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IB Primary Years Programme

David Michel, WRCA Head of School Gerry Goertzen, WRCA Junior School Principal

Since its inception in 1968, the IB program has expanded to both public and private schools around the world and now offers a total of four programs: the IB Primary Years Program for children aged 3 to 12; the IB Middle Years Program for students aged 11 to 14; the IB Diploma Program and IB Career-related Program for students aged 15 to 18.

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) was introduced in 1997 and offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. It is a student-centered approach to education for children aged 3-12. It reflects the best of educational research, thought leadership, and experience derived from IB World Schools.

The PYP has evolved to become a world leader in future-focused education. The PYP is an example of the best educational practice globally, responding to the challenges and opportunities facing young students in our rapidly changing world.

The PYP is not a curriculum in itself; but rather, a framework for teaching and learning. Using the authorized curriculum (state or province), Units of Inquiry (UOI) are guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance: 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. Each UOI is organized over a 6-week period primarily using the Social Studies and Science curriculum, but can also incorporate learning outcomes from other subjects.

Gerry Goertzen, principal of the White Rock Christian Academy Junior School, describes how the IB-PYP has influenced teaching and learning at the school:

There are three key features of the IB-PYP that make it extremely compelling for our community. First, the PYP is comprehensive. One would be hard-pressed to find a curriculum structure that covers all parts of learning, community, and education like this program does anywhere in the world. The approaches to learning, approaches to teaching, principles of assessment, learner profiles, and action plans are superb examples of the implementation of current research in every classroom.

Second, the program is monitored. The accountability that IB provides builds our program towards excellence every year. Let’s face it, all schools need accountability when it comes to keeping their curriculum a living document. Our program stays alive and consistent through intentionality. We have a dedicated program of collaboration with an IB Curriculum Coordinator, teacher-team collaboration time set aside weekly, and a research and development session every Thursday morning for all staff. Best practices in learning and education are constantly being implemented in every classroom with a team approach.

Finally, the IB PYP program allows a beautiful convergence with our Biblical Christian worldview. The PYP provides a compelling structure for our rich programs of experiential learning. We utilize integrated mission service learning, international trips in Sr. School (and international mindedness in Jr. School), outdoor experiences, local service projects, camps, and field trips. Our vision for ‘inspiring and cultivating godly citizens who transform their world for Christ’ shines inside the programs we have developed with the International Baccalaureate Program. Students are flourishing in this rich environment of community experience and have acquired a passion for learning about the wonderful world God has given us.


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