The FIDS curriculum emphasizes strong academic skills with facility in multiple languages, computer use, music, visual arts, and physical education. Students achieve high levels of proficiency in academic areas through hands-on, direct-learning experiences, which encourage independent reasoning skills. Each grade’s curriculum includes activity-based instruction, rather than solely rote memorization and drill. Cross-curricular, theme-based teaching methods explore and reinforce a topic across multiple subjects – literature, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), art, history, science, and social studies. Mandarin Chinese and Spanish classes integrate with STEM, history, geography, social studies, art, and music. The Chinese program presents culture, dance, and ideals with the aim of boosting self-esteem while developing an appreciation for our ethnically and religiously diverse world. Daily physical education promotes leadership and team responsibility, as well as developing gross and fine motor skills.
The Early Childhood Program maintains a small teacher-to-student ratio to make learning a more personal experience. Fisher Island and South Florida weather provide a unique opportunity for outdoor explorations to observe nature, weather, seasons and the elements, extending the classroom experience outdoors. On-island golf cart trips (with safety belts!) present a multi-sensory experience in which all five senses become a part of the children’s learning. A few examples of local trips include visits to a market, where students use math skills to purchase fresh fruit; a marina, where children count the manatees; and the aviary, where students observe and feed exotic birds.
As older students navigate through social studies themes, FIDS encourages questioning and debate, expanded research, and investigation to support the questioning process. As students rise through the grades, reading and language arts are increasingly emphasized, encouraging students to express their ideas and understanding of what they have learned and their perception of the world and their needs for the future. Students take part in the writing process throughout the school day, with emphasis focused on grammar development, mechanics, handwriting, and expression. The mathematics program emphasizes practical applications, a grounded understanding of mathematics vocabulary, and the reinforcement of already acquired skills. The School strives to promote a genuine interest in history and social studies in students, and teachers allow free investigation into ideas and topics. In addition, with a commitment to early foreign language instruction in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, the Social Studies curriculum is complemented with essential knowledge of Latin American and Asian culture and traditions. The STEM curriculum is introduced and experienced through discovery, hands-on projects and activities, group investigations, and independent research. In addition to our own fully-equipped, STEM lab, Fisher Island serves as an excellent "science lab" in which to study the ocean, flora, fauna, and various biomes. Plus, the Fisher Island Observatory is ideal for studying the night sky.