The Discovery School offers a Foundational Elementary program that is designed using the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme framework. This program serves children in first through second grade. There are two full-day Foundational Elementary classes in the program.
While offering an authentic PYP program within the IB framework, we are also mindful of the Common Core Standards. We use these standards as benchmarks to monitor our learners’ progress based on their chosen interests and their personalized pace through the curriculum. Each year of the two-year cycle, learners are immersed in six strategic IB units. These six units provide learners opportunities to explore topics of interest. Curriculum strands are woven together into thematic units of study. Project work stimulates learner motivation towards culminating IB showcases.
The Foundational Elementary program is divided into three main components: core instruction in math and language, independent work cycle, and unit inquiry time. Learners participate in daily math and literacy enrichment through Reading, Writing, and Math Workshops. In addition, Guided Reading provides learners with exposure to sophisticated vocabulary, comprehension strategies, and fluent reading. The independent work cycle is designed for learners to work on individualized assignments based on their current level of performance. Inquiry time provides students with opportunities to explore topics related to our current unit of study through projects.
Best practices follow the IB standards to educate children holistically, differentiating instruction according to their interests and individual pace. We use formal and informal assessments to plan and guide instruction. Standardized reading and math assessments are administered throughout the year to monitor learner progress. This is done alongside informal assessments: checklists, anecdotal records, and observations.
We are continually striving to bring authentic experiences into our classroom as well as extend it beyond our doors. This is achieved through field trips, performing arts, service learning, local and international partnerships, philanthropy, showcases, and community involvement.
We realize we are part of a community and as such, we plan curricular activities and invite learner’s families to participate and celebrate their child’s learning. Progress reports, parent-teacher conferences, and culminating evening events further the parent/community involvement. Elementary teachers attend local and national conferences and read professional journals to integrate best practices and current trends within the IB PYP framework.