PRIMARY YEAR PROGRAMME
(The International Baccalaureate)
A GUIDE FOR PARENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
What is the International Baccalaureate Organization?
• It is a non-profit educational and non-governmental (NGO) organization.
• It was established in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland.
• It is funded by fees from IB World Schools.
• The IBO offers three programs of international education for students aged 3-19 years old:
– The Primary Years Program (PYP) (for students 3-12 years old)
– The Middle Years Program (MYP) (students 11-16 years old)
– The Diploma Program at the high school level (students 16-19)
• There are more than 900,000 IB students in over 140 countries.
What is an IB PYP School?
The IBO mission:
• To develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people.
• To create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
• To work with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.
• To encourage students worldwide to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
What does the above mean at the Canadian School of Warsaw?
It means that our students are taught WHY they should know something and how it connects to other subjects and the world around them. It means high quality teaching and learning—challenging instruction and worldwide knowledge. It also means great opportunities to make friends with other students at IB schools around the world.
How does the IB PYP teach students to be internationally minded?
The Primary Year Program teaches students to be internationally minded through modelling the “Learner Profile.” These characteristics or “Learner Profile” are fundamental to the IB and are present in all IB schools.
Who is an “internationally minded” person?
According to the IB PYP, an “internationally minded” person is someone who demonstrates the attributes of the “ IB Learner Profile.”
What does it mean to be “internationally minded”?
At the Canadian School of Warsaw, we focus on moving students toward becoming people who reflect the characteristics of the “Learner Profile”. In other words, they become internationally minded. This perspective applies to who we are and what we do. It reflects how we communicate, understand other cultures, and celebrate diversity.
These are qualities determined to be most important in creating positive and productive citizens who help to create a better and more peaceful world.
What does it mean, “Profile?”
A profile is the description of a person’s qualities, values, and characteristics.
What are these “Learner Profile” qualities?
Inquirers—We are curious and know how to find answers to many of our questions . We love to learn!
Knowledgeable—We explore big ideas that are significant. We know and can do a lot of important things.
Thinkers—We use our thinking skills to make good choices and solve problems.
Communicators— We understand and share ideas in more than one language.
Principled—We are fair and honest. We can make good decisions about what is right and wrong.
Open-Minded—We are comfortable with differences. We welcome and respect other people’s points of views and ways of doing things.
Caring—We are concerned about other people’s needs and feelings. We believe it is important to help others.
Risk Takers—We try new things, love to explore, and confidently share our experiences.
Balanced—We understand the importance of being healthy, we balance the needs of our mind and body.
Reflective—We think about and discuss our learning, skills, and work.
What are the IB “Attitudes”?
The “Attitudes” are the expressions of the “Learner Profile” used by both teachers and students in their daily lives and routine.
In PYP schools students will demonstrate:
- Appreciation—Seeing and being thankful for the wonder and beauty of the world and its people.
- Commitment—Being responsible for their own learning and showing self-discipline. Staying with a challenging task until it is completed.
- Confidence—Having the courage to take risks, using gained knowledge, and making good choices. Feeling confident and knowing that I can do it!
- Cooperation—Working with others and being willing to lead or follow as the situation demands.
- Creativity—Being creative, using imagination while thinking and doing things.
- Curiosity—Being curious about the nature of learning and of the world, its people and cultures.
- Empathy—Being able to put myself in someone else’s place in order to understand the perspectives of other people.
- Enthusiasm—Being excited about learning and life.
- Independence—Thinking and acting independently.
- Integrity—Being fair and honest.
- Respect—Showing respect and caring for others, our world, and myself.
- Tolerance—Understanding, appreciating, and celebrating differences in each other.
What will my child be learning at the Canadian School of Warsaw?
With the IB Primary Year Programme at the Canadian School of Warsaw, we are committed to structured inquiry as the most important part of the learning process. Teachers and students are guided by the six transdisciplinary themes— as the design units of inquiry for exploration and study. Through this process, students develop an understanding of important concepts, acquire essential skills and knowledge, develop particular attitudes and learn to take responsible action.
What does “transdisciplinary” mean?
Transdisciplinary is the term that IB uses to describe a discipline that applies across all disciplines – it is interconnected and can be applied across all subjects and to real life. A transdisciplinary concept expanses across subjects and ties them all together; it is not isolated to one subject. For example, the idea of change affects math, science, English, geography—the IB PYP strives to demonstrate this through learning, giving understanding to a real life world.
What are 5 essential elements that the IB curriculum incorporate?
1. CONCEPTS – What do we want students to understand?
There are 8 fundamental concepts expressed as key questions, to propel the process of inquiry. These universal concepts drive the research units—called UNITS OF INQUIRY —but they also have relevance within and across all subject areas (transdisciplinary).
The 8 fundamental concepts are
– Form: What is it like?
– Function: How does it work?
– Causation: Why is it like it is?
– Change: How is it changing?
– Connection: How is it connected to other things?
– Perspective: What are the points of view?
– Reflection: How do we know?
2. SKILLS – What do we want students to be able to do?
There are 5 sets of transdisciplinary skills acquired in the process of structured inquiry. These are:
3. ATTITUDES – What do we want students to feel, value and demonstrate?
Visit Section II – Important Values in PYP Program
4. ACTION – How do we want students to act?
In the Primary Year Program successful inquiry will lead to responsible action, which is initiated by the student as a result of the learning process. All students will have an opportunity to “choose to act, to decide on their actions, and to reflect on them in order to make a difference in and to the world”. Action can include also service: to fellow students, to the larger community, both in and outside the school.
5. KNOWLEDGE – What do we want students to know about?
In an international environment and community it is improper to dictate what every child should know. Therefore, rather than provide a fixed syllabus or curriculum, the PYP has identified themes, or areas of knowledge, which are used to organize the 6 Units of Inquiry, taught from early childhood through grade 5.
These Units of Inquiry provide the framework (as opposed to a text book curriculum) for a wide variety of resources to be explored in order to accomplish the objectives within each Unit of Inquiry:
– Who We Are
– Where We Are in Place and Time
– How We Express Ourselves
– How the World Works
– How We Organize Ourselves
– Sharing the Planet
Here is a diagram of how IB learners strive to be inquirers, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced, and reflective.
A Unit of Inquiry usually lasts for 5-7 weeks and the objective is to cover all 6 themes throughout the year. For example, during the Unit of Inquiry “Sharing the Planet” students may spend 6 weeks looking at the access to opportunities and its effect on our lives. Students will answer questions like: How do human rights connect people around the world? Or, are these rights met around the world and what does that mean for people? These concepts and questions move across all school subjects (i.e. math, English, geography, etc.) and apply to real life and the world around us.
How does The Canadian School of Warsaw implement these Units of Inquiry?
These themes or Units of Inquiry, provide a framework on which our teachers build students’ knowledge. With the IB PYP, the priority is to use a wide variety of resources from which both teachers and students extract knowledge, develop understanding and explore ways of implementing that to real life.
Why not use textbooks/workbooks? It seems more systematic?
The IB PYP philosophy believes that students learn best through authentic inquiry. While there is certainly a place in the curriculum for textbooks and workbooks, we also use a wide range of resources that best suit to our students’ individual needs and learning styles. The IB PYP also perceives that it is not knowledge alone that makes a learner successful, but the skills and attitudes they develop along the way.
How are students at the Canadian School of Warsaw tested?
Students are assessed in a variety of ways, including tests, projects, oral presentations and written reports.
Assessment in IB PYP is “criterion referenced.” This means students are scored against standards, not against each other. Teachers will give the students a rubric on larger assignments that explains to the students what is expected of them. The rubric states what the criteria are (in a paper, for instance) and what the score will be for addressing or not addressing each point in that criteria. The rubric allows students to take ownership of their learning process.
What is a RUBRIC?!
A rubric defines what are the standards or requirements that need to be accomplished in order to achieve the overall goal. To help students understand how a rubric works, a teacher can use the following example: “let’s say you’re planning to go out to buy a T-shirt, but before you do, you sit down to come up with some criteria for the T-shirt you hope to buy. Some of the criteria may include cost, style, colour, and brand.” With this exercise, students understand that we use criteria every day to make judgments.
Explain to me a little more about how my child will be assessed at the Canadian School of Warsaw?
At the Canadian School of Warsaw, we believe that assessment is an essential component of the curriculum and the learning process. The IB sees assessment as needing to be authentic, essential, rich, engaging, and feasible—it should include students in the process of evaluating their learning.
Each Unit of Inquiry allows students to demonstrate that learning is taking place. However, it is not always best to show authentic learning through a piece of written work or a traditional exam. Therefore, students may put together a final project, draw, act out a performance, do a presentation, or some other way to show what they have learned. The purpose is for our students to demonstrate that learning has taken place. Through assessment they exhibit what they understand and how they apply that understanding to real life and the world around them.
“Formative” assessment is interwoven into the daily lessons and learning. This on-going process of “checking in” between helps both teachers and students to find out what children already know, in order to plan for the next stage of learning. “Formative” assessment and teaching are directly linked; effective learning cannot take place without one or the other.
“Summative” assessment is the culmination of the teaching and learning process. This is the time that students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and application of what has been learned. It measures understanding of the central idea and takes place at the end of each unit.
How can parents help students with schoolwork?
• Follow up daily with your child to see what homework they have.
• Help your child schedule time so they don’t feel overwhelmed.
• Realize that you will probably help them with (not do) some of their larger projects. Example: some parents help their child create display boards for presentations.
• Volunteer in your child’s classroom, the library, in the computer lab etc.
• Provide communication between yourself and school that is regular, 2-way, and meaningful.
• Participate as a full partner in decisions that impact your child and family.
• Attend Student-Led Conferences organized during a school year. Portfolios presented at those meetings are a part of documenting student growth and reflections over the course of the students’ elementary career.
• Collaborate with the community, through partnerships, which are mutually beneficial to our school and the community.
• Feel always welcome! Your support and assistance help to make our school the great place that it is!
• “The whole art of teaching is only the awakening of the natural curiosity of young minds.” -Anatole France
• “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” – Socrates
And this sums up what the IB PYP is NOT:
• “It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.” – Alec Bourne
• “Passive acceptance of a teacher’s wisdom is easy for most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought.” – Bertrand Russell
This means that at the Canadian School of Warsaw, with the IB PYP, our students in all grades have the opportunity to own their learning. In practice it means that our students do it, make it, and experience it. They ask questions and learn how to find the answers to those questions. Moreover, they apply gained knowledge to their lives and the world around them. With the PYP, students notice connections between things and a real life.
What makes the IB PYP so effective at the Canadian School of Warsaw?
We are truly international community committed to the IB philosophy that fits well our school mission.
The IBO MISSION
The International Baccalaureate Organization 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 organization to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.