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February 2018


For the month of February, we are focusing​ on the trait open-minded.  As open-minded learners, we “critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others.  We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.” (, 2013)  In more kid friendly language: open-minded learners know that their ideas and ways are not the only ones, and recognize that this is okay.  Open-minded learners listen to others’ ideas and perspectives and think critically about them.  As well, open-minded learners are willing to change and adapt.

Students at Southlands are encouraged to be open-minded in many different ways.  Whether it’s trying a new food as part of the School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program, working with a classmate they haven’t worked with before, presenting their learning in a new way, or considering a different viewpoint during a discussion or a debate, the opportunities are endless!  Open-mindedness is certainly an important aspect of learning and one of the eight key concepts we focus on during our units of inquiry which is strongly connected to open-mindedness is perspective.

There are many things you can do to encourage open-mindedness in your child

  • Catch your child being open minded and make sure your child knows he/she has done something good. Expressing your approval is a powerful way to reinforce the learner traits.

  • Encourage your child to try new things (e.g. new foods, games, activities).

  • Encourage your children to play with children from other families, ethnicities, and cultures.

  • Allow your child to take part in as many family decisions as appropriate. These can range from making food choices to helping plan a family vacation. Allow your child to express his/her opinions and ideas in respectful ways, encourage him/her to talk about advantages and disadvantages, and allow him/her to offer alternatives. Encourage your child to really listen to differing views and opinions.

  • Before we can expect students to respect the values and traditions of other people and cultures, we have to expose them to those values, people, and cultures. This can be done through music, books, films, the internet, and trips. Introduce literature about different cultures into your home library. (Be sure that it reflects the culture in an appropriate way.) Provide your child with books, DVDs, and songs that are in different languages or that speak about different people and cultures of the world. As well, expose your child to different festivals, celebrations and traditions and be sure to present them in a non-judgmental way.


In the Primary Years Programme, the written curriculum incorporates five essential elements.

Knowledge: What do we want students to know?

Key Concepts: What big ideas do we want students to understand?

Approaches to Learning: What do we want students to be able to do?

Attitudes: What do we want students to feel, value, and demonstrate?

Action: How do we want students to act in response to their learning?

Key Concepts (from Making the PYP Happen)

In the PYP there is a commitment to a concept driven curriculum. There are clusters of ideas that can be grouped under a set of overarching concepts, each of which has major significance within and across all subject areas, regardless of time or place. These eight key concepts are one of the essential elements of the PYP framework, and they drive the inquiries that are at the heart of the PYP curriculum. When viewed as a set of key questions, the concepts form a research tool that is both manageable and open-ended. The concepts help teachers and students to consider ways of thinking and learning about the world, and they act as a provocation to extend and deepen student inquiries.

Form: What is it like?

Everything has a form with recognizable features that can be observed, identified, described, and categorized.

Function: How does it work?

Everything has a purpose, a role, or a way of behaving that can be investigated.

Causation: Why is it like it is?

Things do not just happen. There are causal relationships at work, and actions have consequences.

Change: How is it changing?

Change is the process of movement from one state to another. It is universal and inevitable.

Connection: How is it connected to other things?

We live in a world of interacting systems in which the actions of any individual element affect others.

Perspective: What are the points of view?

Knowledge is moderated by perspectives; different perspectives lead to different interpretations, understandings, and findings; perspectives may be individual, group, cultural, or disciplinary.

Responsibility: What is our responsibility?

People make choices based on their understandings, and the actions they take as a result do make a difference.

Reflection: How do we know?

There are different ways of knowing, and it is important to reflect on our conclusions, to consider our methods of reasoning, and the quality and the reliability of the evidence we have considered.