School is divided into three divisions: First Program, Middle School and Upper School. The First Program consists of grades K1 to grade 4, Middle School consists of grades 5 to 8, and Upper School consists of grades 9 to 12. HCAS utilizes 40 minutes segments for the First Program, and Middle and Upper Schools use the block schedule of 80 minutes. For Upper School, one subject requires 120 hours (7,200 minutes) of class or contact time with the faculty member over the course of one academic year (180 school days) to fulfill the Carnegie Credit Units (CCU).
Foreign Language Requirements
HCAS is an English medium of instruction school. Chinese, Spanish, and French are offered as foreign languages. All Upper grade students are required to take foreign language courses as a graduation requirement. Students can opt out of the Chinese Language requirements by taking the AP test or continue to take higher levels of Chinese during their Upper School years. French and Spanish are offered as a foreign language for four years in Upper School. For the First Program and Middle School, Spanish and French are offered as a co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
In our kindergarten, we strongly believe that every child is innately motivated to learn, and we strive to create curriculum that are meaningful and appealing to the students. As a result, all the lessons are designed based on our students’ interests and learning needs. Our teachers incorporate Vygotsgy’s Zone of Proximal Development theory into our practices. We know the importance of peer interactions, so we encourage students to learn from and with each other. We also support the children’s learning by providing scaffolding, aiming to help every child grow in all the developmental areas.
Developing the Whole Child
We aim to equip our students with the following skills in HCAS Pre-K (K1 and K2):
Socio-emotional skills: Researches have indicated that prosocial behaviors and emotional stability positively correlate to students’ future academic achievement. As kindergarten is the very first environment where young children acquire social skills, children in HCAS Pre-K will spend most of their time learning and practicing social behaviors through playing.
Life skills: Teaching children taking responsibility of their lives is an important aspect in Early Childhood Education. Therefore, in HCAS Pre-K, teachers expect our students to develop problem-solving skills that are appropriate in the management of their personal affairs. We give students opportunities to learn and practice life skills.
Cognitive skills: The teachers will help our students develop cognitive skills that are critical in children’s early ages, including executive functions (problem-solving, self-control, reasoning, attentional skills, self-monitoring…etc.) and basic academic concepts.
Moving Up to Kindergarten (K3)
This is the year that your child becomes ‘Elementary school-ready’, developing their independence, confidence, resilience and curiosity. Leaving Pre-K behind and moving into K Class can feel like a big step for both children and their parents. Nevertheless, we are here to help making this transition easier by providing supports to children and families. We encourage parents and families to work in partnership with us to gain the best outcomes for your child in this important developmental year.
The children will still be learning through play and spontaneous exploring. Our typical day in K would be more structured that it was in Pre-K as children will do more table work and sit for longer lessons. However, children will still be learning in a variety of ways: outdoor activities, group discussions, and play.
Developing basic academic skills
Language and literacy
Phonics: Phonics is the fundamental component of literacy for emergent readers. Children will start to expand on their knowledge of phonics and will definitely surprise you with just how quickly they develop their reading. They will do 40 minutes of phonics learning three times a week. These are fun, sessions, which involve interactive games and tasks. They will learn sight words, spelling rules, and sounding out words. They will start writing with inventive spelling by phonetically sounding out words.
Topics and stories: Children will be learning through a topic this year, which makes lessons relevant and exciting. They will learn English through all sorts of wonderful stories and they will act out stories that may be familiar to you at home. We use many themes from western culture but also incorporate and celebrate Taiwanese cultural heritage. They will learn to write in sentences and to use exciting language — all while improving their handwriting.
Math lessons this year will be enjoyable, with plenty of hands-on activities. Your child will count with manipulatives and work in groups to explore shapes and patterns. Children will learn numbers over 20 and will learn to use a 100 square to help with their adding and subtracting. Number bonds will also be reinforced. They will learn to count forwards and backwards, in 2s, 5s, 10s, and they will learn about money and clocks. They will do our ‘i math’ program which is designed to aid the development of logic and pattern recognition. This helps gain skills in independent thinking.
At HCAS, we are proud to offer our First Program (elementary) students a diverse and well-rounded curriculum. Our core curriculum encompasses Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. We also offer students an enriched curriculum in Art, Music, Physical Education/ACAT, Computer Science, Education on Morals/Ethics, and Health Education. English is our primary language of instruction; however, students take daily courses in Chinese as well. Students are also given time to further explore subjects they are interested in during lab, with a teacher as their mentor. In addition to the curriculum, students are also offered a wide variety of daily extracurricular activities.
Our highly competent and talented faculty and staff work together to organize school events such as field trips, contests, and fairs. We also collaborate with parents through ongoing communication, so we can ensure that every child’s needs are met as they progress through their education.
It is important for us that our students look forward to coming to school every day. We recognize the importance of fostering a positive learning environment where our students can develop a love for learning that they will carry for the rest of their lives. We understand that children learn in different ways and at different paces, and we strive to accommodate the needs of individual students. Our faculty and staff are dedicated in assuring that each and every student feels comfortable as part of a learning community where he/she can grow physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. Every class is encouraged to have their own sense of classroom community, and to be part of the greater school and local communities. Students regularly work in groups to develop a strong foundation of communication and problem-solving skills needed for an ever-changing world in the 21st century. Most importantly, our students are encouraged to become independent and inquisitive learners, as they prepare for education beyond the First Program.
First Program Schedule
Class schedule can be different depending on the homeroom teacher.
Middle School in Hsinchu County American School (HCAS) will include fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. From the 2018-2019 academic year, the Middle School homerooms will be housed on the 3rd floor of the building. The lower Middle School includes grades 5 and 6 and upper Middle School grades includes grades 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Middle School Schedule
Upper School Course Options
At Hsinchu County American School (HCAS), English, History, Languages, Math, and Science are considered as core courses. A student taking a full course load (honors-university preparatory and Advanced Placement courses) will graduate with 26 credits. 1 credit consists of 3 courses of 80 minutes per week (with 5 min break) for one year. School contact days are approximately 180 days per year. Entry into all AP subjects is restricted by prerequisites.