9 Criterion

About The International Primary Curriculum

IPC_Logo_RGB

At Island Christian Academy we have looked around the world for up-to-date, well-respected curricula for our school. The one that we have chosen is the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).
The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is used in schools all over the world. Currently this includes nearly 1,800 national and international schools in over 90 countries.

Learning with the IPC means that children focus on a combination of academic, personal and international learning that is exciting and challenging. The aim of the IPC is to help every child enjoy the learning of a wide range of subjects and to develop an enquiring mind, the personal attributes that will help throughout teenage and adult years, and a sense of his or her own nationality and culture, at the same time developing a profound respect for the nationalities and cultures of others. Through the IPC approach to learning children develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to face confidently the world of tomorrow. The IPC has been designed to ensure rigorous learning and also to help teachers make all learning exciting, active and meaningful for children.

The IPC was introduced in 2000 and has been successfully meeting the learning needs of children since then. It took four years for leading educational thinkers, school leaders, highly skilled teachers and curriculum writers to create the IPC. Its continued development today ensures that children are learning a current and highly relevant curriculum, based on the very latest research into the brain, and increasing understanding of how children learn.

The IPC is a part of Fieldwork Education which, since 1984, has been helping schools all around the world to develop children’s learning. For more information about the IPC visit www.greatlearning.com/ipc

Our Approach: The Bottom Line Nine

The IPC provides a framework (Bottom-Line Nine) with which to monitor our teaching and learning.

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 A Clear focus on improving learning

At Island Christian Academy, we define learning as a process of acquiring knowledge, developing skills, and building understanding and values to help us better understand God, ourselves and our world. Learning is the “star of the show” and everything we do is prefaced with the question: Will it improve learning? We value communication about learning and share that learning with our community through channels such as teacher blogs, the website, the newsletter, emails, conferences, parent involvement (including unit Exit and Entry points), as well as through our learning displays.

A shared vision about the kinds of children we are helping to develop

As a school, we believe that personal qualities and learning dispositions are vital in the process of developing children who are ready to face their future in the global community. Learners are not only taught the definitions of the eight personal goals, but also actively work with them throughout the day as they face challenging tasks and activities.

Island Christian Academy’s vision for our students:

Island CA students

Develop the IPC Personal Goals:

LOVE

LEARN

LIVE

Respect

Enquiry

Morality

Cooperation

Thoughtfulness

Resilience

Communication

Adaptability

International Mindness

WHY:

We want our students to develop a Growth mindset –

Growing in wisdom (academically),

Growing in stature (physically),

Growing in favour with God (spiritually),

Growing in favour with man (socially).

Luke 2:52

Implementation of classroom practices that help children develop towards the school’s shared vision

We believe that children will not just automatically pick up the shared vision. Teachers, school leaders, parents and caregivers need to model the vision and provide lots of opportunities to practice and develop. We use practices in our classrooms to help develop students towards the shared vision. As a school we have common practices that can be found in each classroom, and we encourage parents to continue these practices out of the classroom.
Some key classroom practices that develop desired qualities and dispositions include:

  • Collaboration (group and partner work, family) – which develops communication, respect and cooperation

  • Enquiry activities which help students develop into enquirers, rather than passive receivers of information

  • Researching from many sources: Internet, books, magazines, field trips, investigations, family trips to the library, museums and exhibits, family research at home

  • Reflective time allowing students to develop thoughtfulness towards their learning and life in general, as well as developing the habit of asking questions (enquirers)

  • Not giving up, even if situations are challenging or when learning doesn’t come easily (resilience)

International Mindedness

It is imperative that our students understand that they are unique, but also part of a global community. In order to develop this mindset, we offer opportunities for students to learn about their own home country, as well as our host country (Hong Kong / China), to consider how their own actions, the actions of people in the local community and the actions of those around the world affect different people and groups.

At Island Christian Academy we define International Mindedness as accepting, respecting and celebrating the diversity among ourselves and the global community.

The significance and development of knowledge, skills and understanding

We differentiate between three kinds of learning: knowledge, skills and understanding. Each kind is taught and assessed differently. Knowledge is the facts and information we know. This is assessed through quizzes or tests. Skills are abilities that can be improved with practice. They are developmental, and are something that students may use for the rest of their lives. We assess these with rubrics. Understanding is when the “light goes on.” It is something that we are all developing, even the adults amongst us. Understanding is an ongoing process that takes time, and students need time and space to reflect on what they have learned in order to build their understanding.

Rigorous children’s learning, and teachers’ high expectations of it

The IPC is a rigorous curriculum where children are offered exciting and engaging opportunities to learn. When children are engaged they will learn, and as an enquiry-based curriculum, the IPC offers students the opportunity to follow their interests further, with choice of research topics and home learning.

Implementation of the learning process of the IPC

In each unit, learners follow the learning process which is designed around neuroscience research on learning.

The entry point gets learners excited about the unit. Parents / caregivers are often invited to join in an entry point.

The knowledge harvest helps learners think about what they know already, firing up the neurons and allowing them to make connections to what they already know.

Explaining the theme, allows learners to know where they will be going in the unit and what to expect.

Research and recording allow learners to find out information and practise skills, and then pass that on in some way to others, thus allowing them to embed the learning further. Parents / caregivers can support their children’s research carried out at home.

The exit point is a celebration of learning and a way for learners to share with others in the community what they have learned. Parents / caregivers are often invited to join in an exit point.

Implementation of themes through independent, yet interdependent, subjects

Learners are introduced to subjects such as art, geography, history, ICT, International, technology, music, society and physical education through the lens of a theme. In addition to meeting the different subjects that are normally taught in schools, the students in an IPC education gain multiple perspectives on a topic. This allows them to build critical thinking skills, so necessary for their future in the world.

Assessment that improves learning

At Island Christian Academy, we are focussed on learning, which means we are also focussed on assessment. We assess for learning and reporting, both of which are important. Assessment is a valuable tool for teachers and students alike. The assessment for learning helps both teachers and students evaluate what learning is going on and where we need to go from “here.” Students are given learning advice to help them think reflectively about their learning and how they might improve. In the IPC, we assess in three different ways:

Knowledge learning targets are assessed after the students have completed studies in a particular subject area such as history or science or at the end of a whole unit.

Skills targetsare observed and assessed whilst the children are actively practising them before, during or after a unit. We use developmental rubrics for these.

Understanding learning targets are evaluated by a judgement or observations throughout the unit of work.