The Primary Years Programme
The Primary Years Programme was developed by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) for children aged three to twelve. It has an excellent reputation in the global education community. As an international, transdisciplinary programme, it promotes development of the whole child, both in the classroom and outside the school. The aim is to equip all students with academic skills, whilst at the same time providing a comprehensive understanding of social, emotional and cultural issues. The students' physical and creative development is fostered by incorporating arts and sports activities. The PYP is an ideal combination of the best aspects of the various national school systems und the wealth of experience accumulated by international educational establishments. At our bilingual school, we thus create the ideal boundary conditions for all students. Further information about the Primary Years Programme is available at: www.ibo.org/programmes/primary-years-programme/
The ibsm curriculum
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the IBO provides students and teachers with a comprehensive concept regarding the knowledge to be conveyed und the design of the teaching process. It includes a complete curriculum, also covering guidelines on teaching content, methodology and assessment criteria. Subjects taught are languages (English, German) and mathematics, science and social studies as part of the Units of Inquiry und ethics. The arts, music, physical education and social learning also form part of the curriculum at primary level. The ibsm curriculum is in line with the Bavarian curriculum for primary schools in all subjects and all years, allowing children to move to a state school und to transfer from a state school to the ibsm international primary school.
The basic principle of learning
At our bilingual all-day primary school, we encourage and equip children to get to the bottom of things, to challenge concepts, discover new areas and link knowledge. To this end, we use various forms of teaching, such as free and project work, which support self-determined learning and a positive learning environment. During lessons, the children have time to reflect together, to plan, to integrate new syllabus content, to debate, to practise and to consider. In this, our school focuses not merely on brokering knowledge, but on developing the children into self-confident, curious, independent personalities with a global outlook.
The PYP learning cycle guides the children's process of learning:
- What do we know already? What else do we want to know?
- What is the best way of finding this out?
- How do we know what we have learnt?
For this, the guiding principle of PYP is:
'Learners constructing meaning'
Units of Inquiry
In the course of one school year, the children work on a total of six transdisciplinary topics, the so-called 'Units of Inquiry', in English and German. These Units of Inquiry give the students the opportunity to acquire subject-specific knowledge in a systematic way in both languages, as well as to interpret, analyse and assess global topics. At the same time, they acquire valuable learning skills through practical experience.
Our all-day primary school imparts linguistic skills, reading and writing, mathematics, scientific principles, aesthetics and a common feeling of social community through in-depth exploration of the Units of Inquiry; these are then linked to a common 'central idea'.
The Units of Inquiry are:
Who we are
What does it mean to be a human being in this world?
Who are we and what do we believe in?
Where we are in place and time
Where do we live? In which age do we live?
What are our roots?
How we express ourselves
How do we experience and understand the world around us?
And how do we communicate in language and art?
How the world works
What wonders await us in nature and technology?
And how are they connected?
How we organise ourselves
How are communities organised? What does it mean to go out to work?
How do we interconnect in this world?
Sharing the planet
What rights and responsibilities do we have?
How do we act towards humans and other living beings?
The PYP learner profile
Our mission is to support children in developing a strong personality with a global outlook. As a holistic teaching concept, the Primary Years Programme nurtures the individual strengths and talents of each student. In our all-day primary school, the children develop their abilities step by step and become:
Inquirers – explorers able to investigate the world in a systematic manner
Thinkers – creative thinkers who make well-reasoned, correct decisions and solve complex problems
Communicators – linguistically-adept individuals who understand and express ideas and information in more than one language
Risk-Takers – courageous people who face unknown situations fearlessly and stand up for their convictions
Knowledgeable – well-informed people who gather important knowledge by investigating global topics
Principled – morally stable people who are upright, honest, fair and just and who make decisions based on conscience
Caring – caring people who respect the feelings of their fellow human beings and feel compelled to help and to share
Open-Minded – open-minded people who welcome the views, values and traditions of other people and cultures, and are able to consider matters from several points of view
Well-Balanced – well-balanced people who appreciate the importance of physical and mental balance for their personal well-being
Reflective – reflecting people who give profound consideration to what they learn, recognise their personal strengths and weaknesses and work on them
Multilingualism is a gift and an important skill in a globalised world. Studies show: at a young age, children acquire one or more languages without any difficulty. An early encounter with foreign languages not only makes it easier to learn further languages in later years, but also promotes cognitive development as a whole. The most successful way worldwide of acquiring a new language is by immersion – being completely surrounded by a new language. The new language is the language you play, work and communicate in. We are familiar with this principle from bilingual families: Mum speaks English, Dad speaks German. The children develop their skills in the new language step by step, from the context – without any effort or coercion. In our bilingual primary school, classes 1 to 4 are taught by an English-speaking and a German-speaking teacher throughout, following the 'one person – one language' principle. This allows all students to learn two languages in a natural environment at our school. When their child joins the school, parents have the opportunity of choosing a focus language for them. This focus language may be English or German. All children receive additional coaching to improve skills in their chosen focus language. Well-substantiated information on foreign language immersion is available on the website of the 'Association for early multilingualism in day nurseries and schools', among other sources.
Assessing learning achievements
Our bilingual primary school has dispensed completely with the standard system of school grades when assessing learning achievements. In our opinion, such grades give only a limited idea of the progress children make. Instead we attach great importance to performance assessments which are closely linked to everyday learning. The assessments are intended to help teachers align their teaching with the knowledge and skills the children have and to meet the children at their current position in the learning process.
The performance assessments carried out at our primary school serve to record the progress students make in relation to the syllabus and to measure the effectiveness of our curriculum.
Performance assessments are carried out at various stages of the learning process. Students thus receive regular feedback on their learning progress and the opportunity to review their own learning on their own and together with others.
The Primary Years Programme uses a variety of techniques for assessment. These include for example student/teacher/parent conferences, portfolios, written work, detailed observation of behaviour in class, and papers which are assessed jointly by teachers and fellow students.
Teachers, students and parents receive feedback on the level of performance in particular through:
Before, during and after the learning process, performance is recorded individually and at group level, allowing the learning process to be perfectly tailored to the children's prior knowledge and learning progress.
Students self-assess their knowledge and their learning progress at regular intervals and agree on new learning objectives in cooperation with the teachers.
Twice a year all students are given the opportunity to present their learning progress to their parents, aided by their teacher. This provides parents with an insight into their child's academic, socioemotional and physical progress.
The portfolio is an individual record of special achievements and projects, extracurricular activities and successes, as well as a self-assessment by the student.
At the end of each semester, all students receive a report with specific information on their academic, artistic, sports and social development. Individual appointments: you can always make an appointment with teachers if you have any questions about your child’s development level.
The students take standardised tests (e.g. Hamburger Schreib-Probe [spelling skills], Deutscher-Mathematik-Test [mathematics], International Schools’ Assessment) at regular intervals.
Type of school: the ibsm has been a state-approved primary school since 2010 and a recognised IBO School since 2017. We are a not-for-profit limited liability company.
Classes: there are four classes (1 – 4) normally accommodating up to 25 children. Each class is taught by an English-speaking and a German-speaking teacher.
Hours: we offer all-day classes from 9.00 – 16.00.
Leisure activities: after 16.00, attractive leisure activities can be booked; these change each year and are offered by external collaborators directly at our school (e.g. breakdancing, yoga, swimming lessons, art workshop).
Psychological consulting: the ibsm has a psychological consulting service which will advise parents and teachers.
Individual coaching: our affiliate, the 'Arbeitskreis Legasthenie Bayern e.V.', provides high-quality coaching and therapy on school premises for children with dyslexia and dyscalculia. We also cooperate with a speech therapy practice which offers language support and speech therapy at the ibsm.
Changing schools: changing or transferring to state schools is possible at any time, since our syllabus meets the requirements of the Bavarian curriculum for primary schools. When transferring to private or state secondary schools, it may be necessary to pass an entrance examination or a probationary session. We regularly inform parents about the various possibilities and the requirements for transfer. We also run intensive training courses to prepare children for transfer.
Meals: students bring snacks from home for short breaks; a hot lunch is available from our catering service, with both vegetarian and meat dishes available.