Primary Years Programme

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How does it work?

Teachers select units of inquiry by considering its relevance, significance and meaning through structured, purposeful inquiry, which enables students to investigate themes of universal importance across all curriculum areas. This allows for exciting, meaningful and challenging programmes.

Students are encouraged to work together and share what they know, what they want to know and what they have learnt. They achieve this by formulating questions, based on the key concepts, which will direct the inquiry. The responsibility of the learning is shared between the teacher and the student through the development of attitudes, and the learning of essential skills and knowledge in order for students to find out about and understand ideas of global importance.

Primary Swimming at ISN

Why is it like it is?

Current education research shows that children learn best when they are encouraged to actively asked questions and participate in finding answers or solution to problems. The inquiry approach helps students to make connections between different areas of knowledge, not by learning things in isolation. Certain areas of knowledge may have to be taught as a stand-alone unit where appropriate.

Primary classroom at ISN

How is it changing?

The curriculum is a living and growing document. This is why we as a staff are constantly reviewing and updating our curriculum through ongoing professional development of our programmes. It enables us to reflect on our programmes and make appropriate changes and also contributes ideas to the further development of the programme worldwide, thus keeping up with the latest education trends.[/toggle]

Transdisciplinary Themes

The Primary Years Program has identified six areas of knowledge called transdisciplinary themes – these 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.

PYP units of inquiry approach learning as being transdisciplinary in nature. Teachers use structured inquiry to guide students through each unit while incorporating perspectives from a variety of fields of knowledge (scientific, mathematical, technological, artistic, musical, linguistic, historical, cultural, and social, to name a few) to build on their past experiences and reach new understandings.

The six transdisciplinary themes are addressed at each grade level, even through the individual units of inquiry based upon them are all unique, exploring different aspects of the knowledge contained under each theme. In addition to six yearly transdisciplinary units of inquiry based upon the PYP transdisciplinary themes, students receive daily instruction in Math, Reading and Writing to ensure that they continue to develop their skills in those foundational subject areas.

Who are we

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental,social and spiritual health, human relationships including families, friends,communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Where we are in place and time

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

How we express ourselves

An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

How the world works

An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

How we organize ourselves

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact of humankind and the environment.

Sharing the planet

An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

Primary classroom at ISN

PYP Exhibition

At the end of Year 6 all students participate in the PYP Exhibition. It is a significant event in the life of a PYP school and the students; it is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the IB Learner Profile that they have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP and to celebrate their transition from Primary to Middle/Secondary school.

The PYP Exhibition is an 8-10 week in-depth collaborative inquiry. Working in groups, the students investigate a real-life issue that is pertinent to them with the purpose of creating an action plan to make a difference.

  • They can use a variety of source materials: first-hand experience, interviews, surveys, field visits, etc. and use a range of media (e.g., moving and still images, audio, animation) and forms of expression (e.g., written work, oral presentations, performances).
  • Teachers/mentors will guide the students through each phase of the process. The Exhibition is shared with members of the wider school community during the process and also at the end – during the day for students and in an evening presentation for parents.
  • PYP Exhibition at ISN

Fijian & Hindi Language

Acquisition of more than one language enriches intellectual and personal growth and helps facilitate international understanding.

English is the language of instruction at ISN, but we also provide the opportunity for all primary students to learn two additional languages – Hindi & Fijian which are the host country’s languages. Wherever possible, language teaching is linked with units of inquiry. For instance, in a unit such as Visual Arts and Villages around our school, students will learn about Fijian Art, the village settings, the history and the rules of the village.

The class might then visit a village to look at the different art work such as pottery. In a unit such as From Field to Table, students learn about the different kinds of food in the Fijian words and might visit a local market where they can practice dialogues learned in class to purchase food in Fijian or Hindi.

How Will You Know how your child is doing?

Students and teachers are actively involved in assessing students’ progress.

Assessment involves the gathering and analysis of student performance and is designed to inform teaching and learning. It identifies what students know, understand, can do, and fell at different stages in their learning.

We use a balanced range of assessment tools and strategies, carefully designed to give students, parents and teachers a clear picture of a student’s progress.

Some of these strategies are:

  • Observations
  • Performance assessments such as presentations, debates and role-plays.
  • Teacher-student/student-student conferencing and conversations.
  • Tests with true/false, multiple-choice questions.
  • Open-ended tasks such as written answers and drawing illustrations and diagrams.

Some of the assessment tools are:

  • Rubrics: student and/or teacher-designed criteria
  • Benchmarks
  • Checklists
  • Anecdotal records: brief written notes based on observations of students
  • Continuum: which show a progression of achievement or identify where a student has reached

Parents and Guardians are encouraged to play an active in supporting your child’s learning by staying in touch with the class teacher throughout the year.

Primary graduation ISN