Important Updates for Next School Year

It is often said that nothing in life is permanent except change. Change is almost inevitable but we must distinguish between purposeful and impactful change as opposed to change for the sake of change. I am taking this opportunity to update you on two developments that will be transformational.

IB Primary Years Programme

After much research, investigation, and listening, our Primary school curriculum will move from the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) to the IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP). The IPC has served the school well helping develop informed, globally competent, and future-ready learners. However, the PYP is one of the four IB programmes and at the FIS we currently offer the MYP and DP in the Secondary school. The implementation of the PYP will help build on the IPC foundations and will further align our programmes throughout our school and will help improve transitioning and continuity. For those who may not be so familiar, the PYP is designed for students aged 3 to 12. It provides a framework to focus on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It is a framework guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from six subject areas, as well as transdisciplinary skills, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry.

To become a PYP school we must first participate in the candidacy and authorization process which will require time, planning, and training. For the remainder of this school year and next, we will work together to develop an implementation plan. There will be opportunities to solicit parent input and feedback as we begin our journey of becoming a PYP school. We will work together to ensure we are ready, capable, and confident to implement and develop the PYP at the FIS. Needless to say, quality learning and teaching have been, and will continue to be, a hallmark of our primary school. We will be inviting parents to an information night on the PYP in June and more information will be communicated at a later date.

Extension of the Friday for Grades 6, 7 and 8 Next Year

At the FIS, we believe that social and emotional learning (SEL) is an essential part of all students’ education across all grade levels. But what does that look like at different developmental stages, and how can SEL best support students’ learning and development across K-12th grade? SEL is the process through which all students acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. Our counselors and the Pastoral team have been researching and developing an age-appropriate SEL programme that also aligns with our Primary school and the upper grades of Secondary school.

This is especially pertinent for our Grades 6, 7, and 8 students where there is a transition for children, and while it can be an experience of growth and independence, it can also be difficult for students. We are extending our school day on Fridays to facilitate the delivery of a weekly SEL lesson. While Friday dismissal will be at 15:40 please note that this does now necessarily mean that the SEL lessons will take place last period on Fridays. The SEL programme has been developed to address areas of self-esteem, academic pressure, social issues, temptations, and how to deal with disappointments.

We will be extending an invitation via email next week to our rising Grade 5, 6 and 7 families to learn more about this programme, our approach, and some of the logistics; namely buses and transportation and how this will be organized.

Our objective is to provide the best quality of education and care to our students. From updating textbooks and materials to adjusting teaching and assessment strategies, to training and upskilling staff, to procuring new systems and developing new programmes, schools are always looking for ways to improve our provision. At the FIS, we are looking to ultimately improve student outcomes and our transition to the PYP and the implementation of an SEL programme for Grades 6, 7 and 8 help realize this.

Liam Browne
Head of School

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