Tuesday, May 6, 2014

International Baccalaureate in an Independent Elementary School (Part 1)

International Baccalaureate in an Independent Elementary School
Did you know that Seneca Academy is the only preschool/elementary school in Montgomery County MD that is an authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program World School? It amazes  me actually, as the Primary Years Program (PYP) combines teaching and learning practices that are  so wonderful for kids. I would think every school would want to offer it! Many people know of the  International Baccalaureate (IB) at the high school level, where it is a rigorous college-prep curriculum akin to the AP programs. Not many know that the IB offers 4 different programs: the PYP at the preschool and elementary level is one of them.

Seneca Academy has been an authorized IB/PYP school for 2 years now. We decided to align ourselves with the IB not only because it is a prestigious organization that is connected by a network of distinguished educators around the world, but because it provides us with support in offering research-proven, best-practices in education. With the PYP focus, we are ensuring that learning experiences are developmentally relevant and meaningful (i.e. students at each level are doing work that makes sense to them and is interesting), teaching is engaging and promotes inquiry (i.e. students are active learners and are taught and encouraged to ask significant questions), the curriculum provides opportunities for depth of learning as well as breadth (i.e. students have time to deeply explore concepts rather than merely “skimming the surface”), and learning is in a global context (i.e. students are learning about concepts and issues that are relevant around the world). While none of these characteristics is by itself unique in preschool and elementary schools, with the PYP all of these “best practices” are utilized together.

International Baccalaureate in an Independent Elementary School
While implementing the PYP hasn’t dramatically changed the milieu at Seneca Academy, where we have provided an engaging, nurturing and hands-on learning environment for students for 30 years (since our early days when we were The Circle School), it has enhanced our teaching practices. We find that our students are better able to exhibit their understanding of the concepts we teach and the connections between them. They are better communicators verbally, in writing, and with visual presentations. Perhaps most importantly, students are now better able to translate their knowledge into action, a primary tenet of the PYP. Isn’t that what we want our students to demonstrate after our lessons? Not just that they have knowledge, but that they know what to do with that knowledge? That is what an IB/PYP school such as Seneca Academy provides.

1 comment:

  1. Hello there
    I am also aware of IB diploma programme for students , As I know very prestigious school in india which provides Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organisation, for grades 11 and 12, is offered at The Sri Ram School , Moulsari campus in india