The story of Who We Are in Primary Years General Studies at Strelitz International Academy is truly an interesting one. From Multiple Intelligences and Understanding by Design to Inquiry, our general studies curriculum has always been designed to educate our students as individual active learners based on the research of best educational practices. During our journey to discover Who We Are over the last decade, our young scholars have had the opportunity to participate in our Innovation Celebrations and Tiger Games. Caine’s Arcade inspired students to create their own. One year, they raced boats made from recycled items and cardboard boxes across the JCC pool. In other years, students designed marble runs and Rube Goldberg machines. With the individual learner at the forefront, our international baccalaureate curriculum model shifted to Project Based Learning. Student engagement continued to exceed expectations and was evident when grade levels collaborated to create an outdoor learning space.
Today, Strelitz International Academy boasts of being the first IB® Primary Years Program in Hampton Roads. The Primary Years general studies at SIA refer to the core subjects of mathematics, language arts, and social sciences, along with specialties in music and art, physical education, library, and technology taught in our kindergarten through 5th-grade classes. The learning environment we have constructed naturally lends itself to the core values of our school and the IB® Learner Profile Traits. Our general studies curriculum is designed to nurture holistic development in young learners and can be expanded as we grow as an IB® PYP World School. Our course objectives promote inquiry-based learning, where our young scholars explore, question, and construct their understanding of the world around them. It encourages critical thinking, creativity, and student agency (self-awareness and independence). Inquiry in an IB® PYP World School is not just a teaching method; it’s a way of thinking and acting while developing international-mindedness and using foundational skills for real-world problem-solving and discovery.
Our students thrive in our transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. General studies teachers of core subjects and specialties also collaborate with Judaics Studies and Hebrew teachers to bring meaningful learning experiences into the classroom. Our students extend their understanding of single-subject objectives through activities in their Units of Inquiry, hands-on discovery, community outreach, our STEM Olympics, and our PYP Exhibition.
Walking into one of our general studies classrooms, you will see students researching, creating, and exploring broad concepts with a global lens. SIA teachers are facilitators of learning and encourage student curiosity while ensuring they have foundations in core subject areas. Our accomplished faculty respects the individual learning styles of all our scholars and helps them discover who they are as they become confident in their interests and skills.