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October 2017

Program of Inquiry

Now that term one is well underway, students are busy inquiring into the central ideas and lines of inquiry for their current units of inquiry.  Every year, students explore six units of inquiry, one for each of the six transdisciplinary themes: Who We Are, Where We Are in Place and Time, How We Express Ourselves, How the World Works, How We Organize Ourselves, and Sharing the Planet.


Our school’s program of inquiry is posted in the hallway by the main office and on the school’s website.  The Programme of Inquiry chart shows the central idea for each of the six units planned for every grade. Of course, the chart format is a simplistic way of displaying the Program of Inquiry, as it assumes there are no combined classes. If your child is in a combined class this year, they will cover some central ideas from one grade and some central ideas from the other.  We ensure all six transdisciplinary themes are covered during the year and we adapt the units to fit the interests and abilities of the students in the class.  Inquiry based learning focuses on skills and concepts, rather than specific facts and ideas, so there is no disadvantage to your childʼs learning if central ideas planned for one grade are covered in a different grade, as will be the case for combined classes. Your childʼs teacher will ensure the five approaches to learning (formerly transdisciplinary skills): thinking, social, communication, self- management, and research and the eight key concepts: form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, responsibility, and reflection are explored every year.

Learner Profile

The IB learner profile is the backbone of the Primary Years Programme.  “The aim of all IB Programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.” ( “The Learner Profile represents 10 attributes valued by IB World Schools.  We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help individuals become responsible members of local, national, and global communities.” (  This year we will have a school-wide focus on the PYP Learner Profile, and each month we will focus on one of the ten learner traits.  In the month of October we are focusing on inquirer.


Inquirers are curious, ask powerful questions, and love to learn. Inquiry is central to the IB programme, and students are encouraged to think about what they know and ask questions about what they don’t know. We want students to develop the ability to think critically and to ask thoughtful questions. How students arrive at answers is just as important as the answers themselves.


Children should be encouraged to ask questions and to seek answers for their questions at school and at home. Initially, questioning begins with the six question words, who, what, when, where, why, and how, but students are quickly taught to explore more probing questions.  Students also learn that questions can be organized into the eight key concepts, form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, reflection, and responsibility.


Supporting Your Child’s Education

Inform Yourself

Please remember to visit the IB section of the school’s website.  There is information about various aspects of the Primary Years Programme, including descriptions of the five essential elements, a current programme of inquiry, book lists, and copies of the school’s language and assessment policies.


Reading Together

Families can help children become more familiar with the IB language by using it at home, and by sharing books in which the characters display one or more of the traits. A few suggested titles for inquirer are: Verdi (Janell Cannon), the Stella books (Marie-Louise Gay), The Librarian Who Measured the Earth (Kathryn Lasky), Why Explore? (Susan Lendroth), and The Three Questions (Jon J. Muth).  For an extensive list of books related to the Learner Profile, visit the IB section of our school website.  Take the booklist with you next time you visit the public library!


Unit Overviews

At the beginning of each unit of inquiry, you will receive a unit overview.  Please post this overview in a prominent place in your home and refer to it for the duration of the unit.  We hope you will record your child’s questions, connections, and action and return the overview to school at the end of the unit.  This will help you child’s teacher have a more complete picture of your child’s learning.


Book Donations

We are continuing to expand our small collection of multilingual books, and we gratefully welcome donations of new or gently used books in languages other than English.  This is an ongoing project.  We want our collection to represent the languages spoken by our school community.