UP Core Subjects

Core Subjects

At HKIS, we have five core subjects. Core subjects are taught by your child's homeroom teacher. 

Click to explore each core subject further: LiteracySocial StudiesMathematicsScienceReligious Education

Literacy (Reading & Writing)

At HKIS, we believe literacy – reading, writing, speaking, and listening, is a keystone to all learning. We value questions as much as answers, process as much as product, and connections as much as content. Literacy is a transdisciplinary skill that enables us to reflect, transform and innovate to better understand the world around us.

Our Upper Primary literacy curriculum is based on best practices from the United States. Resources and research that inform literacy teaching and learning include The Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College at Columbia University, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Reading Association (IRA). During the 2014-15 school year, HKIS adopted the Common Core State Standards to ensure consistency across grades and divisions, and provide a challenging and developmentally appropriate curriculum for our students.



Social Studies

The Upper Primary Social Studies standards prepare students to actively participate in civic life in our ever changing world. Our Social Studies program builds on and extends the Common Core Literacy skills encouraging students to think critically and solve problems. Students gain knowledge through the study of civics, economics, geography and history. They practice the habits of civic life by recognizing social problems, examining an issue from different perspectives, and acting on their learning. Through this process of inquiry, students become knowledgeable, thinking, and active citizens prepared to lead in tomorrow's world.




At HKIS, we believe mathematics is a universal language that allows us to make sense of fundamental principles, ideas, patterns, problems and phenomena that surround us. Through exploring abstract and contextual mathematics, students will investigate applications and uses of mathematics in the world around them.

The Upper Primary math program follows the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M), with a major focus on the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice. The Content Standards specify skills and understandings that students should develop at each grade level. The Mathematical Practices describe the processes (problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and connections) and proficiencies (adaptive reasoning, strategic competence, conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and productive disposition) that students should develop throughout their mathematics education.

Bridges in Mathematics is the primary curricular resource. The curriculum focuses on developing students’ understanding of mathematical concepts, proficiency with key skills, and ability to solve complex problems. Bridges blends direct instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration to develop students’ mathematical thinking and reasoning abilities.




Science at HKIS focuses on developing students' scientific and engineering practices and understanding of core ideas to empower them to participate in an increasingly scientific and technological world. Through STEM based inquiry, students apply the knowledge and practices of science and mathematics, use technology for real-time data collection, carry out scientific investigations to discover answers to their questions, and creatively develop solutions to engineering design challenges.

The Upper Primary Science curriculum is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards are composed of three dimensions: disciplinary core ideas (content), science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. The NGSS is a focused and coherent progression of knowledge and practices across the Grade levels allowing for a dynamic process of building knowledge throughout a student's science education. Science and engineering are integrated into science education by raising engineering design to the same level as scientific inquiry in classroom instruction and by emphasizing the core ideas of engineering design and technology applications.



Religious Education

At HKIS, Religious Education reflects the school mission and SLRs. As a school "grounded in the Christian faith and respecting the spiritual lives of all", we provide students an academic study of religion. Religion units in the Upper Primary explore topics and ideas from a Christian perspective. Students then explore how people of other faiths view that same topic, which helps them understand how others see the world. Throughout the study of religions, students continually reflect in order to identify and develop their own spiritual identity.

HKIS has developed a unique set of standards to closely encompass our core beliefs. Our Religious Education program is developed around three standards. Each one is equally important. As students learn about Christianity and other world religions, the development of individual spirituality is the thread that ties everything together.

Standard 1: Students recognize, define, and articulate their own spiritual identity, and demonstrate how it applies to their personal decisions.

Standard 2: Students demonstrate an understanding of the Christian story and the centrality of Jesus in the Bible.

Standard 3: Students understand both the common and unique beliefs, practices, and influence of the major religions of the world.