The Primary Years Programme: Tara Junior School is an IB World School
Tara's core purpose is to be a Christian learning community, characterized by excellence, which encourages and empowers girls to achieve and serve in a dynamic world.
The International Baccalaureate Mission Statement: The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
What kind of learner is a Tara girl?
Find out more about the Learner Profile
in the Tara Junior School.
What is the PYP?
The PYP is a powerful learning framework that organises the curriculum in a way that enables students to make connections, construct meaning and understanding and take action. It is a framework which we apply to BOSTES content to better prepare our students for living in the 21century. The PYP adds rigour and integrity to student’s everyday learning experiences.
The PYP focuses on the total growth of the developing child. In educating the heart and the mind, the PYP is a framework encompassing academic, social, physical, spiritual, emotional and cultural needs. The PYP is based on respected international educational research and practice, with the purpose of creating a relevant, engaging, significant and challenging curriculum.
Within this framework, students engage with the mandated curriculum requirements of the Australian Curriculum and the New South Wales Board of Studies.
What do we learn?
In the PYP a balance is sought between acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of conceptual understanding, the demonstration of positive attitudes, and the taking of responsible action.
One of the most distinctive features of the PYP is the way learning is structured around the six transdisciplinary themes. Learning within themes allows students to go beyond subject boundaries and explore contemporary and historical issues of local and global relevance.
Where we are in place and time - The girls inquire into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilisations, from local and global perspectives
How we express ourselves - The girls inquire into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic
How the world works - The girls inquire into the natural world and its laws, the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment
How we organise ourselves - The girls inquire into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment
Sharing the planet - The girls inquire into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and other living things; communities and the relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution
Who we are - The girls inquire into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
In every year group, the girls undertake a substantial, sustained, in-depth unit of inquiry into each of the 6 themes that usually lasts for about 6 weeks each. So by the end of their time in the Junior School, they have developed a deep understanding of the important ideas contained within each theme.
At Tara we strive for a balance between learning about and through subject areas, and learning beyond them. There are six subject areas in the PYP and NSW Board of Studies. These subject areas provide students with knowledge, skills, attitudes and concepts which the girls explore to understand the interconnected nature of the subject areas and the transdisciplinary themes.
How do we learn best?
The PYP curriculum is not just concerned with what we learn but also with how we learn. Therefore an integral aspect of the framework is an articulated approach to teaching and learning, in recognition of the fact that, in practice, the what and the how are inextricably linked. The teaching approach is focused on authentic learning that is inquiry-based and conceptually driven. This involves a commitment to structured, purposeful and guided inquiry that engages students actively in their own learning. The teacher’s role in the classroom is to design the learning environment in order to meet every child at their point of need. In the PYP it is believed that this is the way in which students learn best.
How is our learning measured?
Teaching at Tara is interested in the students developing positive approaches to learning (ATL). Learning reaches beyond the acquisition of knowledge and into the realms of developing a discerning learner, arming students with the right attitudes, skills and conceptual thinking that will assist them now and in the future. The ultimate intention of ATL is to develop self-regulated, communicative, investigative, perceptive, socially astute learners through skill based, process focused teaching.
Assessment in the PYP identifies what students know, understand, can do and value at different stages in the teaching and learning process. The direct link between assessment and the teaching and learning process means that they function purposefully together. Assessing the product of inquiry as well as the process of inquiry is an important objective of the programme.
Assessment at Tara:
Provides feedback to students, parents and teachers in the form of the written report, Parent/teacher conversations and Student-led conferences
Determines what the student knows, understands and can do
Informs and differentiates teaching and learning
Monitors student progress in the development of the IB learner profile attributes
Monitors the effectiveness of teaching and learning
What are we interested in finding out:
Whether the nature of the students’ inquiries develop over time; whether they are, in fact, asking questions of more depth, which are likely to enhance their learning substantially
Whether the students are becoming aware that real problems require solutions based on the integration of knowledge that spans and connects several subject areas
Whether the students are mastering skills and accumulating a comprehensive knowledge base in order to conduct their inquiries successfully and find solutions to problems
Whether the students demonstrate both independence and an ability to work collaboratively
Consideration of these points allows teachers to plan for effective teaching and learning opportunities that give students a chance to develop their inquiries further.
Students who are in their final year of the PYP are expected to carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry project, known as the exhibition, under the guidance of their teachers. The exhibition represents a significant event in the life of both the school and student, synthesising the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the Learner profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP. It is a culminating experience marking the transition from PYP to further steps in education. Schools are given considerable flexibility in their choice of real-life issues or problems to be explored or investigated in the exhibition.
For more information about the PYP visit the official website or contact the school.