IB Primary Years Programme
The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) is a recognised leader in the field of international education. IB programmes encourage students to be reflective, active lifelong learners and critical thinkers. IB students are forever curious, fully-engaged citizens, who both embrace their own culture and are open and responsive to other cultures. Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Organisation currently works with almost 2,500 schools in 132 countries to develop and offer programmes to over 670,000 students.
The IB Mission Statement
At its heart, the IBO is motivated by a mission to create a better world through education. This is captured in the IB mission statement: "The International Baccalaureate Organisation aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect." To this end, the IBO works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programs of international education. These encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
What is the PYP?
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme is a curriculum framework designed for students aged 3 to 12. The PYP focuses on developing the whole child in preparation for the intellectual challenges of higher education and their awaiting vocations. The student is assisted in becoming an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the broader world. The PYP is a curriculum framework built around the essential elements of knowledge, skills, concepts, attitudes and action. It has enabled us here at ISWA to construct a rigorous and challenging programme of international education called our Programme of Inquiry (POI). The POI is used from Kindergarten to Year 6. It includes five units of inquiry taught in Kindergarten and six in each other year level (Pre-Primary to Year 6) every year. This makes a total of 47 units occurring every year.
Our aim is to create a broad and balanced program that is engaging, significant, relevant and challenging. Please view our current POI by clicking the link below.
Units of inquiry:
Students inquire into and learn about local and global issues in the context of units of inquiry, each of which addresses a particular transdisciplinary theme, a particular perspective on understanding the world (see below). Each unit of inquiry:
• is an engaging, challenging, relevant and significant experience
• is part of the school-wide programme of inquiry that focuses on global significance
• draws together elements of different subject areas to support the exploration of a central idea.
Through the units of inquiry, the essential elements of the PYP are meaningfully brought together as a whole, coherent approach to teaching and learning.
Inquiry is a collaborative process of connecting to and reaching beyond current understandings to explore tensions relevant to the learner,’ (Kathy Short, Inquiry as A Stance On Curriculum, p.12, Taking the PYP Forward, 2009)
Inquiry can be described as students’ learning through experience. They naturally attempt to understand the world around them by following their natural curiosity into the things around them. They then naturally discover problems, challenges or interesting things that they inquire into to build great understanding, knowledge and therefore action.
There are many models of inquiry. Currently, we draw from Kath Murdoch’s model which includes a series of stages called:
- Tuning In
- Finding Out
- Sorting Out
- Making Connections
- Going Further
- Taking Action
You can view more of Kath Murdoch’s work at http://www.kathmurdoch.com.au/
IB Essential Elements:
The Essential Elements of the Primary Years Programme are five areas that must be included in the development and teaching of the program. They include:
Knowledge - The six Transdisciplinary Themes:
- How the World Works
- Where We Are In Place & Time
- Sharing the Planet
- How We Express Ourselves
- Who We Are
- How We Organise Ourselves
Skills: Students learn and apply skills throughout the units of inquiry:
- Thinking Skills
- Research Skills
- Communication Skills
- Social Skills
- Self-Management Skills
Concepts: The big ideas that we focus on and which help to make connections across disciplines:
Attitudes – These are the disposition of mind that help us to understand each unit
Action – Action is a responsible act as a result of learning. It could extend the student’s learning and possibly have a wider social impact. Action also looks clearly different within each age range. The IB action process offers learners the opportunity and the power:
- to choose to act
- to decide on their actions
- to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in and to the world
Further information on the key findings from research of the impact of the benefits of the IB PYP programme can be found at this link.