Elementary education is critical to academic success in later years. Our goal in elementary is to teach students not just content but to develop their passion for life-long learning. During their elementary years, we guide them in developing a solid foundation for academic excellence and character that will stay with them for the rest of their life.

Our Elementary program includes grades 1 to 5. The classrooms are purposely designed to create an environment where all students are working together on student-centered activities and projects. Our small class sizes allow for individualized attention when needed.

Our diverse student body brings many unique experiences, which is one reason our school is a powerful learning environment. As students learn from one another, they grow in the ability to accept and embrace those who may be different from them, yet have special gifts to share. We emphasize character building and how to respect one another through our character education program. We prepare students to realize their full potential in academics, character, truth, and service.

Elise Mosher
Elementary Principal


Students in grades 1 through 5 study science, social studies, reading, writing, math, Chinese, and character education.

Elementary students progress through math education from basic numeration to complex equations by the end of fifth grade in preparation for basic algebra in Middle School. Students at all elementary grade levels also receive daily writing instruction that focuses on narrative (story) writing, opinion and persuasive writing, and informational writing and research skills. Students have daily reading to increase fluency and comprehension of text in both fiction and nonfiction genres. Students study science units such as environments and habitats, plant and animal life, electricity and matter, and space. In social studies, students learn about history and culture, as well as, basic government and economic structures of countries and nations all around the world. Students receive daily instruction in Chinese language and culture and also daily character education.

To show quarterly measurement of each student’s progress, students receive percentage grades in core subject areas. These grades include daily assignments, assessments, and participation. Students’ progress is also monitored throughout the school year through data gathered from the NWEA Map assessment that is taken three times a year. Lastly, the International Schools Assessment (ISA) is also administered annually to our third through fifth graders in order to evaluate our teaching and learning goals, as well as to track student progress.

Language arts

The primary goal of language arts instruction in the lower school is to inspire students to read for pleasure, learn new information, share their thoughts and feelings, and speak confidently and dynamically. To meet those goals, teachers in grades K-3 focus on reading skills that include print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and fluency. In grades 4 and 5, reading instruction focuses on vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension.

History & social studies

A strong understanding of social studies and history is the foundation of well-informed, civic-minded citizens. Our 1-5 scope and sequence begins with exploring relationships that students have within their immediate circle of family, friends, teachers, and neighbors. Then students learn the basics of geography, economics, and citizenship in the context of expanding their view to include the local community.


Just as children explore concentrically larger circles of community in social studies, the science curriculum teaches them to understand and appreciate the physical world around them. Students take part in engaging, hands-on investigation focused on the following four areas.


K-5 math instruction and curriculum are carefully designed to allow students to connect with, build upon, and refine their mathematical understandings. Six content strands are at the core of instruction in all grade levels: number and numeration, operations and computation, data and chance, measurement and reference frames, geometry, patterns, and functions, and algebra.

Special Programs



The Mastery of the English language is crucial for each student to be successful at an international school. To determine the level of English language support needed, all non-native English-speaking students are tested for English during the admissions process. The English Language Learning (ELL) Program develops individual learning plans for non-native English speakers from Kindergarten – 10th Grade according to the English language needs of each individual student. The ELL Program is a continuum extending from ELL classes offering intensive English instruction separate from the daily classroom to structured English Language support within the daily classroom. Through close interaction with parents and CDIS Staff, ELL teachers provide students with help in all areas of language acquisition (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in order to reach a high level of English language proficiency and achieve full participation in CDIS curricula. Students receiving English support services are assessed twice annually, at the middle and end of the year, on their progress with English proficiency.

Elementary English Support

We offer English Language Learning (ELL) classes for our English Learners. These students receive English language lessons from language specialists in a variety of ways. Beginning English speakers that require more intensive English support receive daily English vocabulary and grammar instruction as a pull-out from the main classroom. Beginning English speakers, as well as, intermediate English speakers also receive support from the English specialist during the literacy (reading and writing) period each day through a combination of small group and one-on-one support while remaining in the main classroom. Students are placed according to their own level of need based on individualized testing. When students have demonstrated English proficiency based upon testing, students are exited from the program.

Learning Support


CDIS has a Learning Support Team dedicated to meeting the students with specific special needs. If you feel your child has a specific learning or behavioral need, or if your child is coming from a school where they were enrolled in a special program for such needs, please notify the school at the time of enrollment.



Chinese Language & Culture

CDIS’s Chinese Language Department has worked closely with our sister schools from International Schools Consortium (ISC) to develop the ISC Chinese Language and Culture program. We recognize that the Chinese language is an increasingly important communication tool in the global community. Our Chinese curriculum provides a clear framework of lessons that challenge students at their level to speak, understand, read and write in Chinese, as well as understand and appreciate the many different aspects of Chinese culture and history.

Levels & Differentiation

CDIS students are placed in appropriate classes based on their language level. For Elementary school classes, grades 1 and 2 there are three levels and for grades 3 to 5, there are five levels. The Chinese language teachers at CDIS create engaging activities that connect with the different learning styles of their students. Differentiation is also applied in relation to the students’ progress.

Library and Technology Support Services


Library Services

The CDIS library is a vibrant, welcoming environment for students, staff and parents. We strive to ensure that not only are learning needs met but also that every child feels valued and happy. Our Library resources support the teaching of the curriculum and develop our students’ interests and hobbies.

Our Library Strives To:
• Ensure learners grow as competent, ethical users and producers of ideas and information.
• Prepare life-long learners who are effective communicators, critical researchers and problem solvers.
• Collaborate and share with audiences beyond our school walls.
• Model our school’s mission and support learners in the pursuit of aesthetic growth and personal learning pathways.

To this end, a collection of books has been selected to support teaching and learning activities. Chinese books have also been acquired to support Chinese language learning. In addition, we have a collection of e-resources including online newspapers and magazines, which children can access on their iPads. We use a color code system to help our English language learners to find books with more ease and encourage families to donate fiction and nonfiction books in Japanese, Chinese and Korean to help round out our diverse collection.


Instructional Technology

At CDIS, we see technology as a tool that supports a school community and facilitates learning. We recognize the enormous potential of modern technology to enhance and enrich learning, and are committed to preparing our children to be successful in a society permeated with technology.

As an important tool, both inside and outside of the classroom, students use technology to inquire, communicate and safely take risks. Through our technology program, we ensure that every student in our community has access to campus and worldwide electronic resources. These tools encourage students to adopt and employ technology during their time at CDIS, preparing them for college and professional environments as true digital citizens.

Every building on the campus is connected to our data networks allowing students to wirelessly access electronic material in all academic and community spaces. School bandwidth has significantly increased over the past few years to better support classroom initiatives, cloud computing, multimedia and improve the overall student experience. In accordance with our standards, students must abide by acceptable use policies and guidelines found in the school handbook. To help encourage these standards our network is regularly monitored and acceptable barriers have been put in place for the safety of our students.

CDIS also has access to two PC labs and one MAC lab, as well as laptops and ipads for use by classroom teachers to enhance and enrich classroom lessons. High school students are encouraged to participate in our one-to-one computing program by having and utilizing a laptop in daily instruction. Students receive support for technology use through the IT department on campus.

Progress & Reporting

PowerSchool is the most widely used web-based student information system, supporting 10 million students over 65 countries. Benefits for parents and students include: real-time grades, attendance, comments, assignments, scores and much more…right from the teacher’s gradebook directly to students and parents.




The best learning is active and engaged. It can be found in ordinary places. These activities energize students and help them to see the holistic connections between mind, body, and spirit. Activities outside the classroom are not merely add-ons to the core curriculum. They are a continuous enrichment, a way to sustain and deepen learning.

At CDIS, we believe that co-curricular activities are an important part of education that extends beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities provide motivation for learning, character building, physical growth and creativity while developing confidence and educating the whole child. Students are encouraged to participate and explore all opportunities that interest them. Students who are involved in Co-curricular opportunities become more invested in the school experience, therefore increasing the opportunity for higher academic performance and social well-being.



Our PE program is focused on building a foundation of teamwork, dedication, and discipline. In addition to character development, through regular practice and exercise, the fine-motor and gross-motor development of our Elementary students is enhanced.


Art is an important part of our Elementary curriculum. Students interact with basic materials and techniques, which gives them a foundation in the visual arts. In addition to expressing creativity, new skills are taught in these classes and the fine-motor skills that emerge during the Elementary years are refined. Music classes give students an outlet for using and improving their musical talents, as well as a solid foundation of music theory and skills. Through listening and creating music, students learn teamwork, discipline, and how to be expressive.


After-school activities are a great tool in our aim to develop well-rounded students. CDIS sponsors a number of after-school activities that give Elementary students an opportunity to explore and excel in a particular sport, hobby, or area of interest. The options of activities vary per quarter. Examples of recent activities include baseball, soccer, chess, ping-pong, baking, basketball, cross-country, perler beads, and Minecraft. Other activities may include art, crafts, Chinese calligraphy, drama, and paper cutting. We also offer opportunities for students to compete with other schools in Chengdu through the Chengdu International School Association (CISA). Many of our students compete in swimming, track and field, cross-country, spelling, and chess.

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