Literacy learning is a multi-faceted process that begins early in life. Oral language is the critical foundation upon which reading, writing, hypothesizing and thinking are built. Teaching literacy to our youngest learners is based upon awareness of the different strategies that support children’s literacy learning as well as the critical role they play in the language development of children. Taking an integrated approach to literacy we utilize read alouds, guided reading, big books, writers workshops, dramatic play, and blocks as some of the tools that enable children to become accomplished readers and writers, speakers and listeners. Our goal is to enable students to become metacognitive—to be able to identify and articulate the strategies needed to become competent readers, writers, and thinkers.
Our approach is based on conceptual math, where students master mathematical ideas that can be applied into new situations and contexts. From first grade through middle school, our approach is to utilize these concepts and make them accessible to our students. Placing an emphasis on developing number sense, strong conceptual understanding, critical thinking and effective problem-solving, our program supports the mastery of facts and skills needed for success in higher level math. Our students learn math both as its own discipline and integrated in transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborative projects, extending their learning to include statistics and probability, vital for mastering the sciences and humanities.
Integral to understanding our world, physical science, earth and space science, life science and engineering design all play a central part in our transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary project-based curriculum.
All content is aligned with teaching the practices of Scientists and Engineers, so our students gain a deep understanding of core scientific ideas as well as skills in observation, experimentation and inquiry. Exploring important scientific problems and design challenges, students learn to apply scientific and engineering thinking and practice, asking their own questions and finding their own answers.
As part of our commitment to world class scholarship and research, we're developing our campus to include 14 subject-specific science labs – covering everything from Aeronautics to Genetics, Quantum Physics to Space Exploration, allowing us to provide expert practitioners with fellowships and facilities for research, while our students (grades 8 and up) work alongside them as apprentices.
Arts and Humanities
Our arts and humanities program provides the foundation for exploring and understanding the human experience, including literature, history, biography, geography, economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy.
Aligned with the American National Social Studies Standards, our curriculum immerses students in the arts and humanities by asking questions and engaging in design challenges, participating actively in the ongoing human quest to learn, reflect, create and contribute. Our Upper School students complete a year-long interdisciplinary seminar, providing the intellectual grounding for their entire education with us. This exposes them to seminal texts such as Homer’s The Iliad and Orwell’s 1984, and engages with them through critical reading, writing, interpretation and discussion.
Our students interact with technology, computer science and the arts, not as consumers, but as creators engaged both in self-expression and creative problem solving.
This approach is exemplified by our YES! Lab, a resource giving students access to 3D printers and fabrication materials and tools used by engineers and artists. Materials include electroconductive paint/pens, electronics and robotics, wood and paint, crayons and clay. Our interdisciplinary, collaborative project-based learning engages students in teams creating meaningful works of art and engineering, solving real problems of societal and personal relevance, and working with artists-in-residence and experts in a wide range of fields.
Central to our students' spiritual and cultural development is the study of Islam, as well as Saudi Arabia’s history and geography along with an immersive Arabic language program. We offer a “Heritage Arabic” program for students who speak Arabic as a mother tongue, and “Arabic as an Additional Language” for second-language learners of Arabic.
In addition to class-based learning, field work forms an essential component of our curriculum. Our students benefit from: internships with national and international companies or organizations, spanning from three weeks to an entire term; study abroad opportunities at the finest high schools in the world; mentoring, independent study, and the Capstone Senior Thesis Project – a substantive work of research, artistry, civic leadership and entrepreneurial activity that students present and defend in front of a graduating committee of outside experts, teachers, administrators and parents.