Language plays a vital role in the construction of meaning in PYP classrooms. It empowers learners and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development and critical thinking. Language is the major connecting element across the curriculum and provides the vehicle for inquiry. At Seisen, we strive to develop a caring language community in which all students feel accepted and confident that they will be supported by others in language learning and taking risks.
The study of language is based on 3 strands:
- Listening and Speaking
- Reading and Writing
- Viewing and Presenting
The learning process simultaneously involves:
- Learning language - listening to and using language in everyday context
- Learning about language - developing a deeper understanding of how language works
- Learning through language - using language as a tool to listen, think, discuss and reflect on information, ideas and issues
Strategies used to support language learning at Seisen include:
Genre approach - based on the study of text and language features of various genre
Write Traits - ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions
Thinking strategies of highly effective readers - clarifying and monitoring meaning, using background knowledge, creating mental images, questioning, determining importance, inferring and synthesizing
Modeled, shared, guided, and independent practice
Mathematics incorporates 5 strands:
- Pattern and Function
- Shape and Space
- Data Handling
Whenever possible, mathematics is taught through the relevant, realistic context of the units of inquiry for students to develop an understanding of real-life applications of mathematics. The programme offers opportunities for students to:
- construct meaning about mathematics
- transfer meaning into symbols
- apply understanding of mathematical concepts in problem-solving
Data handling, measurement and shape & space are often integrated into the units of inquiry, as they are the areas of mathematics that other disciplines use to research, describe, represent and understand aspects of their domain. The pattern & function and number strands are most often taught as a stand-alone subject. We are currently using the Everyday Math Program by the University of Chicago, and increasingly adopting an inquiry-based approach to its implementation.
Science teaching and learning takes place within the context of the units of inquiry. Students actively construct and challenge their understanding of the world by developing scientific knowledge, reasoning and critical thinking skills. Engaging in hands-on learning experiences and the scientific process encourage curiosity and helps students develop respect for themselves, other living things and the environment.
Teaching and learning in Science is based on the following strands:
- Living Things
- Earth and Space
- Materials and Matter
- Forces and Energy
Science skills within the PYP:
- 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
Social Studies teaching and learning takes place within the context of the units of inquiry. Through relating subject content to significant and universal concepts common to all societies, times and places, the social studies component of the curriculum becomes international.
Teaching and learning Social Studies is based on the following strands:
- human systems and economic activities
- social organization and culture
- continuity and change through time
- human and natural environments
- resources and the environment
Social studies within the PYP provides opportunities for students to:
- formulate and ask questions about the past, the future, places and societies
- use and analyze 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
At Seisen, we believe that learning about and through arts is fundamental to the development to the whole child, promoting creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and social interactions.
Music, visual art and dance are offered in the elementary. Each of these arts is significant in its own right, but the transdisciplinary nature of arts gives them relevance throughout the curriculum. The arts promote opportunities to reflect on aesthetic experiences, to engage the imagination, convey meaning, share culture, develop one’s sense of self and expand knowledge.
Teaching and learning in the arts is based on the following two strands:
- Responding - the process of responding provides opportunities for students to respond to their own and other artists’ works and processes, which help develop the skills of critical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, reflection and communication.
- Creating - the process of creating provides students with opportunities to communicate distinctive forms of meaning, develop their technical skills, take creative risks, solve problems and visualize consequences.
Within the Arts in PYP, students:
- develop proficiency as musicians, visual artists and dancers
- acquire audience skills such as listening and viewing responsively
- interpret and present their own or others’ works to a range of audiences
- create and critique choreographed performances, compositions and artwork using a selection of tools and techniques
- express feelings, ideas, experiences and beliefs in a variety of ways
- improve coordination, flexibility, agility, strength and fine motor skills
In the PYP, personal, social and physical education (PSPE) is concerned with the individuals’ well-being through the promotion and development of concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills that contribute to this well-being. PSPE encompasses physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development. It contributes to an understanding of self, to developing and maintaining relationships with others, and to participation in an active, healthy lifestyle.
PSPE is integral to teaching and learning in the PYP and is embodied in the IB Learner Profile and represents the qualities of internationally minded students and effective learners.
Teaching and learning in PSPE is based on the following strands:
- Active Living
All teachers are responsible for teaching the PSPE curriculum. Our elementary counselor works actively with the elementary teachers in planning and implementing the PSPE curriculum. We have specialist PE teachers who teach the majority of the Active Living Strand.
At Seisen, we believe that acquisition of more than one language enriches personal development and helps facilitate the development of international-mindedness. All students have the opportunity to learn Japanese from grade one. Spanish and Mandarin are also offered from grade five. Students who are not yet proficient in English receive English as an Additional Language (EAL) support.
Teaching and learning in an additional language includes the following strands:
- Listening and Speaking
At Seisen, we believe technology is important in all subject areas and is appropriate for all grade levels. We are committed to integrating technology into all PYP subject areas. Our students learn by building an interactive and motivational climate, regardless of personal background, knowledge base, or learning style. Our goal is to support our globally-minded learners to effectively utilize their knowledge and skills to investigate, create, communicate, collaborate, organize and be responsible for their own learning and actions, anytime and anywhere with appropriate uses of technology.
Teaching and learning is based on “The role of the ICT in the PYP” and follows these strands:
Investigating: research, search, note taking, and compare and analyze information
Creating: innovate, construct & demonstrate meaning (or knowledge), critical thinking, problem-posing and solving, reflecting, and self-expression
Communicating: exchange of information to various audiences using a range of media and formats.
Collaborating: validate and negotiate ideas, expand understanding and global perspectives, and create and share knowledge
Organizing: structure or arranges connected items, understand ICT systems, use ICT to inform, adapt, manage and problem-solve
Becoming responsible digital citizens: use ICT to make informed and ethical choices as a global citizen, while practice safe and legal behaviors
Technology in the PYP, students: develop proficiency in the use of ICT; acquire confidence in problem solving; utilize their knowledge and skills in the use ICT; respect the rights of others and themselves in the digital world; share their knowledge, skills, insight, and creations with others