Our Educational Approach

Reggio Emilia Inspired

 

In our early years programmes - Timbertots, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten - we follow the Reggio Emilia philosophy. This is an educational philosophy based on the image of the child as possessing strong potential for development and as a subject of rights, who learns and grows in their relationships with others.

This global educational project has inspired schools all over the world, and is based on a number of distinctive characteristics: the participation of families, the collegial work of all personnel, the importance of the educational environment, the in-school kitchen, the pedagogical coordinating team, the presence of the atelier, or creative space, and the figure of the atelierista, a teacher dedicated to promoting creative expression.

In the atelier spaces young children are offered daily opportunities to encounter many types of materials, many expressive languages, many points of view, working actively with hands, minds, and emotions, in a context that values the expressiveness and creativity of each child in the group.

IB Primary Years Program

In the PYP, learning is approached in a transdisciplinary way, based on Units of Inquiry that are designed to both meet learning outcomes for each grade level and allow for student agency in their learning. At St. John’s, students approach Units of Inquiry through a variety of subject areas including language arts, math, visual art, drama, music, dance and physical, social and personal education (PSPE). 

   

 

 

Programme of Inquiry

 


Below you will find our Programme of Inquiry, which outlines the Units of Inquiry that each grade level will focus on throughout the year.

Download the Early Learning School Programme of Inquiry

 

The Learner

 


 

Agency 

Student agency is a critical element of the PYP.  With more agency, students take responsibility for their own learning and work in partnership with the teachers to make progress. Students are involved in their learning process with:

  • Choice: They help decide how they learn or how they might share what they have learned.
  • Voice: They share their ideas openly and feel that their ideas are heard and respected.
  • Ownership: They direct their learning with a strong sense of identity and self-belief and work with teachers and peers to build a sense of community and awareness of the opinions, values and needs of others.

 


 

Learner Profile 

The attributes of the learner profile represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that encompass intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth. The development and demonstration of these attributes are foundational to students becoming internationally minded, active and caring community members who respect themselves, others and the world around them.

Download IB Learner Profile

 


 

Action 

Action is integral to the PYP learning process.  As students take action throughout their inquiry process, they come to understand the responsibilities we each have toward ourselves, our communities, and our planet.  Action is most successful when it is initiated by students, authentic to their inquiries and interests, and meaningful to the student. Students are encouraged “think globally, act locally.” This allows them to take their passion for a global or wide-spread issue and find ways to make a change in their own life or local community. 

Action could be:

  • a change in attitude or thinking 
  • planning for action in the future
  • a demonstration of responsibility, or of respect for self, others and the environment
  • leading or participating in a youth advocacy group
  • participating in school, community or global decision making 
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Learning and Teaching

 


 

Transdisciplinary Learning 

Units of Inquiry are organised into six transdisciplinary themes of global and local significance. These 6 themes are addressed each year of the PYP in different contexts through inquiries that are substantial, in-depth and usually last for several weeks:

Transdisciplinary Themes: 

  • 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

 


 

Concepts 

The PYP is a concept-driven curriculum, encouraging students to think critically about the world around them. The PYP identifies seven key concepts which are central to understanding:

  • 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?

 


 

Approaches to Learning 

Approaches to learning (ATL) are an integral part of PYP learning and complement the learner profile, knowledge, conceptual understanding and inquiry. These skills are grounded in the belief that learning how to learn is fundamental to a student’s education/ The ATLs are grouped into 5 categories: 

  • Thinking skills
  • Social skills 
  • Communication skills 
  • Self-management skills
  • Research skills
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The Learning Community

 


 

Collaboration

The PYP embraces collaboration as a part of the learning process.  Students learn strategies to collaborate with their peers to achieve common goals and improve themselves as learners and communicators. Teachers and students practice ongoing collaboration to ensure the learning environment is student-cantered and to allow for student voice, choice and ownership of their learning process. 

 


 

International Mindedness 

International mindedness is at the heart of the PYP.  Students are encouraged to embrace their differences and value what makes them unique.  They are also encouraged to find commonalities between themselves and others and appreciate diverse perspectives. An open-minded approach to global issues allows students to see multiple perspectives and embrace a common sense of shared responsibility for each other and our planet. 

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Dual Language Programme

The goal of the Dual Language Programme is that a majority of the students become bilingual and biliterate through the collaborative efforts and participation of student, parent and teacher. We highly recommend that students complete the full program (7 years), the average time needed to become bilingual and biliterate. DLP students should also enroll in activities outside of school in the “target” language (the language that is not as strong) to ensure they are receiving authentic practice in this language in addition to the academic instruction provided at school.

Any student may apply and will be considered based on the application and an interview with parents. 

We welcome you on this fantastic journey of growth and learning.

Download DLP Brochure

 

 

"Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world." - Rumi

Instructor Model

Two teachers alternate in the classroom each day:
• 1 teacher modelling in French
• 1 teacher modelling in English

 

Language Support

Early childhood learners are intrinsically highly motivated language learners. Language teaching and learning in these grades takes place in a fully integrated, context based environment rich in hands on activities. Homeroom teachers are supported by our school language specialists. Individual student needs are taken into consideration and addressed by our learning support team.

 

Languages of Instruction across the Curriculum

All core subjects are taught in both French and English following the 60/40 Two Way Immersion Model.
Single-subject classes:
• Physical Education
• Art
• Music
• Dance
• Library
Single-subjects are taught in French or English to align with the 60/40 Two-Way Immersion Model.

 

Bridging the two Languages

Children are in a bilingual environment all day. Bridging* the two languages occurs naturally as concepts, content and skills are introduced, modelled, and practiced in both languages. This is not done through direct translation but instead by layering the learning across both languages.
*Bridging occurs when a concept or word has been taught in one language and then introduced and used in the second language of instruction.

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