The Early years curriculum follows the philosophy and guidelines of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate, which is an inquiry-based approach to learning. The natural curiosity of young children is stimulated as they take an active role in the educational process by exploring their environment to make inquiries and discoveries. Global concepts are explored through units of inquiry which are developmentally appropriate, significant, challenging and engaging for the children. There are also opportunities for parents to be partners in the learning through classroom parent days and inquiry fairs, student led conferences.Students learn through transdiciplinary units at each grade level called Units of Inquiry (UOI). Each of these units:
- Is a significant, relevant challenging learning experience
- Builds on the prior knowledge of the students
- Involves students in a range of learning activities
- Integrates diverse subject areas whenever meaningful and appropriate
An important part of the Early years programme is a focus on the many pre-writing activities which develop the fine motor-skills and hand-eye coordination required for handwriting. Activities such as stringing beads, lacing cards, finger painting, modelling clay and playdough, sewing, weaving, placing pegs in pegboards, repeating fingerplays and manipulating a variety of writing tools, all help develop the muscles and coordination required before a child begins formal handwriting instruction. As the children’s fine motor skills strengthen, they will be given opportunities to develop early writing skills by engaging in a variety of writing activities e.g : tracking, tracing and writing independently using their knowledge of letter-sound relationships.
Early years classrooms are print-rich environments where sharing books is a special part of each day. The primary goal of the reading programme in Early years is to instill a love of books and support the idea that reading is a fun and exciting experience. By providing a strong foundation in pre-reading and reading readiness skills through creative and open-ended activities, the Early years programme provides children with the tools to become confident and successful readers. Parent support in this Reading Programme is encouraged through the home reading.
Speaking and listening are an integral part of the Early years programme. Young children are developing the abilities to express thoughts and opinions clearly and fluently, to speak confidently in front of peers, to participate in small group and large group discussions and to ask and answer relevant questions. As children mature, they learn to listen for different purposes, to wait their turn to speak and to follow increasingly complex instructions. Spelling activities are a natural consequence of reading and writing, and therefore much of the spelling instruction takes place in the context of daily experiences.
It is developmentally important for young children to explore mathematical concepts in a concrete way before they begin working with abstract numerical symbols. In Early years, children have daily practice using manipulatives to sort, classify, count, compare, estimate, graph, create patterns, make sets, add and subtract.
Opportunities are provided for children to think logically, perceive relationships, make predictions, solve problems, record findings and show an understanding of mathematical relationships in a concrete way. These opportunities provide a solid foundation and understanding of basic mathematical concepts.
In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), science is viewed as the exploration of the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the natural world, and the relationships between them. Our understanding of science is constantly changing and evolving. The inclusion of science within the PYP leads learners to an appreciation and awareness of the world as it is viewed from a scientific perspective. It encourages curiosity and ingenuity and enables the student to develop an understanding of the world. Reflection on scientific knowledge also helps students to develop a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of their actions on themselves, others and their world.
- Observe carefully in order to gather data
- Use a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately
- Use scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences
- Identify or generate a question or problem to be explored
- Plan and carry out systematic investigations, manipulating variables as necessary
- Make and test predictions
- Interpret and evaluate data gathered in order to draw conclusions
The skills described here will be learned through Units of Inquiry with scientific content across four major strands :
The study of the characteristics, systems and behaviours of humans and other animals, and of plants; the interactions and relationships between and amongst them, and with their environment.
Earth and space
The study of planet Earth and its position in the universe, particularly its relationship with the sun; the natural phenomena and systems that shape the planet and the distinctive features that identify it; the infinite and finite resources of the planet.
Materials and matter
The study of the properties, behaviours and uses of materials, both natural and human-made; the origins of human-made materials and how they are manipulated to suit a purpose.
Forces and energy
The study of energy, its origins, storage and transfer, and the work it can do; the study of forces; the application of scientific understanding through inventions and machines.
Social Studies as part of the PYP curriculum is an inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching about History, Geography and Society. In the PYP, Social Studies is viewed as the study of people in relation to their past, their present and their future, their environment and their society. Inquiry-based units are the focus for learning.
Students will experience what it is like to think and act like a historian, a geographer or a social scientist. Students and teachers identify together what they want to know, what they already know, what they need to know and how best they might find that out.
- Formulate and ask questions about the past, the future, places and society
- Use and analyse evidence from a variety of historical, geographical and societal sources
- Orientate in relation to place and time
- Identify roles, rights and responsibilities in society
- Assess the accuracy, validity and possible bias of sources
The skills described here will be learned through Units of Inquiry with social studies content across five major strands :
Social studies strands
Human systems and economic activities
The study of how and why people construct organizations and systems; the
ways in which people connect locally and globally; the distribution of power
Social organization and culture
The study of people, communities, cultures and societies; the ways in which
individuals, groups and societies interact with each other.
Continuity and change through time
The study of the relationships between people and events through time; the
past, its influences on the present and its implications for the future; people
who have shaped the future through their actions.
Human and natural environments
The study of the distinctive features that give a place its identity; how people
adapt to and alter their environment; how people experience and represent
place; the impact of natural disasters on people and the built environment.
Resources and the environment
The interaction between people and the environment; the study of how
humans allocate and manage resources; the positive and negative effects of
this management; the impact of scientific and technological developments on
Emphasis is placed upon: Real life situations, Decision making, Problem solving and Research
The Information Technology curriculum provides instruction in basic computer skills integrating classroom units into the programme. The children are encouraged to communicate ideas and information in a variety of forms, where appropriate, using equipment and computer software to enhance their learning. Children will have opportunities to interact with the Internet and other visual media under teacher supervision.
Music and Movement
Music and Movement provides instruction in singing, listening, playing instruments and moving in response to music. The learning experiences enhance creativity, confidence and self-expression. Through recitals, concerts and presentations, the children are encouraged to demonstrate these musical and rhythmic skills.
Physical Education classes include gym and PE classes. PE sessions are outdoor games and sports activities that promote the development of ball skills, running, jumping and good sportsmanship. Yoga sessions will be held indoors and follow a Perceptual Motor Programme aimed at developing spatial awareness, balance and coordination skills. The children are encouraged to demonstrate these skills during our annual Sports Day and inter house and school events.
Students have weekly library sessions to explore and enjoy the wide range of literature available, in addition to being taught basic library and research skills.
Child-friendly recipes encourage children to be involved in developing cooking skills and will be integrated with the units of inquiry.
Art and Craft
Art and craft activities are an integral part of the day. Emphasis is on having fun and expressing creativity through art. The children are provided with a wonderful array of creative materials for self expression.
Class excursions and field trips are planned throughout the year to make learning authentic and enable children to apply their learning and knowledge to real world situations.