Primary school lays the foundation for a successful education. We define a successful education as developing solid character traits based on values, an academic standard that is based on individual potential, and a support structure based on individual interests and strengths. In order to achieve this aim of a successful education and later successful school diplomas, we base our learning model in the Primary School on meaningful, inquiry-based learning.
The years between six and eleven are an important time in the development of our students and we use this to promote their curiosity, guide their interests and discover their talents. We also use this time to teach the skills and abilities that will form the basis for the next step in their school careers. In order for this solid skill foundation to unfold, we have designed a program that enables us to use this important window of opportunity for each of our students. The program provides the necessary flexibility in order to give each student the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential.
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) as well as the Berlin Framework Curriculum provide the framework for a student-centered approach which seeks to cultivate student-led inquiry and engage students to make connections to prior learning, explore new ideas, and investigate ways to solve problems.
The Primary School curriculum is organized around six transdisciplinary themes called “units of inquiry” which are designed to deliver the subject matter in a coherent manner and act as the overarching guide for inquiry-based learning. These units are derived from the following six interdisciplinary topics:
- Who are we
- Where are we in space and time
- How do we express ourselves
- How does the world work
- How do we organize ourselves
- How do we use and share our planet
These units offer our students the opportunity to explore knowledge of genuine importance in hopes of better understanding the human condition as both an individual and as a collective. Conceptual skills such as research, analysis, and communication of ideas through team work form the basis of explicit skill instruction through the PYP.
What may seem very theoretical enables us to explain the world around our students by using their lives as a starting point, thus enabling them to forge deeper connections to more complex questions and concepts. Student-led inquiry is the starting point for each unit and provides the motivation to foster unchecked curiosity and steer students towards essential learning outcomes.
The subjects of German, English, Math, and Natural Sciences are incorporated into all units. Drama, Art, Music and Sport are also integrated into selected units. This specific approach to interdisciplinary learning allows for student expression to flourish and enriches learning across the Program of Inquiry (POI). The latter is one of the prerequisites for a positive, committed attitude to learning on the part of our students.