Stamford American Elementary School Curriculum Guide - page 8

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Curriculum Philosophy - Elementary
Stamford American International School merges two rigorous programs of
study, American Education Reaches Out (AERO) standards and the International
Baccalaureate (IB) framework. Stamford is authorized to offer the IB Primary Years
Program (PYP). The PYP is an international curriculum framework designed for
children between the ages of 3 and 12. The program focuses on the total growth of
the developing child and addresses social, physical, emotional and cultural needs
in addition to academic progress. The PYP combines the best research and practice
from a range of national systems with a wealth of knowledge and experience from
international schools to create a relevant and engaging educational program.
The program offers a comprehensive, inquiry-based approach to teaching and
learning. It provides an internationally-designed model for learning and incorporates
guidelines on student learning styles, teaching methodologies and assessment
strategies. The curriculum framework is an expression and extension of three inter-
related questions: “What do we want to learn?”, “How best will we learn?” and “How
will we know what we have learned?” Students are also expected to begin learning a
foreign language in order to enhance an international perspective.
The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB PYP is the six transdisciplinary
themes. These themes are about issues that have meaning for, and are important to,
all of us. The program offers a balance between learning about or through the subject
areas and learning beyond them.
The six themes of global significance create a transdisciplinary framework that allows
students to “step up” beyond the confines of learning with subject areas. They are as
follows:
1. Who We Are
2. Where We Are in Place and Time
3. How We Express Ourselves
4. How the World Works
5. How We Organize Ourselves
6. Sharing the Planet
The program puts great emphasis on learning about these transdisciplinary themes.
Each theme is addressed each year by all students, with the exception of students
aged 3 to 5, who may engage with four of the themes each year. The themes provide
the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues into the curriculum.
The traditional disciplines retain a role in the IB Primary Years Program. The six
specified subjects are language, mathematics, science, social studies, arts and
personal, social and physical education. The overall expectations for each subject area
are defined for each year of the program.
The program can be illustrated by the six transdisciplinary themes surrounding six
subject areas:
• language
• social studies
• mathematics
• arts
• science
• personal, social and physical education
The transdisciplinary themes and subject areas outlined above form the knowledge
element of the program. The five essential elements-concepts, knowledge, skills,
attitudes, action-are incorporated into this framework, so that students are given the
opportunity to:
• gain knowledge that is relevant and of global significance
• develop an understanding of concepts which allows them to make connections
throughout their learning
• acquire transdisciplinary and disciplinary skills
• develop attitudes that will lead to international-mindedness
• take action as a consequence of their learning.
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