It’s a given that such a renowned educational framework that focuses on holistic learning and interconnectedness will nurture and enhance childhood development. In the Primary Years Program (PYP), a core principle of childhood development is early literacy and numeracy skills, crucial to developing foundational skills that aid academic success.
Early Literacy Skills in the IB® PYP
The IB® PYP strongly emphasizes the manifestation of early literacy skills through a range of inquiry-based activities—such as meaningful and contextual language, communication, and literacy study areas. Let’s break down some of the ways the IB® program promotes early literacy development:
1. Language-Rich Environment
A stimulating classroom environment is critical in fostering advanced communication skills. IB® elementary schools incorporate classrooms with an abundance of books, charts, and print materials to expose students to the language and encourage vocabulary development, reading engagement, and a love for reading.
2. Transdisciplinary Learning
The PYP curriculum integrates different disciplines to help students form connections between literacy and other subject areas. For example, a science lesson could use comprehensive reading skills to understand informational texts, write lab reports, and engage in class discussions. These activities reinforce literacy skills within the chosen subject matter, in this case, for instance, science.
3. Inquiry-Based Approach
IB® encourages students to ask difficult questions, think critically, and actively participate in their learning journey. Through inquiry-based learning, students learn to investigate the details to form meaningful conclusions and develop advanced problem-solving abilities and the ability to pull information from different sources.
4. Reading and Writing Workshop
Participating in reading and writing workshops engages students to become independent and collaborative readers and writers. They serve as an opportunity for students to practice reading comprehension, fine-tune their writing skills, and receive meaningful feedback and critiques from teachers and students.
5. Literacy Across Languages
Multilingualism and cultural awareness are major components in the IB® PYP world, promoting literacy across multiple languages. Helping students recognize diverse linguistic backgrounds creates an empathetic environment, fosters language development, and develops cultural interest.
Numeracy Skills in the IB® PYP
But what about numeracy skills? In the IB® PYP, numeracy and literacy are two sides of the same coin. Mathematics is carefully integrated throughout the curriculum, where students can experience practical mathematical situations. Some of these IB® program methods include:
1. Conceptual Understanding
Anyone can memorize something, but not everyone can fully absorb and understand that information. The IB® program recognizes that and emphasizes conceptual learning through reasoning, number sense, computation, estimation, and real-world applications. For example, using a cake or a pizza can be used to teach fractions in a pie-chart format—using the slices to represent the “pieces” (fractions) of the whole “pie” (number).
2. Mathematical Language and Communication
The IB® math curriculum is a spiraling program that teaches fundamental concepts using manipulatives and hands-on activities. All students are given opportunities to think for themselves and work independently, with partners, in small and large groups. Participating in these formats helps develop confidence in their ability to investigate their choice in a safe environment and heightens clear communication.
3. Mathematizing the World
Mathematics is not confined to textbooks—it’s present in the world around us. Going off of #1 with conceptual understanding, IB® students are encouraged to identify and apply mathematical concepts in everyday situations. Actively making connections to real-world problems fosters a deeper understanding of how math relates to their lives.
4. Diverse Instruction
Teaching one specific method is not beneficial to every child’s academic success. The IB® PYP acknowledges that every student is different and therefore has different learning styles and needs. To give all students a fulfilling experience, IB® teachers employ various strategies, resources, and manipulatives to cater to different learning styles like visual, physical, auditory, verbal, logical/mathematical, social, and solitary areas, as well as make combinations between them. This fusion of learning styles helps students absorb numeracy skills faster and in a more appealing, inclusive way.
5. Tool Proficiency
IB® elementary school students study measurement, data interpretation, and pattern recognition by taking advantage of different tools, techniques, and resources. Calculators and computers are leveraged to learn numeracy efficiently and effectively. Repeated exposure to numeracy concepts and skills is essential for reinforcement and ultimate mastery.
The Benefits of the IB® Program on Early Literacy and Numeracy Skills
When discussing the valuable benefits of the IB® program in schools, we name high-level goals like international mindedness, high academic standards, holistic education, university recognition, career preparation, and personal development.
But by cultivating literacy and numeracy skills, the IB® program helps children lay a solid foundation for a brighter academic future. Students walk out of the classroom with not only enhanced cognitive skills but also social, emotional, and physical excellence. The all-rounded, holistic approach helps students find their unique skills and attributes and foster an overall love for learning.
With the ability to absorb literacy and numeracy lessons in a more quick and fulfilling way, IB® students become lifelong learners. Instilling curiosity and passion for literacy and numeracy equips students for a long academic road ahead, gaining transferable skills that extend beyond the two subjects.
The Strelitz Primary Years Program
The Strelitz International Academy holds a shared initiative: a strong reading program is essential in building an everlasting educational foundation.
Our kindergarten and first-grade students participate in the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program®– (LiPS®)*. LiPS®* provides students with the necessary literacy skills for decoding, spelling, letter blends, and digraphs to help build a conceptual understanding of the whole language that will follow them into adulthood. As they continue to decipher and add new vocabulary to their reading repertoire, students practice phonemic awareness, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and language development, preparing them to read literature with endless creativity and clarity.
Likewise, our IB® elementary school not only concentrates on competency in numeracy but also stresses problem-solving. Our programs demonstrate all of the IB® numeracy strategies in this blog and more to create a well-rounded, culturally enriched child.