At One World International School, we proudly offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme because we believe that it provides students with the framework they need to become lifelong learners. Within the IB-PYP is the Programme of Inquiry or POI.
The POI is an outline that provides information about what students within each grade level will focus on. It is accessible to everyone so that they can see what the learning pathway will look like. The teachers, instructors and administrators worked to create a POI for every grade level, from the Early Childhood programme through to the fifth grade. It helps to guide students, families and teachers throughout the learning journey, and to set learning aims and goals along the way. The POI creates a consistent guideline that emphasises OWIS and IB-PYP philosophies.
An Integrated Approach
Our model consists of six themes that focus on how students view themselves and relate to the world around them. It helps to support students to become well-rounded and to learn numerous skills within a range of topics and themes. Most strands and concepts are included within these themes; any that are not part of the POI are taught as separate units.
Mathematics, for instance, is integrated within the POI, but the strand of Number is presented as a stand-alone unit to allow students to develop a solid foundation on which to build their skills in this area. These stand-alone units give clarity within students’ learning that these are some of the key building blocks to the rest of their education.
On the other hand, multiple strands of science have been successfully included in the POI, especially as STEAM subjects become increasingly essential to prepare students for further study and the workforce. The STEAM subjects help to interweave the academic and creative skills that students are learning every day. It also helps to make them into diverse, talented and innovative learners.
While our curriculum includes traditional subjects such as Maths, Science and the Arts, they are not taught in isolation. For example, a unit on plants might also shed light on deforestation and its impact on people and the environment, connecting Science and Social Studies and broadening our students’ understanding. This process of integrating all of the subjects together helps students to understand how all the different aspects of life are linked together. It promotes excitement in the learning process, as it takes away the sometimes mundane process of one-topic study.
A Thoughtfully-Implemented Framework
At OWIS, our teachers and administrators regularly collaborate as they strive to provide a meaningful learning experience that encourages students to reach their maximum potential. They are constantly learning and developing themselves so that they are better equipped to pass on knowledge and skills to the students. The teachers and administrators will always ensure that they are up to date with the programme, and make any adaptations and changes where they see necessary.
Our POI has been carefully implemented to ensure that students can successfully learn and apply key concepts. While it aligns with the PYP scope and sequence, it has also been tailored to fit the scope and sequence that is unique to OWIS. It also allows us to integrate the use of our amazing facilities, such the extensive outdoor learning spaces, the technology, and the spacious classrooms and communal areas into our educational framework. Our POI includes elements of other internationally-recognised frameworks to support best practices and trusted methods.
Our approach teaches students how to work together toward a common goal, to take initiative and to respect themselves and others. It teaches them the importance of integrating each other’s knowledge and skills, and helps them to see the bigger picture when it comes to learning and developing skills. The six themes of the POI enrich students’ perspectives of themselves, the school community and society at large, fostering empathy and open-mindedness toward different cultures and viewpoints. In short, we prepare our students to be responsible, productive citizens and leaders– anywhere in the world.
A Solid Foundation for Future Learning
Our POI culminates with the Grade 5 Exhibition at the end of the academic year. Students demonstrate what they have learnt by creating their own unit of inquiry under the guidance of teachers and mentors. This is an amazing opportunity for families to see what the students have been studying during their year. It also gives the students the chance to take ownership of their learning and to have an end goal. When students complete the PYP, they’re highly-prepared to handle our rigorous secondary school curriculum. They enter this period of their education with excitement, an inquisitive mind and a passion for learning. The Programme of Inquiry at OWIS empowers students to be lifelong learners, equipped to excel amid the complexities of living in a global, highly-technological society.
(This blog was originally written in collaboration with Ms Erin Smith, former Senior Coordinator – Primary School & PYP, OWIS Nanyang.)