The International Preparatory School (IPS) is an IB World School offering the Primary Years Programme.
International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
At the heart of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) philosophy, is a commitment to structured inquiry as the leading tool for learning.
Six Transdisciplinary Themes: Language, Social Studies, Mathematics, Arts, Science and Personal, Social and Physical Education, provide the framework for the exploration of concepts and knowledge.
The Curriculum Framework consists of five essential elements:
The knowledge component is developed through inquiries into the six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, supported and balanced by six subject areas.
The PYP is a transdisciplinary curriculum, in that the connections that learners naturally make between and within subjects is emphasised. This means that learning happens either through the study of integrated units or single subject units, known as Stand Alone Units.
A Unit of Inquiry can be an inquiry into an important piece of learning from one subject area or content from a number of subjects that are connected to a common big idea or understanding. At any time during the year students will study one Unit of Inquiry based on a PYP organising theme and some Stand Alone Units.
Summary of Subjects
All students study the following subjects – Language, Mathematics, Science and Design Technology, Social Studies, Physical Education, Personal and Social Education and The Arts (Visual, Performing, design).
The language of instruction at IPS is English. By learning the language as well as learning about and through language, we nurture an appreciation of the richness of language and a love of literature.
There are three main strands in language learning:
- Oral communication;
- Written communication;
- Visual communication.
These strands are organised into sub-strands:
- Listening & Speaking:
- Reading & Writing;
- Viewing & Presenting
Mathematics is viewed as a way of thinking and a language for understanding and constructing meaning. To study Mathematics is to inquire into this language and to learn to think in this way.
There are five interwoven strands in the IPS Mathematics Curriculum:
- Pattern and function;
- Data handling;
- Shape and space.
Science provides opportunities for students to engage in scientific investigations by making accurate observations, handling tools, recording and comparing data, and formulating explanations using their scientific experiences and those of others. Students will gain experience in testing their assumptions and thinking critically about the perspectives of others to further develop their ideas.
There are four main strands in the Science Curriculum that are explored through the units of inquiry:
- Living Things;
- Earth and Space;
- Materials and Matter;
- Forces and Energy.
Social Studies provide opportunities for students to look at and think about human behaviour realistically, objectively and with sensitivity. It aims to guide students towards a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and of their place in an increasingly global society.
There are three main strands in the Social Studies curriculum that are explored through the units of inquiry:
- Human Systems and Economic Activities
- Organization and Culture
- Continuity and Change Through Time
- Human and Natural Environments
- Resources and the environment
The Arts: Visual Arts & Performing Arts
The Arts include the development of creative skills, verbal and non-verbal expression, an awareness of the perspectives of others and aesthetic appreciation. The Arts enable students to communicate in powerful ways that go beyond their spoken language ability. Through The Arts, students can begin to construct an understanding of their community, their environment, their feelings and emotions and to develop their cultural awareness.
The strands in the Visual Arts Curriculum are:
- Creative Processes;
- Elements of Art and Design;
- Visual Arts in Society;
- Reflection and Appreciation.
The strands in the Performing Arts Curriculum are:
- Performance in Music (Singing, Instrumental, Listening and Appreciating);
- Creating and Composing;
Through Physical Education (PE), students are learning the ‘language’ of physical movement and exploring the skills associated with different strands of PE. They learn to understand what they can and cannot do physically and become aware of their strengths and weaknesses in this discipline. Physical activity is an essential aspect of a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle and learning through PE helps to build self-esteem, confidence, cooperation and fitness.
The strands in the PE Curriculum are:
- Body control and spatial awareness;
- Adventure challenge;
- Movement to music;
- Gymnastics and health-related activities.
All students Nursery – Year 6 receive French Language instruction. Students from Year 1 are grouped according to their proficiency level.
- There are two levels of French in Years 1 – 3: Mother Tongue French and Additional Language French.
- There are two or three levels of French in Years 4-6: Mother Tongue French and Additional Language French and Beginner French.
The content at each level varies accordingly and aims to develop language competency in speaking, reading and writing. The content of the lessons focuses on level specific language development goals and incorporates and supports the Unit of Inquiry where appropriate. The French teacher uses the central idea from each Unit of Inquiry where possible.
Learning Stages at IPS
Nursery – Year 2 (Foundation & Key Stage 1)
A Homeroom Teacher is responsible for the daily programme in the Early Childhood classes.
The Nursery and Reception programme use play based methodology to promote learning. In N- Y2, Science, Art, Mathematics and Languages are incorporated within the Units of Inquiry and are a functional intrinsic part of the Early Childhood methodology. Also, Early Childhood classes also have specialist teachers for French, Music, Physical Education, Library. The Early Childhood Coordinator supports teaching and learning to ensure consistent classroom practice.
Years 3-6 (Key Stage 2)
A Homeroom Teacher is responsible for the daily programme. Specialist teachers who, where possible, make authentic connections to the grade level Units of Inquiry to enhance and develop meaningful learning teach – French, Music, Art, Design Technology, Physical Education, and Library.
Key Stage Coordinators support teaching and learning to ensure consistent classroom practice. Grade level expectations of bookwork, homework, field trips and special events are standardised across each year level.
The Curriculum Framework
The PYP offers a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning. It provides a complete curriculum model that incorporates guidelines on what students should learn, as well as guidelines on teaching methodologies and assessment strategies.
The Curriculum Framework is further structured around three interrelated questions:
- What do we want to learn? (The written curriculum)
- How best will we learn? (The taught curriculum)
- How will we know what we have learned? (The learned curriculum)
The Written Curriculum incorporates five essential elements:
* English, French
** Personal / Social & Physical Education
*** Music, Art, Drama, Dance
Assessment and Student Progress Reports
Written reports are emailed to parents at the end of each term. The written report provides feedback on how your child is progressing academically, socially and emotionally. IPS uses the Year Level Benchmarks from the IPS Scope and Sequences to report on student progress throughout the year. Teachers will also comment on each child as a learner and report student growth against the IB Learner Profile.
- Three Way Conference – IPS holds a Goal Setting / Settling In Conference midway through Term 1 to provide an opportunity for parents, student and teachers, to be part of the discussion on the student’s settling in so far and to set goals together for the coming school year. This way, parents are directly involved in supporting the child, while the student develops a sense of responsibility towards his/her learning.
- Student Progress Reports - Student Progress Reports are emailed at the end of each term. These reports are based on IPS Curriculum Benchmarks in each subject/area. The report also contains the ‘Child as a Learner’ comment from homeroom teachers and reflection on individual progress towards achieving the criteria outlined in the Learner Profile.
- Student-Led Conference –In Term 2, Student-Led Conferences take place. As the name suggests, the student will lead this conference where he/she can report to his/her parents independently his/her learning progress and areas to be improved. During both the Student-Led Conferences or Three Way Conference, parents have the opportunity to view their child’s workbooks, displays, portfolios, videos, etc. Each student will be given the time to demonstrate and explain what he/she has learned in all subjects.
- Portfolio Viewing – At different times throughout the year, each Year Level will provide parents with an opportunity to visit the classroom and have their child walk them through their learning portfolio.
- Parents may also request an appointment at any time throughout the year to meet the homeroom or subject teacher to discuss their child’s progress.
International Benchmark Assessments
IPS uses internationally benchmarked assessment tools to monitor student and school achievement standards. These include the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) (Year 1-6), Burt Word Reading Assessment, Progress in Understanding Mathematics Assessment (PUMA) (Years 3-6) and the International Schools Assessment (ISA) (Years 4-6).
Information and Digital Literacy
All teaching and learning in the PYP are underpinned by inquiry. To enhance both teaching and learning IPS provides multimedia resources, technology tools and services. IPS provides opportunities for students to explore digital literacy skills and digital tools using a transdisciplinary curriculum framework.
From the crafting of words into a work of art using word processing skills to videoing problem-solving skills in a physical education class, the technology used for the right purpose enhances learning and achievement.
The transdisciplinary approach of the PYP challenges students and teachers to go beyond the obvious appeal of technology to actively explore and developing digital literacy skills and tools for high-level thinking, research, communication, socialisation and self-management.
In an age where managing information and knowledge is as crucial as acquiring them, IPS is committed to developing in students, the essential information and digital literacy skills that will allow them to be effective lifelong learners in the digital age. To meet this goal IPS endeavours to:
- Develop information literate students;
- Support learning and inquiry through the development, consolidation and extension of critical literacy skills;
- Promote the appropriate use of technology tools to enhance learning.
To support this vision, IPS is strategically creating a wealth of technology services, resources and tools.
Specialist IT coaches contribute to the flexibility of this model attending the homeroom and providing in-class sessions or opportunities within a specialist classroom setting. Based on the learning needs and tasks, small or large group teaching options are used.
The IPS School Library houses a growing collection of fiction and nonfiction materials.
Gathering information, describing and recording data, sorting and categorising, interpreting, drawing conclusions and presenting are all research skills required for life-long learning. All resources housed in the library impact on each child’s ability to learn. The school employs a Librarian to help students and parents select appropriate books and develop research skills.
Each class has a weekly time in the IPS school library. The library provides an open learning environment that can be used by students at all times. All members of the school community may use the library.
The six guiding principles of the Library are:
- Information Literacy – to develop students’ skills in finding and using information independently
- Reading – to develop confidence enjoyment of literature;
- Access – to access information within and beyond the school;
- Service – to ensure that library users are supported and welcome;
- Information Resources – to provide a wide variety of information resources including extensive use of IT;
- Environment – to offer a stimulating and comfortable environment for the IPS community to share.
Parents are welcome to join the library and borrow for themselves and their children. A current goal is to develop an adult paperback library and donations are always appreciated.
The library is open Monday to Friday from 8.00 am – 3.00pm. As many books are borrowed and returned each week, parents are asked to help their children be responsible borrowers, by encouraging them to keep books in a set place and return them on time. Any resource not returned to the library within 14 days becomes overdue. Library Notices are sent out regularly to remind borrowers to return the item before new resources may be borrowed. Users will be charged for the replacement cost of any lost resource.
Inspire, Empower, Lead