- The International Baccalaureate
- Primary Years Program
- Guidelines for Parents
Sanskar School is a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. These are schools that share a common philosophy – a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Sanskar School believes is important for our students.Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its three academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), or the Diploma Programme (and in addition the IB Career-related Certificate). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted.
Welcome to Sanskar School Primary Years Program. This guide has been created to help answer those questions typically asked by parents new to the International Baccalaureate.
What is the International Baccalaureate?
It is a non-profit educational and non-governmental (NGO) organization of UNESCO. The IB’s alliance with UNESCO encourages the integration of its educational goals with the IB curriculum.
It was established in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland. The IBO offers four programs of international education for students aged 3-19 years old:
- The Primary Years Program (PYP) (for students 3-12 years old)
- The Middle Years Program (MYP) (for students 11-16 years old)
- The Diploma Program at the high school level (grades 9-12)
- The Career Related Program (CP) (for students 16-19 years old)
There are currently 1323 schools offering PYP in the world. 357 of them are in the Asia-Pacific region.
What’s the story behind the IBO?
Marie Therese Maurette created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Program, in 1948, when she wrote ‘Is There a Way of Teaching for Peace?’, a handbook for UNESCO. In the mid-1960’s, a group of teachers from the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which would later become the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). The IB headquarters were officially established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968, for the development and maintenance of the diploma program, which provided an internationally acceptable university admissions qualifications for young people whose parents worked as diplomats or with international and multi-national companies.
The mission of the IBO:
To develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people. To create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To work with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. To encourage students worldwide to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
All IB Programs
– have a strong international dimension
– draw on content from educational cultures around the world
– require study across a broad range of subjects
– include both individual subjects and transdisciplinary areas
– give special emphasis to learning languages
– focus on developing the skills of learning
– provide opportunities for individual and collaborative planning and research
– encourage students to become responsible, active members of their community
What is the IB PYP?
Regardless of location, size, or make-up, an IB PYP school strives to develop an internationally-minded person. For students aged 3 to 12, the IB PYP focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. The PYP is transdisciplinary and flexible enough to accommodate the demand of most national and local curriculums.
So, what are these “Learner Profile” qualities or attributes that produce internationally-minded students?
They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.
They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.
They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In doing so, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.
They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.
They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.
What will my child learn at Sanskar?
At Sanskar, we are committed to structured inquiry as the vehicle for learning. Six transdisciplinary themes provide the framework for exploration and construction of knowledge. Teachers and students are guided by these transdisciplinary themes—as they design units of inquiry for exploration and study. Through this process, students develop an understanding of important concepts, acquire essential skills and knowledge, develop particular attitudes and learn to take socially responsible action.
What does “transdisciplinary” mean?
Transdisciplinary is the word that IB uses to describe a discipline that applies across all disciplines – it is interconnected and can be applied across all subjects and to real life. A transdisciplinary concept stretches across Math, Science, English, Social Science and ties it all together; it is not isolated to one subject. For example, the idea of change affects Math, Science, English, Geography, Art – the IB PYP strives to demonstrate this through learning, giving understanding to a real life world. The IBO curriculum framework consists of 5 essential elements that are all transdisciplinary.
The PYP recognizes that it is inappropriate to dictate what every child should know in an international community. The PYP has identified themes, or areas of knowledge, which are used to organize the 6 Units of Inquiry, taught from early childhood through grade 5. These Units of Inquiry provide the framework (as opposed to a text book curriculum) for a wide variety of resources to be explored in order to accomplish the objectives within each Unit of Inquiry.
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 aesthetics
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 on 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 relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution
There are 8 fundamental concepts expressed as key questions, to propel the process of inquiry. These universal concepts drive the research units called UNITS OF INQUIRY. They also have relevance within and across all subject areas (transdisciplinary).
- 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?
- Reflection: How do we know?
- Responsibility: What is our responsibility?
There are 5 sets of transdisciplinary skills acquired in the process of structured inquiry. These are:
The PYP promotes 12 attitudes that we want our Sanskar students to feel, value, and demonstrate. They are the daily expressions of the “Learner Profile” used by teachers in teaching and by students in their learning. Each is an outward expression of an inner feeling and cannot be faked for long. We feel that these are the keys to happiness and success as a person.
Seeing and being thankful for the wonder and beauty of our world.
Being responsible for one’s learning, showing self-discipline, and perseverance. Sticking with a difficult task until it is completed.
Knowing that it can be done, having courage to take risks, using what is learnt, and making good choices.
Working with others and being willing to lead or follow as needed.
Using one’s imagination while thinking and doing things.
Being curious about the nature of learning, about the world, its people and cultures.
Being able to put oneself in someone else’s place in order to understand her or him..
Being excited about learning and life.
Thinking and acting on one’s own.
Being fair and honest.
Caring for others, our world, and ourselves.
Understanding, appreciating, and celebrating differences in each other.
Our Sanskar students are encouraged to reflect, to make informed choices and to take action that will help their peers, school staff, and the wider community. This is how our students demonstrate a deeper sense of learning, by applying their knowledge to service and positive action.
So, what actually is a “Unit of Inquiry”?
A Unit of Inquiry usually lasts for 4-6 weeks. The objective is to cover all 6 Themes throughout the year. For example, during the Unit of Inquiry “Sharing the Planet” students may spend 6 weeks looking at the resources we have in the world and how various countries use, share and dispose off these resources. Students will answer questions like: How do these resources connect people around the world? Or, how are these resources changing and what does that mean for people? These concepts and questions move across all school subjects (i.e. Math, English, Geography, etc.) and apply to real life and the world around us.
And, how does Sanskar implement these Units of Inquiry?
These Units of Inquiry form the Sanskar Program of Inquiry on which our teachers build students’ concepts, knowledge, and skills. The themes provide the structure to articulate subject -specific knowledge from Pre-Primary to Grade 5. With the IB PYP, however,the priority is not on using a set of textbooks, but rather the emphasis is on a wide variety of resources from which teachers and students extract knowledge, develop understanding, and explore ways of applying that to real life.
Why less use of textbooks?
Because the IB PYP philosophy believes that students learn best through authentic inquiry. While there is certainly a place in the curriculum for some use of textbooks and workbooks, Sanskar uses a wide range of primary and secondary resources that cater best to our students’ individual needs and learning styles. Textbooks do so much of the work for a child that they inhibit development of the critical thinking skills necessary to become a successful life-long learner. The IB PYP also recognizes that it is not knowledge alone that makes a learner successful, but the skills and attitudes they develop along the way.
How are students at SANSKAR SCHOOL Assessed?
Students at Sanskar School are assessed in a variety of ways, including written tests, projects, oral presentations and written reports. Assessment in IB PYP is “criterion referenced.” This means students are scored against standards and using a rubric, not against each other. The rubric states what the criteria are for the assignment and what the score will be for addressing or not addressing each point in that criteria. The rubric allows students to take ownership of their effort and learning.
Please tell me what is a RUBRIC?
A rubric defines what are the standards or requirements that need to be accomplished in order to achieve the overall target or goal. Students should be able to use rubrics in many of the same ways that teachers use them – to clarify the standards for a quality performance, and to guide ongoing feedback about progress towords those standards.
Explain to me a little more about how my child will be assessed at SANSKAR SCHOOL?
At SANSKAR SCHOOL, each Unit of Inquiry allows students opportunities to demonstrate that learning is taking place—that there are shifts, if you will, in their understanding. This may look different across all subject areas—however, this shift in understanding is not always best demonstrated through a piece of written work or a traditional exam. Students may be asked to put together a final project, draw, act out a performance, do a presentation, or some other way to show what they have learned. The goal is for our students to demonstrate that learning has taken place by showing what they understand and how they are applying that understanding to real life and the world around them. At SANSKAR SCHOOL, we believe that assessment is the continuation of the learning process. It is NOT assessment of learning, but it is assessment for learning. The IB views assessment as needing to be authentic, essential, rich, engaging, and feasible—it should incorporate students in the process of evaluating their learning. “Formative” assessment is interwoven into the daily lessons and learning—this ongoing process of “checking in” between teachers and students, helps both teachers and students find out what they already know, in order to plan for the next stage of learning. “Formative” assessment and teaching are directly linked; effective learning cannot take place without one or the other. “Summative” assessment takes place at the end of the teaching and learning process—this is the time that students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and application of what has been learned.
How can parents help students with school work?
Follow up daily with your child to see what homework they have. Help reinforce at home the lessons learnt in class and fulfill the requirements for the next day and every day. Help your ward schedule time so they don’t feel overburdened. Realize that you will probably help them with (not do) some of their larger projects. Most parents find pleasure or pride in helping their child grow in this way.
How can I, as a PARENT, get involved in the PYP?
Volunteer to become a Primary Resource Parent by filling in a “Parent as Primary Resource” voucher and share your expertise. Ask children about the theme, central idea, and concepts that they are inquiring into. Show interest in their units of inquiry and plan activities around them whenever you can. Encourage your children to “find out” rather than telling them answers. Ask children about the Learner Profile attributes – point them out in other people, in yourself, in your children’s actions and speech. You are always welcome at Sanskar. We need your support and assistance to make our school ever greater.