Understanding the Primary Years Program

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\Understanding the Primary Years Program*

A Guide for Parents How is the curriculum developed? The PYP holds regular meetings to which authorized schools send representatives.  These representatives serve on curriculum committees which develop the curriculum for individual disciplines, in the context of a coherent, central framework.  The work of these committees is coordinated by a steering committee.  Since the early stages of its development the PYP has also worked closely with consultants and teacher trainers from different national systems.What will my child be learning?The PYP has designated a trans disciplinary curriculum which draws the individual disciplines together into a coherent whole, while preserving the essence of each subject.Your child will:

  • develop a deep understanding of important concepts
  • conduct research into knowledge which has local and global significance
  • acquire and practice a range of essential skills
  • be encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards learning, the environment and other people
  • have the opportunity for involvement in responsible action and social service.

How will I know how my child is doing?The PYP promotes the use of a range of assessment strategies which are designed to give a clear picture of your child’s progress.  This progress will be reported to you regularly, both orally and in writing.  You are encouraged to play an active role in supporting your child’s learning.How can I support my child’s learning?The PYP sees learning as a partnership between student, parent and school.  The degree of parental involvement may vary from school to school but the fundamentals of parental support remain the same.You can help your child by:

  • maintaining regular contact with the school
  • sharing books with your child
  • supporting your child’s mother tongue
  • assisting your child with research projects
  • attending curriculum information sessions at school and parent/teacher conferences

After the PYP, what next?The IB sees the PYP curriculum as an excellent preparation, but not a prerequisite, for the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) for 11 to 16 year olds.  Both curriculum place a focus on critical thinking, personal responsibility for learning, student inquiry, and social service.  Similarly the MYP is seen as an ideal foundation, but again not a prerequisite, for the IB’s Diploma Program for 16 to 19 year olds.  The IB Diploma Program is regarded by many as the finest pre-university curriculum available.  Arlington Public Schools offers the MYP at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and the Diploma Program at Washington-Lee High School.Will the PYP help my child fit into another school?Although no school or curriculum can guarantee a perfect fit when children transfer to a new school, particularly a school in a different country, parents may be reassured by the following points:Transfer to schools following a national curriculum….

  • Close attention is paid to a range of national curriculum when developing the PYP curriculum.
  • Students  transferring from international schools usually have no trouble with the standards of national schools.

Transfer to other schools offering the PYP….

  • Students in other schools implementing the PYP curriculum will have common learning experiences in terms of conceptual development, skill acquisition, positive attitudes and meaningful action.  There will be less uniformity of specific content in certain areas, since schools will naturally wish to reflect the unique nature of their own locations.

To learn more about the IB Program by linking to the IB web-site, click here.