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03 November 2021

What is the IB PYP (International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme)? Benefits of IB PYP for primary students

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The International Baccalaureate program (IB program) is a non-profit educational program that is becoming more popular worldwide nowadays due to its benefits for students aged 3 to 19. International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) is one type of IB program for primary students. So what is IB PYP? What are the benefits of IB PYP for primary students in their lifelong journey of learning? To get more information about IB PYP, please read the following article from International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP).

What is the IB PYP?

The IB PYP is a curriculum framework designed by International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) for students aged 3 to 12. As a student-centered approach to education, the IB PYP focuses on building a learning environment for primary students to nurture natural curiosity, creativity and ability to reflect. IB PYP also supports students to become caring and active learners in their lifelong journey of learning.

In addition, the IB PYP provides a transdisciplinary approach. It means that primary students will learn concepts that have the connection across, between and beyond the subjects. This supports them to develop inquiring minds and needed skills for building conceptual understandings. Students can also discover real-world problems and apply what they have learned to address personal, local and global challenges and opportunities.

Benefits of IB PYP for primary students

The IB PYP offers primary students many benefits which are listed below.

  • It is an international program recognized worldwide which provides primary students a better chance to transfer and continue their study at prestigious secondary schools.
  • It is designed to develop the whole child with an inquiry-based learning approach which helps primary students to develop thinking skills, communication skills, research skills, self-management skills, social skills and become self-motivated life long learners.
  • It offers a transdisciplinary approach with real-life contexts. This helps students to explore and understand themselves, other people and the world. Students studying IB PYP are internationally-minded and open-minded.
  • It supports early learners aged 3 to 6 years with their unique needs and potential. The PYP framework allows teachers to choose appropriate approaches that help early learners to flourish at their own pace.
  • It allows students more than 7 years old to learn more than one language. This supports students to develop multilingualism and intercultural communication as global citizens.

IB PYP Curriculum Framework

In the IB PYP curriculum framework, the transdisciplinary aspect extends across all three pillars of school life including the learner, learning and teaching, and the learning community.

  • The learner: This pillar describes the outcomes of individual students and what they seek for themselves. Particularly, IB PYP allows students to engage in the process of knowledge gathering with inquiry-based approach. Students are kept at the center of the process and encouraged to be active participants. Teachers play a role as observers, collaborators and facilitators in the learning process of primary students.
  • Learning and teaching: This pillar describes the features of learning and teaching in PYP as a transdisciplinary approach. With this approach, students are encouraged to find answers to important questions such as, “Who am I? Where do I belong? What is the importance of the environment which is around me?”. This process creates a phase that moves from one subject to another to teach the students the importance of each topic and relevant concepts in a study field. Moreover, it allows primary students to investigate and explore their inquiries and interests in a specific subject.
  • The learning community: IB PYP is designed to focus on teamwork and collaboration. Due to this, in class, students are given projects and assignments to work in teams, to collaborate and share information with others. This helps students learn the value of teamwork and collaboration.

6 transdisciplinary themes

The IB PYP is designed and organized around the 6 transdisciplinary themes, which helps students to gain knowledge, conceptual understanding, life skills and personal attributes. Each transdisciplinary theme will be outlined below.

1. Who we are

In the first transdisciplinary theme, students will learn about what it means to be human including the nature of the self, beliefs and values and the concepts of personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health. They will also learn about the various human relationships including families, communities and cultures and the rights and responsibilities.

2. Where we are in place and time 

Next, students will be introduced to the personal histories and the relationships as well as the interconnectedness of individuals and of civilizations in both local and global perspectives. They will also make an inquiry into the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humans in history.

3. How we express ourselves

Then, students are allowed to make inquiries into the ways how people express their ideas and feelings, how people discover and communicate their nature, culture, beliefs and values. Students will also find out the ways in which people reflect on, extend and enjoy their creativity and appreciation of aesthetics.

4. How the world Works 

In this unit, students will study about not only the natural world and its laws but also the interaction between the natural world and human societies in both physical and biological aspects. The point is that students need to understand how humans use their knowledge of scientific principles as well as the impact that scientific and technological advances have on both society and the natural environment.

5. How we organize ourselves 

This transdisciplinary theme allows students to investigate and explore the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities. By learning more about this, students will understand the structure and function of organizations, the criteria leading to decision-making of societies and the impact of economic activities on both humankind and the environment.

6. Sharing the planet 

The sixth transdisciplinary theme emphasizes the objective to develop students to be socially responsible citizens. Students will make an inquiry into the rights and responsibilities all humans have in the struggle to share the limited resources with other people and species. Besides, students also investigate the ideas of equal opportunities and peace, and conflict resolution.

IB learner’s profile

The IB PYP framework shapes the school curriculum and guides the school to achieve authentic conceptual inquiry-based learning that is engaging and challenging for primary students. Through the units of inquiry, primary students are able to build the attributes of the IB learner profile.

Firstly, IB learners are inquirers. In the process of learning, students develop their natural curiosity and research of any subjects in school and in life. They could nurture the curious mind and yearn for knowledge which would benefit their lifelong learning journey.

In any subjects or topics, students are encouraged to explore concepts, ideas and issues that have both a local and global significance which make them knowledgeable in any aspect of life. Moreover, they are actively searching for new knowledge and conceptual understanding. Thanks to this approach, students become thinkers. They are actively engaging themselves in figuring out complex problems to make an ethical choice for themselves and communities.

As a student-centered approach, IB PYP helps students to be communicators so they can express themselves through several ways in communication. It is believed that education is not a monologue channel but it is a dialogue between students and knowledge or teachers which helps each individual be more proactively in life.

Beyond being good students who possess high grades in school, young learners are expected to be principled. They should act honestly with a strong sense of fairness, justice, and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups, and communities. As usually being exposed to global context, students are more open-minded. Students appreciate their own cultures, personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values, traditions of other individuals and communities. They are also more caring to others and show respect and compassion towards communities.

In the rapidly changing world, learners are facing more challenges. In IB PYP, students approach unfamiliar situations with courage, as well as defend their beliefs. Playing safe might not be an option anymore. They learn to be risk-takers, weigh options and make decisions on their own.

In addition, IB PYP develops students as well-rounded citizens which helps them be balanced with intellectual, physical and emotional growth. Through different subjects and activities including both physical and emotional interactions, students could perform better and thrive in life. Moreover, students will be more reflective as they give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. Through the whole process of learning, they will define their capabilities and learn to become a better version of themselves day by day.

International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) as an IB PYP Candidate School

Introduction to ISSP

International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) is a world-class, purpose-built international school for students aged 18 months to 11 years in Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. As a member of the international education group Cognita with more than 85 member schools worldwide, ISSP is currently the only early years and elementary international school in Ho Chi Minh City with fully prestigious accreditations from both the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). In addition, ISSP became the IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) candidate school in August 2021.

International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP)

International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP)

ISSP always welcomes and wishes to create an opportunity for parents to visit school to have a holistic observation and evaluation as well as better understanding bout IB PYP for primary students. For further information about ISSP or booking a tour to visit ISSP, parents can contact the ISSP Admissions Office via:

ISSP values in alignment with IB PYP learner profile

Honesty, caring, respect, responsibility and wisdom are five core values of ISSP in the whole child development concept. Each core value has a corresponding to one or more IB learner profile attributes in IB PYP framework.The corresponding is shown in the table below.

ISSP core value IB PYP learner profile
Honesty Principled
Reflective
Caring Caring
Open-minded
Principled
Respect Caring
Reflective
Responsibility Communicators
Balanced
Caring
Wisdom Knowledgeable
Inquirers
Reflective
Balanced

 

The article has given information about definition and benefits of IB PYP. Hopefully, it will help parents gain more knowledge about this program. Besides, International School Saigon Pearl is one of many international schools applying the IB PYP curriculum framework in education, which offers a balanced provision of academic, physical, creative, social and emotional, technological aspects. For the purpose of developing a whole child, ISSP will be one of the appropriate considerations for parents.





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