The Primary School starts from Grade 1 to Grade 5, for children between the age of 6 and 10 years old.
Excelsior International School follows an inquiry-based approach to learning.
Some key features of the PYP:
The Learner Profile
We aim to educate unique internationally minded people, who possess the following qualities, which as defined by the PYP are the 10 student-learning outcomes called the 'learner profile'.
- Inquirers - Their natural curiosity has been nurtured. They have acquired the skills necessary to conduct purposeful, constructive research. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives
- Thinkers - They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to make sound decisions and solve complex problems.
- Communicators - They receive and express ideas and information confidently in more than one language, including the language of mathematical symbols.
- Risk-Takers - They approach unfamiliar situations without anxiety and have the confidence and independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are courageous and articulate in defending those things in which they believe.
- Knowledgeable – They have spent time in our schools exploring themes which have global relevance and importance. In so doing, they have acquired a critical mass of significant knowledge.
- Principled – They have a sound grasp of the principles of moral reasoning. They have integrity, honesty and a sense of fairness and justice.
- Caring - They show sensitivity towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a sense of personal commitment to action and service.
- Open-minded – They respect the views, values and traditions of other individuals and cultures and are accustomed to seeking and considering a range of points of view.
- Balanced – They understands the importance of physical and mental balance and personal well-being.
- Reflective – They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and analyse their personal strengths and weaknesses in a constructive manner.
The Written Curriculum
We strive for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive action.
The body of significant and relevant subject matter students explore and know about is referred to as knowledge. This knowledge is represented through 6 subject areas: Languages, Social Studies, Science and Technology, Mathematics, Arts, and Personal, Social and Physical Education.
Key concepts are expressed as questions:
- 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?)
- Responsibility (What is our responsibility?)
- Reflection (How do we know?).
The PYP identifies sets of disciplinary and cross-curricular skills, outlined below, that are acquired in the process of structured inquiry.
- Thinking skills: the acquisition of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, dialectical thought, and metacognition.
- Research skills: formulating questions, observing, planning, collecting and recording data, organising and interpreting data, and presenting research findings.
- Communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and non-verbal communication.
- Self-management skills: gross and fine motor skills, spatial awareness, organisation, time management, safety, a healthy lifestyle, codes of behaviour and making informed choices.
- Social skills: accepting responsibility, respecting others, cooperating, resolving conflict, group decision making, and adopting a variety of group roles.
Students develop attitudes or expressions of fundamental values, beliefs and feelings about learning, the environment and people, such as appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance.
Students are encouraged to reflect, choose wisely and to act responsibly with their peers, school staff and in the wider community. Through such service, students are able to grow socially and personally, developing skills such as cooperation, problem solving, conflict resolution and creative and critical thinking.
At the heart of the PYP's philosophy is a commitment to structured inquiry as an ideal vehicle for learning. Teachers and students are guided by 6 transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from the 6 subject areas, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organise ourselves
- Sharing the planet
The Taught Curriculum
The taught curriculum is the written curriculum in action.
In the PYP, the taught curriculum is part of what the continuum of IB programmes calls the approaches to teaching (ATT). The taught curriculum reinforces the pedagogy of authentic learning that is inquiry-based and conceptually driven. The programme is committed to structured, purposeful inquiry that engages students actively in their own learning.
The taught curriculum also touches on the approaches to learning (ATL) which are currently identified as "transdisciplinary skills" in the PYP. The ultimate intention of ATL across the IB continuum is to develop self-regulated (self-managed, self directed, independent) learners through skill based, process focused teaching.
The deliberate use of ATT strategies and ATL reinforces a holistic experience that not only addresses students' cognitive development, but their social, emotional and physical well-being.
The Assessed Curriculum
Assessment in the PYP identifies what students know, understand, can do and value at different stages in the teaching and learning process. The direct link between assessment and the teaching and learning process means that they must function purposefully together. Assessing the result of inquiry as well as the process of inquiry are important objectives of the programme.
The principal purposes of assessment in the PYP are to:
- Provide feedback to students, parents and teachers
- Determine what the student knows and understands about the world
- Inform and differentiate teaching and learning
- Monitor student progress in the development of the IB learner profile attributes
- Monitor the effectiveness of the programme.
Essentially, there are two types of assessment in the PYP, each of which has a specific function.
- Formative assessment is embedded in the teaching and learning process and therefore occurs in the daily routine of a classroom. It aims to support students to become better learners and helps teachers to plan the next stage of learning.
- Summative assessment occurs at the end of the teaching and learning process and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned in a new context. It aims to give teachers, students and parents clear, evidence-based insight into students' understanding at a particular moment in time.
When assessing the process of inquiry, teachers consider whether:
- The nature of the students' inquiries develop over time; whether they are, in fact, asking questions of more depth, which are likely to enhance their learning substantially
- The students are becoming aware that real problems require solutions based on the integration of knowledge that spans and connects several subject areas
- The students are mastering skills and accumulating a comprehensive knowledge base in order to conduct their inquiries successfully and find solutions to problems
- The students demonstrate both independence and an ability to work collaboratively.
Consideration of these points allows teachers to plan for effective teaching and learning opportunities that give students a chance to develop their inquiries further.
To have an external benchmark in assessing the students, all students will undertake the Cambridge Checkpoint for English, Mathematics and Science near the end of Grade 5.
Students who are in their final year of the programme are expected to carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry project, known as the exhibition, under the guidance of their teachers.
The exhibition represents a significant event in the life of both the school and student, synthesising the essential elements of the programme and sharing them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the Learner profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the programme. It is a culminating experience marking the transition from PYP to further steps in education.