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Taking Action in Primary Years Programme: From Play to PYP Exhibition

Taking Action in Primary Years Programme: From Play to PYP Exhibition

By Ying Liang, PYP Coordinator

Taking Action is a dynamic continuum that evolves Silicon Valley International School (INTL) in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) from Preschool to 5th Grade. In the IB curriculum, Taking Action refers to the practical application of learning beyond the classroom. It encourages students to not just acquire knowledge, but also to act upon it. This action can manifest in various forms, from small-scale personal initiatives and self reflections on learning to broader community engagement or even global advocacy. It gives students the opportunity to develop the IB Learner Profile traits and practice the Approach to Learning (ATL) skills.

Early Years (Preschool - Pre-K)

In the Early Years, Taking Action is intertwined with the concept of learning through play. Through interacting with the environments and the materials that teachers intentionally set up, students gain hands-on sensory experiences and explore learning through their five senses. This establishes the foundation of their basic knowledge and researching skills. Through immersion in a language-rich environment with conversations and prints, students acquire communication skills with peers and adults. They learn how to ask adults for help and negotiate play choices with peers. Additionally, through teachers highlighting the action piece that students naturally take, a gradual recognition of the IB Learner Profile traits emerge. These recognitions encourage students to extend their actions during play, fostering a deeper understanding of these important attributes.

Students working in a group of three on an assignment.

Lower Elementary (K - 2nd Grade)

In Lower Elementary School, Taking Action begins by fostering independence in managing one's Learning Profile. Students start reflecting on their learning, utilizing tools such as physical journal books or digital platforms like Toddle posts. This reflection involves making connections with learning content and recognizing personal growth and challenges. As they progress, students transition to applying their learning to real-world contexts. Initiatives encompass small acts of kindness, problem-solving within the school community, and collaborative projects, often highlighted through the celebratory platform of the Learning Celebration. This event offers parents a firsthand look at the diverse and creative formats in which students proudly exhibit their learning, from engaging presentations to hands-on projects and dramatic performances.

Elementary students huddled together around an experiment in science class.

Upper Elementary (3rd - 5th Grade)

Advancing into Upper Elementary grades, Taking Action takes on a more deliberate and expansive form. Students exhibit a deeper understanding of social responsibility, engaging in initiatives that demonstrate empathy, leadership, and a more substantial impact on their local and global communities. This developmental stage marks a continuum of fostering a sense of agency and cultivating a proactive mindset of social consciousness, preparing students to be proactive contributors in a broader societal context.

A 5th Grade german student presenting her PYP exhibition on pollution.

The PYP Exhibition

In 5th Grade, the culmination of Taking Action is observed during the PYP Exhibition. This exhibition serves as a transformative experience where students engage in research, exploration, and practical application of their knowledge. It goes beyond showcasing academic prowess; it symbolizes their call to action. Here, students inquire into issues of local and global significance, showcasing their abilities in critical thinking and creative problem-solving to identify problems and seek viable solutions. This immersive experience fosters the understanding of the IB Learner Profile attributes, demonstrating students as principled, knowledgeable, and reflective individuals capable of identifying and addressing complex issues within and beyond their communities.

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