Private education group AdvTech is adopting the internationally-recognised International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) at all seven of its Crawford Preparatory campuses in South Africa.
The International Baccalaureate is a global organisation with its head office in The Hague.
It offers four different educational programmes which are currently active in more than 6,500 schools across the globe, providing a powerful network of professional educators continually engaging in discussions around teaching, learning, innovation and applications, which constantly enhances and extends the IB educational offering.
Crawford Schools introduced the IB PYP this year, and is endorsed as Candidate IB Schools.
The group is now working through the formal process of all seven primary schools being authorised as accredited IB World School by 2020, when an international school visitor team will assess each campus, and determine whether they have met the required IB Standards and Practices and can therefore be verified as international IB PYP World Schools.
This multi-site, simultaneous implementation is a global first, and has created increasing excitement across the international IB community, placing South Africa firmly on the global IB map with Crawford Schools leading the implementation as candidate IB PYP schools.
What is the IB PYP?
The Primary Years Programme focuses learners towards being reflective, creative and innovative around modern-day challenges – such as the fourth industrial revolution – while handling topics relevant to the world of today.
it is designed for learners between the ages of three and 12 years. The subjects cover language, social studies, mathematics, arts, science, and personal, social and physical education.
While the PYP still encompasses the same subject areas familiar to South African learners, the way it is packaged, presented, taught and inquired into is unique, AdvTech said.
For example, instead of simply learning about food chains as an isolated topic, learners will gain an understanding of how living things depend on each other for survival, and the impact that occurs when this is disrupted.
Instead of learning about ‘water’ as a topic, learners inquire into how people depend on and need to conserve Earth’s limited resources.
“The PYP transdisciplinary framework encourages and supports connections across learning and teaching as a means of raising students’ awareness of the connections between and the relevance of their learning,” said Traci Salter-Willis, head of IB and academic strategic development advisor at AdvTech South Africa.
“As such, the units of inquiry the students engage in are transformed from what is traditionally known as topics, into exploring conceptual understandings of greater depth.”
Salter-Willis said that Crawford Schools chose the PYP because it helps learners create meaning in a complex and interdependent world by building understanding through exploring real-world issues.
“It also creates opportunities for students to become more confident communicators who are able to share their understandings in a variety of multi-modal approaches, including verbal, written, digital, face-to-face, pictorial, and so forth,” she said.
She said that the aim is to not simply make students learn, but to teach them about learning how to learn, and exploring the application of knowledge, understanding and skills in a variety of contexts, considering a multitude of perspectives.