softball. Practices and games take place on the school athletic field and in the newly-renovated gymnasium.
Regular PE classes begin with calisthenics to develop muscle tone, flexibility and strength. Primary students learn cooperative play and acquire motor skills and endurance through a variety of developmentally appropriate games and activities. Emphasis is placed on sportsmanship, honesty, and fair play at all grade levels. Students at every grade level learn the rules and knowledge necessary to play a variety of team sports.
Students at each grade level enjoy the many technology tools available at ICS and grow in their ability to discover and utilize the various facets of technology. From graphic drawing, multi-media and desktop publishing projects in the lower grades to web design, digital storytelling and online research skills in the upper grades, students at Immanuel benefit from the priority placed on technology tools and innovation by the faculty, administration and school board.
The technology program at ICS is fully integrated into the content areas of the curriculum. It encourages proficiency at developmentally appropriate levels through specific skills and problem solving. The acquisition of computer proficiency lays the foundation for continuous learning, with the focus on learning by using technology as opposed to learning about technology.
Technology instruction encompasses projects using standard software programs and research using online resources. Mobile labs complete with laptops and printers turn every classroom into a lab and allows for the use of technology to enhance learning. Each classroom is likewise equipped with interactive whiteboards, projectors, and speakers. A full-time Instructional Media Specialist assists teachers with project preparation and maintains web resources.
Every student, from kindergarten through eighth grade, is encouraged to explore areas of giftedness in fine arts. The visual arts enable students to develop creativity through use of a variety of mediums while the performing arts encourages the development of communication and leadership skills as students engage with one another. The arts play an important role at Immanuel Christian School and students in every grade are exposed and refine their artistic abilities as they grow and develop.
Bible curriculum at Immanuel is aimed at the heart of each child, introducing them to the stories, characters and truths of the Bible, encouraging them to grow in their Christian faith, and providing a deep pool of memorized scripture which will be a source of wisdom, strength and comfort throughout life.
Bible instruction is an integral part of each day at ICS. The school day begins with a devotional time in which teachers and students read and discuss passages of scripture or biblically based stories, and pray for one another’s concerns. Bible classes are integrated with the curriculum and are designed to enhance the understanding of Bible characters, theological concepts, and the Christian life. Of greatest importance, children learn about the character of God and the person and work of Jesus Christ. Bible teachers emphasize a personal response to the teachings of scripture.
Bible memorization is an important part of the Bible curriculum, and children at each grade level memorize individual verses and passages of scripture to recite on a weekly and quarterly basis. Based on the biblical admonition to “hide God’s word in your heart,” Bible memorization enriches the soul and has the added educational benefit of stimulating both short and long-term memory recall. Students can also memorize the annual Bonus Verse which is based on a theme of scripture.
Lower School chapel meets every other week where students sing worship songs, read scripture, and listen to a speaker discuss the Character Trait of the Month. Upper School Chapel meets weekly and also includes corporate worship, scripture, and a featured speaker.