International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
The focus from Early Years learning to Year 6 is on the total growth of the developing child, encompassing social, physical, emotional, intellectual and cultural needs. The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), an international, trans-disciplinary program, is the main vehicle through which this development is fostered.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers a continuum of high quality of education that encourages international mindedness and a positive attitude to learning. The IB programs are accessible to students in 140 countries through the close cooperation with the worldwide community of IB World Schools.
The IB Mission statement aligns closely with Hill’s own mission and values.
International Baccalaureate Mission Statement
“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.”
Implementing Australian Curriculum
ACARA: Australian curriculum, assessment and reporting authority has subjected the PYP curriculum through a stringent accreditation process. Resulting in ACARA recognizing that PYP meets the principles and guidelines outlined in the Melbourne Declaration and the Shape of Australian Curriculum. Underlining that PYP intends to assist students in becoming successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active informed citizens. ACARA also recognises that PYP curriculum content (knowledge, skill and understanding) achieves the standards described in the relevant Australian Curriculum Learning Areas- what students should learn and the quality of learning expected of them.
From beginning 2011, Hills began the implementation process of incorporating the elements of the Australian Curriculum under the framework of International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. Essential skills in literacy, numeracy, technologies, thinking, creativity, teamwork and communication are integral to the Australian Curriculum and fit well with the Hills approach. While there are Content Descriptions and Achievement Standards to be met, these descriptions allow for some curriculum flexibility, so Hills can take into account local requirements and needs.
Hills College strives to deliver a balanced curriculum where each subject taught is assessed against key performance indicators for the year level and reported upon. Teachers collaborate to deepen student- learning and increase their confidence and self-motivation. The whole school community, including parents, are viewed as partners in learning, and actively contribute to a holistic educational experience
Hills Approaches to Learning
Students in the Primary Years learn through a constructivist approach. This is an active process in which learners construct new ideas based upon their current and prior knowledge. The learner selects and interprets information, constructs hypotheses and tests theories.
In order to construct their own understanding, students are provided with a purposeful sequence of guided experiences that allow them to explore beyond the information given.
To support this learning, six units of inquiry are explored at each year level. These form a comprehensive program of inquiry from Preps to Year 6. In collaboration with teachers, students develop questions that relate to areas of interest within units. Students then develop strategies to find answers to their questions.
A supportive classroom environment becomes a centre for this guided inquiry, where students are actively engaged in, and take responsibility for their own learning, where positive attitudes are fostered and opportunities for constructive, student initiated action are encouraged. Students acquire and practice new skills and build new knowledge throughout these units.
This balanced curriculum approach empowers learners and generates a wide scope for them to explore interests and develop new understandings, skills, abilities and attitudes.
The five essential elements of Hills Programme (concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes and action) are incorporated into a framework, so that students are given the opportunity to;
- Gain knowledge that is relevant and of global significance
- Develop an understanding of concepts, which allows them to make connections through their own learning
- Acquire transdisciplinary and disciplinary skills
- Develop attitudes that will lead to international mindedness
- Take action as a consequence of their learning
Knowledge- Six Transdisciplinary Themes
The PYP recognizes that it would be inappropriate to define any narrow, fixed body of knowledge as the essential content, which every student should know. Instead, six transdisciplinary themes or areas of knowledge (as discussed previously), under which units of work are placed, ensure a balanced approach to teaching and learning within and across year levels.
Content is chosen on the basis that it will be:
Teachers are guided by these six trans-disciplinary themes as they design units of inquiry that both articulate and transcend conventional subject boundaries. Subjects covered include:
- The Arts
- Science and technologies
- Personal, Social and Physical Education
The Primary Years curriculum at Hills draws upon these subject areas to develop a program to suit our specific learning context.
Teachers and students use key questions to structure their units of inquiry.
The construction of meaning and therefore understanding is complemented by students acquiring and applying a range of skills.
It is important to acknowledge that concepts, skills and knowledge alone do not make an internationally-minded person, It is vital that we also articulate and model positive attitudes towards people, the environment and learning. In demonstrating these attitudes, we are enhancing the development of the attributes outlined in the IB Learner profile.
Twelve attitudes are defined by the PYP these are:
In today’s world, it is important that our students see and value the importance of thoughtful and appropriate action. We need to provide students with opportunities to reflect, choose and act on issues of importance and relevance to them.
Through planning, teaching and assessment, the five essential elements of curriculum come together meaningfully.