In 2015, Westlake's elementary buildings achieved International Baccalaureate World School status through the International Baccalaureate Organization. As IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) World Schools, our elementary schools are members of an elite group.
- Learner Profile
- Essential Agreements
- Approaches to Teaching & Learning (Skills)
- IB Attitudes
- Programmes of Inquiry
- Language & Assessments
Caring, Open-minded, Principled, Communicator, Risk-taker, Inquirer, Thinker, Reflective, Balanced, Knowledgeable
It is through the understanding and practice of the Learner Profile that a student becomes Internationally Minded. Understanding that others with their differences can also be right is at the core of International Mindedness under IB.
Within their Units of Inquiry, each grade level highlights attributes and allow students explore through inquiry, construct meaning and develop criteria to help them understand the Learner Profile Attribute words.
Students are encouraged to live and recognize the attributes of the Learner Profile in their daily lives. Using the criteria stated in the Learner Profile Attributes, students are encouraged to develop their own examples as part of the inquiry process. If a child states that someone is a good Communicator, he may be asked how he knows this to be true. Students may be asked to categorize actions as principled vs. not principled.
As collaborative learners, students and teachers work together to create Essential Agreements in their classrooms and work groups.
Characteristics of Essential Agreements:
- They are few in number
- They are concisely written
- They describe how something is done, not what will be done
- They are binding for all
Approaches to Teaching and Learning (ATL) are important elements of the IB PYP model. ATLs will be addressed at each grade level in an age-appropriate manner and are a consistent focus throughout the IB continuum. Teachers will incorporate learning experiences that encourage students to use these skills in all areas of learning.
The IB PYP approaches to teaching and learning are:
- Thinking skills
- Social skills
- Communication skills
- Self-management skills
- Research skills
Students are developing attitudes toward learning, people and the environment that benefit themselves and others. The PYP Attitudes are:
In the Westlake City School District, as within the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), appropriate student-initiated action is valued and promoted. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves. Through their learning, they become aware of how each of them can make a difference, no matter how big or small.
The PYP Action Cycle encourages students to reflect on the interpersonal, local and global consequences of their actions, to make choices based on these reflections, and them to act in responsible and meaningful ways.
The action cycle is the simple yet powerful tool used to teach children how to take action. By going through the three steps of choosing, acting and then reflecting upon the results of their choices, students are able to grow socially and personally, developing skills such as cooperation, problem solving, conflict resolution and critical thinking. This is an important part of students’ participation in their own learning.
Student action can be an independent act, or something that a group has worked on, and may occur well after the learning engagements or experiences. It may be something as simple as bringing in a book or an artifact related to what is being studied at school, taking action about something that has been learned a result of a unit of inquiry or cutting the grass for an elderly neighbor.
Parents can help by encouraging their children to make a plan to take action about something they've observed.
English Language Acquisition, Second Language Learning and Mother Tongue Support
English language acquisition, support of students’ mother tongues, and second language learning are all part of the IB PYP.
In addition to helping students become proficient with English, we strive to support the cultures and languages of those students whose mother tongue is not English.
All IB students are expected to be learning in at least two languages by the age of 7, to aid developing intercultural understanding, according to IBO. Westlake’s second language learning (SLL) programs introduce students to a second language beginning in first grade. Research supports that students are better able to speak and understand second, third and fourth languages when a foundation for bilingualism is built in the younger years.
Research also demonstrates that second language learning at an early age supports higher academic achievement, provides cognitive benefits to students, and impacts their beliefs and attitudes about language learning and other cultures. Read more about WCSD’s elementary second language program here.
A variety of resources are available in Westlake City School District and the community to help support language learning.Please see this flyer for more information.