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January 2018

A Gentle Reminder:

As a school we are working to rephrase some of the ways we talk about our school and the Primary Years Programme.  We are an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School that offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP).  This means everything we do is part of the PYP.  So, when we have an assembly, it’s not an “IB Assembly”, it’s simply our monthly assembly.  When students are engaged in a unit of Inquiry, it’s not their “IB unit”, but simply a unit of inquiry.  The list goes on.  We want our students to understand that the Primary Years Programme is an inclusive, comprehensive programme, not something they do just part of the time at school.

Volunteers Needed

We are always looking for parents and community members to visit our school and share their expertise with our students, as well as for field trip opportunities.  If you, or anyone you have connections with, are able to share with our students, please contact Ms Wood or the appropriate classroom teacher.

The current units of inquiry are:

Divisions 9 & 10 (Ms King & Ms. Swain): Light and Sound

Divisions 6, 7, & 8 (Ms Prins, Ms Beck, Ms Mok): Story and Drama

Divisions 3, 4, & 5 (Ms Lightburn, Ms Scott, Ms Kim): Seasons and Natural Cycles, with a focus on Salmon

Divisions 1 & 2 (Ms Eichhorn & Mr Lee): Chemistry

PYP Written Curriculum

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.



For the month of January, we are focusing on being principled.  When we are principled, we act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere.  We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences. (


Some questions to ask ourselves are:

• Do I always try to do what is right, even when it’s costly or difficult?

• Do I compromise my values and give in to temptation?

• Do I help take care of the environment?

• Do I participate in community service?

• Do I do the right thing even when no one is looking and I will not get caught?


Some ideas for things you can do with your child to help develop the characteristics of a

principled person:

1. Talk with your child about decisions they make throughout their day that relate to the idea of being a principled person.

2. When your child makes a poor choice, allow them to understand why the choice wasn’t the best one. Ask them whether other people in their environment were impacted by their actions, decisions, and choices, and discuss alternative choices for future situations.

3. Encourage your child to admit their mistakes and remedy the situation, even if a significant amount of time has passed.

4. Encourage your child to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

5. Have your child help decide on the rules for a game or activity and then ensure that they stick to the rules.

6. Encourage your child to play games that involve teams. Discuss the qualities of a team player and the type of person they would want on their team.

7. When your child wins a game, insist that they are a well-mannered winner. Encourage them to thank their opponent or shake hands if it’s appropriate.

8. When playing a game, don’t change the rules or let your child win. You child should learn to be a gracious loser as well as a good winner.

9. Provide opportunities for your child to volunteer with community groups.

10. Talk about a time when your child did something courageous by standing up for a belief they didn’t want to compromise.

11. Help your child identify someone in public life they think has demonstrated a lack of principles. Talk about what they thinks of this behaviour and what the person could do differently.

12. Have your child write a letter to someone in the news whose principles have impressed them.

(Some of these ideas were suggested in an Alpine Elementary School newsletter.)