Elementary PreK – 5
The vision of the school is to ‘inspire thinkers and doers to shape a better world’, and in the elementary school, teachers weave the learner profile into the fabric of the school culture in order to mold students into caring, globally-minded citizens. By encouraging students to be caring, open-minded and reflective, teachers cultivate habits of mind that will also help them to realize our motto of being ‘difference makers, future shapers’.
The Primary Years Programme is a curriculum framework that teachers use to plan what they teach and assess. Learning is concept-based and transdisciplinary, and a unit of inquiry can integrate at least three or more disciplines. The Programme of Inquiry (POI) is the foundation upon which units are designed and built. Teachers facilitate inquiry and encourage students to collaborate, ask burning questions and provoke their thinking through discussions and simulations. Visible thinking strategies are routine, and the use of technology in the teaching and learning process equips students with the 21st century skills that are vital to a changing world. The concepts, knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students acquire propel them into taking action that can make a difference.
Exploring Beyond the Classroom
Learning at ISPS goes beyond the classroom as students explore and make connections in the real world through various activities such as field trips, guest speakers, research, and firsthand experience. They develop essential skills that help them to become better thinkers, communicators, team players, researchers, as well as learn to manage themselves. Students visit the local community to get a first-hand experience that helps them make connections to concepts studied within units of inquiry. For example, in Grade 4, students explore the power of persuasion in language and media through their “How We Express Ourselves" unit. To understand how this is applied in the real world, they visit an advertising agency where they speak with the employees to get a sense of the creativity, cooperation, and hard work that go into creating an advertisement. Following this, students design their own print ad using the techniques that they have learnt. Kindergarten visits a well-known pottery for their “Exploring Our World” unit where they learn more about the Hindu celebration Divali, and its significance to the Hindu community. They use their sense of touch and sight to create small clay pots known as ‘deyas’ that are lit on Divali.
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) focuses on the heart as well as the mind, and addresses social, physical, emotional and cultural needs along with academic needs. At the heart of the PYP is a commitment to structured inquiry as a vehicle for learning. It provides an internationally designed model for the learner to construct meaning and incorporates guidelines on student learning styles, teaching methodologies and assessment strategies.
The curriculum framework is an expression and an extension of three interrelated questions:
- What do we want to learn?
- How best will we learn?
- How will we know what we have learned?
PYP Curriculum Model
The Five Essential Elements
At the center of the PYP curriculum are five essential elements: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and action. The programme helps students acquire a holistic understanding of six main organizing themes through the interrelatedness of these essential elements. The PYP identifies a body of knowledge for all students in all cultures in six subject areas:
What do we want the children to know? In answering this question, the program of inquiry is organized into six theme-driven units under seven disciplines. The following provides the framework for the content of the program:
- Social studies
- Science and Technology
- Personal, Social and Physical education
Approaches to Learning Skills (ATL)
What we want the students to be able to do is addressed in the element of learning skills within the units of inquiry. The construction of meaning and understanding is complemented by the students acquiring and applying a range of learning skills:
- Social skills
- Thinking skills
- Research skills
- Communication skills
- Self-management skills
Attitudes count! As part of the PYP we focus on the development of positive attitudes towards people, the environment and learning. These attitudes are embodied in the IB learner profile to develop active, compassionate and lifelong learners. At ISPS, the learner profile traits are addressed explicitly throughout every aspect of our curriculum.