International Baccalaureate Organization Primary Years Programme
What is the International Baccalaureate Organization?
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is an international educational foundation that was founded in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Diploma Programme (DP) for 11th and 12th grade was the first program to be offered. It was originally established to provide a common curricular framework for geographically mobile students of diplomats and military personnel. The Middle Years Programme (MYP) was established in 1994 and the Primary Years Programme (PYP) in 1997.
International Baccalaureate Mission
The International Baccalaureate 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 organization works with schools, governments and international organizations 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.
Why did Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary become
an International Baccalaureate World School?
In 2004, the Bess Streeter Aldrich strategic planning team determined that the school needed a program that would increase enrollment and provide a quality education that was responsive to the needs and expectations of our students and parents. Aldrich parents were surveyed to find out their educational desires for their children. A vast majority of the surveys requested a challenging and engaging classroom environment for their students. They also showed a strong desire for a foreign language program that takes place within the regular school day. After exploring the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, the team felt this program would be an excellent fit for Aldrich. For the next three years, Aldrich implemented the IB Primary Years Program in grades K – 5. Grade levels developed units of study in which the students learn, explore, and research using structured inquiry.
In March, 2008 the staff, students, and parents of Aldrich Elementary were pleased to host an authorization team of three educators from the International Baccalaureate Organization. The visitors reviewed documentation, visited classrooms, and met with parents, staff, and District and site administrators to determine if the school met the requirements to be an authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program World School. The team provided valuable input to staff. They prepared a report of findings and submitted it to the IBO. The documentation was reviewed and considered at several levels within the organization. We received notice that we became an authorized IB World School in July, 2008. The excitement generated by the program can be seen in the classrooms as students are truly engaged in their learning. The staff has worked hard to make the PYP a reality and to provide a quality program for our students.
For more information about the Primary Years Programme at Bess Streeter Aldrich, please click the links below. If you have further questions, please feel free to speak with your child’s teacher or e-mail Sharon Epstein, the PYP Coordinator. firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the Primary Years Programme? (IB World Schools Yearbook 2010)
The Primary Years Programme (PYP), for students aged three to 12, focuses on the development of the child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It is a framework consisting of five essential elements (concepts, knowledge, skills, attitude, action) and is guided by six themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from language, social studies, math, science, technology, art, music and personal, social and physical education.
The six themes are about issues that have meaning for, and are important to, all of us. The programme offers a balance between learning about or through the subject areas, and learning beyond them.
Assessment is an important part of each unit of inquiry as it both enhances learning and provides opportunities for students to reflect on what they know, understand and can do. The teacher’s feedback to the students provides the guidance, the tools and the incentive for them to become more competent, more skillful and better at understanding how to learn.
Unique characteristics of the programme include the following:
What does the PYP curriculum model look like?
It is composed of three important components. Each component is expressed as a question, in keeping with the spirit of inquiry found throughout the Primary Years Program.
The first question, “What do we want to learn?” represents the written curriculum. A PYP school’s written curriculum utilizes existing district / state / national learning standards. Teachers at a PYP school work collaboratively to develop six units of inquiry for each grade level. This is called our “Program of Inquiry” and is unique to our school. It allows learners to move beyond the recall of basic facts as they explore larger concepts. Teachers meet regularly to review/revise our Program of Inquiry. Students contribute to the content of these learning units through their own questions and reflections.
Organizing Themes of the Primary Years Programme
The Primary Years Program has identified six areas of knowledge – called transdisciplinary themes – that are considered to be of lasting significance for all students and for all cultures. These themes provide a framework for teachers to design units of inquiry that incorporate district/state/national learning standards as well as opportunities for students to develop the skills, attitudes, concepts and knowledge needed to become internationally-minded people and life-long learners.
Teachers use structured inquiry to guide students through each unit while incorporating a variety of curricular areas (science, social studies, technology, math, language, art, music, physical education, music, etc.) to build on their past experiences and reach new understandings.
The six themes are addressed at each grade level, even though the individual units of inquiry based upon them are all unique, exploring different aspects of the knowledge contained under each theme.
The six themes are:
The second question, “How best will we learn?” represents the taught curriculum in a PYP school. Each unit of inquiry is based on a central idea that corresponds to one of the above six themes. When deciding on a central idea, teachers ask themselves, “What understanding do we want students to come away with at the end of the unit?” The taught curriculum involves the methods teachers use to engage students with the written curriculum. It is not only “what” students will learn but also “how” they will learn it that matters in a PYP school. PYP teachers are expected to constantly examine and improve the practices they use to actively involve students in learning. The PYP is committed to structured inquiry-based instruction. Teachers develop lessons that allow students to wonder and to ask questions. Teachers support and guide their students through the process of finding answers. This may involve research, experiments, field trips or discoveries made through reading and classroom experiences. As teachers, we know that regardless of skill level or background, students vary in their academic abilities, learning styles, interests, background knowledge and experiences. It is our goal to provide a variety of experiences to meet the needs of all our students.
The third question, “How will we know what we have learned?” represents the learned curriculum. PYP teachers employ a variety of assessment strategies (examples include student presentations, portfolios, projects, written tests, student self-reflections, peer reflections, interviews, demonstrations and many others) to find out not only if students learned what they were expected to learn from the written curriculum but also what actual learning took place instead of or in addition to what was expected. Teachers and students use the results of assessments to set goals for further learning and to think about ways to improve their teaching and learning strategies. All three components of the curriculum of a Primary Years Program - the written, taught and learned curriculums – function together to help produce life-long learners who can be successful in tomorrow’s world.
Central to the PYP is the development of the international person. The Learner Profile outlines the ten most important attributes of an international person. At Bess Streeter Aldrich students learn to become inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, well-balanced and reflective.
This short video helps to bring the IB mission to life by introducing the IB Learner Profile. Click the play button on the video screen to view the video.
The Fifth Grade Exhibition
Fifth grade students in their final year of the Primary Years Programme at Aldrich participate in a culminating project, the PYP Exhibition. It is not only a celebration, as students move from the Primary Years Programme into middle school, but also a final assessment where each student demonstrates their understanding of the essential elements of the programme: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action. Students engage in a collaborative inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems. Parents and student from Aldrich are invited to attend the 5th Grade Exhibition.
What are the essential elements of the Primary Years Programme?
The five essential elements—concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes, action—are incorporated into the curriculum framework, so that students are given the opportunity to:
Skills: Within their learning throughout the programme, students acquire and apply social, communication, thinking, research and self-management skills. These skills are valuable, not only in the units of inquiry, but also for any teaching and learning that goes on within the classroom, and in life outside the school.Attitudes: Through encouraging the development and application of the following positive attitudes, the IB PYP helps to create successful citizens of the world.
• Thinking Skills:
• Communication Skills
• Research Skills
• Self-management Skills
Action: As a result of successful inquiry, students are given the opportunity to choose to act; to decide on their actions; and to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in and to the world.
Glossary of IB PYP Terms
Action - Students are encouraged to take action based on the learning they acquire. Action can be as simple as telling someone else what you’ve learned or continuing to inquire, and ultimately it might lead to service on a community or world-wide scale.
Attitudes - Twelve attitudes are encouraged in every area of the school. Students are expected to demonstrate appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance
Authorized School – Being authorized means that we meet the standards and practices required by the IBO to provide the PYP at Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary.
Concepts - Learning to ask strong questions can lead a student to learn more about a topic. The Primary Years Programme encourages students to develop their understanding of the concepts of Form, Function, Causation, Change, Connection, Perspective, Responsibility, and Reflection.
Essential Elements - The five essential elements—concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes, action—are incorporated into a curriculum framework, so that students are given the opportunity to:
IBO – The International Baccalaureate Organization is an educational foundation in Geneva, Switzerland that administers the IB program worldwide.
Internationalism – IB defines internationalism as a person who demonstrates the attributes of the IB Learner Profile.
Language Policy – IB requires that all schools develop a comprehensive approach to meeting the language needs of all of its students. In addition, all IB programmes require the study of at least one world language in addition to the student’s mother tongue.
Learner Profile – Central to the PYP is the development of the international person. The Learner Profile outlines the ten most important attributes of an international person. Students learn to become inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, well-balanced and reflective.
PYP- Primary Years Programme
Programme Evaluation – A mandatory process for all authorized IB schools, whereby the IBO assists schools in their own self-evaluation process as well as ensuring the quality of the programme.
Programme of Inquiry – The Programme of Inquiry is organized into six themes. Within the Units of Inquiry at each grade level, students explore concepts through these themes in order to develop knowledge.
PYP Exhibition – Students in the 5th grade of the Primary Years Programme, carry out a project or “exhibition”. The exhibition represents the culminating activity of the PYP. It requires students to analyze and propose solutions to a real-world problem, drawing on what they have learned in the PYP. It must include written work, oral presentations, and the use of technology.
Summative Assessment – The culminating assessment of a unit designed to provide a report on the student’s level of achievement.
Transdisciplinary Themes – The PYP has identified six areas of knowledge, called transdisciplinary themes, which are considered to be of lasting significance for all students and for all cultures. These themes provide the framework for teachers to design units of inquiry that incorporate district/state/national learning standards as well as opportunities for students to develop the skills, attitudes, concepts and knowledge to become internationally-minded people and life-long learners.