If you attend a workshop, meeting, or even tour the school you will hear the acronyms “IB” and “PYP” used frequently. But what exactly is the IB PYP and what does it mean for you as a parent? Through our blog posts and Positive Parenting workshops we hope to provide clear examples and helpful information about some of the key elements of the IB PYP and how parents can extend these learning practices at home.
- PYP Overview
- IB History
- PYP For Parents
- IB Learner Profile
- PYP Attitudes
- Units of Inquiry
- Parent Involvement in the Curriculum
As an international school, it is important for a school to have a curriculum that supports our diverse student body, while also preparing the whole-child for the future. So what curriculum should an international school choose? Do they choose the host country’s curriculum or another national curriculum like that of the US, UK or Australia?
This is how the International Baccalaureate (IB) has helped to solve that problem. It provides an accredited, globally-recognized curriculum offering the latest in best practices education supporting each child as a unique learner.
The History of IBO
Marie Therese Maurette created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Programme, in 1948, when she wrote “Is There a Way of Teaching for Peace?“, a handbook for UNESCO.
In the mid-1960’s, a group of teachers from the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which would later become the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
The IB headquarters were officially established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968, for the development and maintenance of the Diploma Programme, which provided internationally acceptable university admission qualifications for young people whose parents worked as diplomats or with international and multinational companies.
Magic Years has been an IB World School, accredited by the IBO, for more than 3 years and will be undergoing its second evaluation later this year – a requirement to ensure IB school are conforming to certain standards and practices.
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework designed for students aged 3 to 12 years old. Adopting the IB PYP was a seamless transition in relation to how the school’s mission, vision and curriculum were already outlined.
“It prepares students for the intellectual challenges of further education and their future careers, focusing on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside.”
– What is the PYP? International Baccalaureate Organization, 2015
PYP For Parents
Students of all grade levels at MY International School students take ownership of their learning. Teachers do not “cover” a subject or “give” a lesson. Instead, students make the learning process their own—they do it, make it, and experience it. Students ask questions, learn how to find the answers to those questions and apply it to their lives and the world around them. Students discover how knowledge is connected in an authentic way, rather than traditional fragmented learning in the form of school subjects.
As a result, this often makes it difficult for parents to see different, isolated subjects in the schedule, such as Math, Language or Geography. The reason is simple – learning happens together at different times and in different contexts just like in the real world.
IB Learner Profile
These skills, attitudes, and understandings contribute to the development of the IB learner profile, which consist of a range of dispositions determined to be most important in creating positive and productive citizens of the world.
- Inquirers: I am curious and know how to discover answers to many of my questions. I love to learn!
- Thinkers: I use my thinking skills to make good choices and solve problems.
- Communicators: I understand and share ideas in more than one language.
- Risk Takers: I try new things, love to explore, and confidently share my experiences.
- Knowledgeable: I explore big ideas that are important. I know and can do a lot of important things.
- Principled: I am fair and honest. I can make good decisions about what is right and wrong for me.
- Caring: I am concerned about other people’s needs and feelings. I believe it is important to help others.
- Open-Minded: I am comfortable with differences. I welcome and respect other people’s points of views and ways of doing things.
- Balanced: To be healthy, it is important to me to balance the needs of my mind and body.
- Reflective: I think about and discuss my learning, skills, and products.
To support the development of the learner profile, the PYP has a set of attitudes, used daily in teaching and learning practices.
- Appreciation: Seeing and being thankful for the wonder and beauty of our world.
- Commitment: Being responsible for my learning, showing self-discipline, and perseverance. Sticking with a difficult task until it is completed.
- Confidence: Knowing I can do it! Having courage to take risks, using what I have learned, and making good choices.
- Cooperation: Working with others and being willing to lead or follow as needed.
- Creativity: Using my imagination while thinking and doing things.
- Curiosity: Being curious about the nature of learning, about the world, its people and culture.
- Empathy: Being able to put myself in someone else’s place in order to understand her or him.
- Enthusiasm: Being excited about learning and life.
- Independence: Thinking and acting on my own.
- Integrity: Being fair and honest.
- Respect: Showing that I can for others, our world, and myself.
- Tolerance: Understanding, appreciating, and celebrating differences in each other.
Units of InquiryIn the PYP, integrated learning occurs through Units of Inquiry. A Unit of Inquiry usually lasts from 4 to 6 weeks and through the course of the year is to cover all six transdisciplinary themes throughout the year.
For example, during the Unit of Inquiry “Sharing the Planet” students may spend 4 to 6 weeks looking at the resources we have in the world and how various countries use and share and dispose of these resources. Students will explore questions like:
- How do these resources connect people around the world?
- How does this resource affect me in Thailand?
- How are these resources changing
- What does the change mean for people?
Parent Involvement in the CurriculumFollow up daily with your child to see what they are doing in school, what they enjoyed, and what they found challenging. Help reinforce at home the program. Tips and resources on how to accomplish this can be provided by your child’s teacher, discussed during meetings, and available through our class blogs
Here is a quick list of how you can get involved:
- Attend parent meetings and workshops
- Volunteer in the classroom, school learning spaces (i.e. library, visual arts studio, etc.), or school events (e.g. Book Week, Loy Krathong, etc)
- Attend field trips
- Become an expert or guest to present a topic
- Review your child’s portfolio and connect learning at home
- Outreach with the community and help us build partnerships
- Visit your child’s class blog and share feedback