The implementation of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme at our Early Childhood Center enables our youngest students (3-6 years of age) to interact at a developmentally appropriate pace with a particular focus on their social and emotional development. The learning takes place in a play based Reggio inspired environment where each child is encouraged to share knowledge and gain experience through an inquiry-driven curriculum.
The Nursery class can be the child’s first impact with a learning environment so the school year is dedicated to ensuring that the children understand who they are within that space. Through units of inquiry such as School and Amazing Me they will learn how to follow routines and begin to understand that the people in school each have a role. Social interaction is the biggest learning experience they will have this first year, creating relationships with teachers and staff and more fundamentally, their peers. They will begin to understanding how to socialize in a group environment, how to share, take turns and negotiate whilst at play.
As the children move on to Kinder in their second year at the school, they start to appreciate individual differences and accept that we each have a particular perspective. The children are encouraged to appreciate each other’s individuality through units of inquiry such as Friendships and Roles when they develop their growing ability to see the world from a different point of view.
By the time the students reach our Prep class they have matured to the point of being able to see an even bigger picture and understand that their actions impact other people and the world. The units on Choices and Responsibilities reflect this and the Prep children start to understand that they can make valid contributions to the school community and become role models for the younger students.
Oral language acquisition is the first step to reading and writing, therefore conversations are a strong part of the early years language curriculum. As the students develop their fine motor skills and begin to write, they are encouraged to represent their thoughts in a visual way. This develops throughout the early years with stronger representations of letters and words as the students gain maturity. The importance of writing for purpose is always present in the teacher’s mind and students are encouraged to engage in meaningful writing opportunities as they explore their own thinking.
Children are constantly trying to make sense of the world that surrounds them, and this is also true of their ability to comprehend mathematical notations in the world around them. In early childhood, we make strong mathematical connections to each unit of inquiry, therefore the student makes a tangible and purposeful link between mathematics and the real world. Through their natural curiosity and exploration of the environment, they learn to discover the fascinating world of maths.