Primary Years Programme
At the International School of Lausanne, The Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IBPYP) has been adopted as the primary philosophy and curriculum framework of our school. The PYP “emphasizes the importance of children making connections between their experience and the incremental pieces of new information they encounter. The programme supports the child’s struggle to gain understanding of the world and to learn to function comfortably within it, to move from not knowing to knowing, to identifying what is real and what is not real, to acknowledging what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. To do this the child must integrate a great deal of information and apply this accumulation of knowledge in a cohesive and effective way” (IB, 2001).
Through structured units that cover global themes, conceptual understanding and skill acquisition, instruction is delivered using an inquiry-based approach. Inquiry encourages children to bring their previous knowledge and understanding to actively engage in exploring new areas of knowledge. As the basis of instruction, “inquiry involves the synthesis, analysis and manipulation of knowledge, whether through play for younger children or through more formally structured learning in the primary years” (IB, 2001). Teaching is thoroughly planned and structured in such a way as to allow students to make connections, gain knowledge and skills, collaborate, research and form new conceptual understandings of their world and how it works. The children’s natural curiosity is strongly encouraged.
The School’s Primary School has developed a set of trans-disciplinary units to be taught each year appropriate for each year level. It is intended that the units build upon the knowledge gained in the previous school year. We believe that together with subject-specific curriculum, the programme of inquiry provides “a comprehensive, well-balanced curriculum that requires children to reflect on their roles and responsibilities and to participate fully in the learning process. The concepts help the teacher to make the classroom a stimulating and provocative place, where the child’s point of view, supported by knowledge, skill, reflection and understanding is both valued and made useful” (IB, 2001).
Primary Years Programme (PYP), August 2001, International Baccalaureate
What, then, is a PYP school? From the PYP’s perspective it is a school which, regardless of location, size or constitution, strives towards developing an international person. What is an international person? From the PYP’s perspective it is a person with the attributes and dispositions described in the student profile which has been identified.