Shinagawa International School is committed to follow and further develop the International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP Programme. The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is followed from Kindergarten to Grade 6. As well as IB mission statement, the PYP at SIS lays down the essential elements (knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action). Each of them is indicated in the IB Learner Profile and is a reference point for developing SIS curriculum. To meet the various backgrounds and physical, social, intellectual, aesthetic, cultural needs, PYP implementation at SIS ensures that learning is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant which results in commitment to transdisciplinary model promoting an awareness of the human condition and an understanding that there is a commonality of human experience. Teachers at SIS try to encourage students to make connections among their school, life at home and life in the world. SIS try to provide students with holistic learning experiences that are engaging, relevant, challenging and significant.
In these learning environments:
- Students are curious, ask questions and think critically.
- Learning outcomes and success criteria are shared with students.
- Students are guided and supported during their inquiry to become more independent learners.
- Different learning styles, needs and backgrounds are taken into consideration when planning, teaching and assessing.
- Students are encouraged to be lifelong learners who contribute to the global community by taking actions.
Students in a PYP classroom take the ownership of their learning by wondering, exploring, learning, sharing, reflecting and taking actions in and beyond the school community. An inquiry-based unit of study, known as Units of Inquiry, incorporates all essential elements of PYP under the six transdisciplinary themes. In order to meet the various needs and interests of students, units of inquiry make the learning engaging, relevant to their life, challenging and significant in a transdisciplinary model, which is globally significant and beyond the structured disciplinary subject areas throughout the primary years.
The aim of PYP is to provide learners with inquiry based curriculum framework which incorporates five essential elements (knowledge, concepts, approaches to learning, attitudes and action).
Knowledge: What do we want students to know about?
The importance of traditional subject areas is acknowledged: language; mathematics; social studies; science; personal, social and physical education; and the arts. However, it is also acknowledged that educating students is more holistic.
The PYP has six transdisciplinary themes that provide the framework for learning. These themes are globally significant and support the acquisition of knowledge, concepts and skills of the traditional subjects. They are revisited throughout the students' time in the PYP.
The PYP Transdisciplinary Themes
Who we are
|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.|
Concepts: What do we want students to understand?
The key concepts listed below are utilized to support and facilitate the inquiries. The understanding of concepts leads to a deeper inquiry and helps students to transfer knowledge learned in one area of the curriculum to another.
Form What is it like?
Function How does it work?
Causation Why is it like it is?
Change How is it changing?
Connection How is it connected to other things?
Perspective What are the points of view?
Responsibility What is our responsibility?
Reflection How do we know?
In addition to the above key concepts, children will explore the related concepts in all curriculum areas. Instead of simply accumulating knowledge and skills in social studies, for example, they will deepen their understanding of concepts such as subjectivity, truth, beliefs, opinions, prejudice.
Approaches to Learning: What do we want students to be able to do?
Students learn and implement a set of skills which are important not only for the teaching and learning within classroom but also in life outside the school. The PYP identifies five sets of transdisciplinary skills:
- Thinking skills
- Social skills
- Communication skills
- Self-management skills
- Research skills
Attitudes: What do we want students to feel, value and demonstrate?
All the staff in the school community and parents encourage attitudes that contribute to the well-being of the individual and of the group. Students develop personal attitudes towards people, the environment and learning. At Shinagawa International School (SIS) in Tokyo, we encourage: appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance.
Action: How do we want the students to act?
Students at SIS are encouraged to take action during the process of their lifelong learning. Action can be to use an opportunity in order to show an independent study for themselves, others and the environment which promotes the international mindedness and awareness of being a global citizen. Action usually begins with guidance of teachers and evolves into independent and responsible way of trying to change something in the world. Action may happen in and beyond the school, and teachers at SIS always try to promote the idea of taking action more independently.
In the final year of the PYP, students participate in a culminating project, the PYP exhibition. This requires that each student demonstrates engagement with the five essential elements of the programme: knowledge, concepts, approaches to learning, attitudes and action.
The PYP exhibition has a number of key purposes including the following:
- For students to engage in a in depth, collaborative inquiry
- To provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their own learning
- To provide students with and opportunity to explore multiple perspectives
- For students to synthesize and apply their learning of previous years, and to reflect in their journey through the PYP
- To provide an authentic process to assess student understanding
- To demonstrate how students can take action as a result of their learning
- To unite the students, teachers , parents and other members of school community in a collaborative experience that incorporates the essential elements of the PYP
- To celebrate the transition of learners from primary to middle education