Primary Years Program(PYP)
ALS offers the PYP program which is an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. It is a student-centered approach to education for children aged 3-11.
ALS views students as agents of their own learning and partners in the learning process. It prioritizes people and their relationships to build a strong learning community.
PYP students use their initiative to take responsibility and ownership of their learning. By learning through inquiry and reflecting on their own learning, PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and the attributes of the IB Learner profile to make a difference in their own lives, their communities, and beyond.
The framework emphasizes the central principle of agency, which underpins the three pillars of school life:
Our curriculum is built within the framework of the Primary Years Programme. Learning at ALS aims to develop international citizens who ar
- Open minded
Through taking individual and collective action, students come to understand the responsibilities associated with being internationally minded and to appreciate the benefits of working with others for a shared purpose.
Learning at ALS is transdisciplinary. The school developed an engaging, relevant, challenging, and significant program of inquiry that transcends subject area boundaries. All disciplines in the PYP are integrated and taught under transdisciplinary themes in order to help children make connections with real life, to facilitate their understanding, and promote their interest. These transdisciplinary themes represent “life-long inquiries”, and each grade, throughout their primary years, revisits the elements of these transdisciplinary themes through age appropriate “Units of Inquiry”. The school’s Programme of Inquiry incorporates the entire Science and Social Studies curricula and much of the Personal, Social and Physical Education. Language, Mathematics, and Arts are integrated to allow for meaningful connections and application in real contexts. The curriculum also includes independent or “stand-alone” lessons or units in these subject areas.
Inquiry is the leading pedagogical approach of the PYP. Inquiry at ALS is purposeful and authentic. It incorporates problem solving and supports students in achieving personal and shared goals. It extends students’ learning when the exploration of initial curiosity generates new questions and wonderings. By situating inquiry in meaningful contexts, connections are made between personal experiences to local and global opportunities and challenges. Our learners are invited to investigate significant issues by formulating their own questions, designing their own inquiries, assessing the various means available to support their inquiries, and proceeding with research, experimentation, observation, and analysis that will help them find their own responses to the issues.
ALS implements a concept-driven curriculum through which students develop their conceptual understandings. Students co-construct beliefs and mental models about how the world works based on their experiences and prior learning. Learning is structured around important concepts allowing students to construct meaning of their own learning through improved critical thinking and transfer of knowledge. As students explore a range of broad concepts, they gain deep understandings of significant ideas within each discipline and across subject areas at the same time.
- What is it like? (Form)
- How does it work? (Function)
- Why is it like this? (Causation)
- How is it changing? (Change)
- How is it connected to other things? (Connection)
- What are the points of view? (Perspective)
- What is our responsibility? (Responsibility)
The development of language is fundamental to the instinctive human need to communicate. Language plays a vital role in the construction of meaning. It empowers the learner and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development and critical thinking. ALS learners learn to communicate confidently and creatively in more than one language, and with awareness of the power of language to have an impact on others. This is reflected in their language choices concerning style, tone, words, expression and gesture.
Through language, students:
- express identity
- develop international mindedness
- become literate
- become effective inquirers
Language Strands (English / Arabic)
Oral language, visual language, and written language are learned in a balanced way across and throughout the curriculum. Each strand is an integral component of language learning.
The languages of instruction are English and Arabic:
- Oral Language — Listening and Speaking
- Visual Language — Viewing and Presenting
- Written Language — Reading
- Written Language — Writing
At ALS , mathematics is viewed as a vehicle to support inquiry, providing a global language through which we make sense of the world around us. It is intended that students become competent users of the language of mathematics, and can begin to use it as a way of thinking, as opposed to seeing it as a series of facts and equations to be memorized. How children learn mathematics can be described using the following strands:
- Data Handling
- Shapes and Space
- Pattern and Function
Science is used to provide explanations and models of behavior for phenomena and objects around us. It is also used to investigate the interrelationships between the biological, chemical and physical worlds. The science component of the curriculum is considered to be driven by concepts and skills rather than by content. Science is viewed as a way of thinking and as a process that strives for balance between the construction of meaning and the acquisition of knowledge and skills. It is taught under the following strands:
The study of the characteristics, systems and behaviors of humans and other animals, and of plants; the interactions and relationships between and among them, and with their environment.
|Earth and Space||
The study of planet Earth and its position in the universe, particularly its relationship with the sun; the natural phenomena and systems that shape the planet and the distinctive features that identify it; the infinite and finite resources of the planet.
|Materials and Matter||The study of the properties, behaviors and uses of materials, both natural and human-made; the origins of human-made materials and how they are manipulated to suit a purpose.|
|Forces and Energy||The study of energy, its origins, storage and transfer, and the work it can do; the study of forces; the application of scientific understanding through inventions and machines.|
Decisions about content in social studies are dependent on the school’s location, context and curriculum requirements. The school relates the social studies content to significant and universal concepts common to all societies, times and places. Social studies teaching and learning takes place within the program of inquiry under the following strands:
|Human systems and economic activities||The study of how and why people construct organizations and systems; the ways in which people connect locally and globally; the distribution of power and authority.|
|Social organization and culture||The study of people, communities, cultures and societies; the ways in which individuals, groups and societies interact with each other.|
Continuity and change through time
|The study of the relationships between people and events through time; the past, its influences on the present and its implications for the future; people who have shaped the future through their actions.|
|Human and natural environments||The study of the distinctive features that give a place its identity; how people adapt to and alter their environment; how people experience and represent place; the impact of natural disasters on people and the built environment.|
|Resources and the environment||The interaction between people and the environment; the study of how humans allocate and manage resources; the positive and negative effects of this management; the impact of scientific and technological developments on the environment.|
Arts, including visual arts and music, engage students in creative processes through which they explore and experiment in a continual cycle of action and reflection. They are a powerful mode of communication through which students explore and construct a sense of self and develop an understanding of the world around them. Arts provide students with a wide range of opportunities and means to respond to their experiences and engage with historical, social and cultural perspectives. Learning about and through arts is fundamental to the development of the whole child, promoting creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and social interactions. Arts are taught under the following strands:
|Responding||The process of responding provides students with opportunities to respond to their own and other artists’ works and processes, and in so doing develop the skills of critical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, reflection and communication|
|Creating||The process of creating provides students with opportunities to communicate distinctive forms of meaning, develop their technical skills, take creative risks, solve problems and visualize consequences. Students are encouraged to draw on their imagination, experiences and knowledge of materials and processes as starting points for creative exploration.|
Personal, Social and Physical Education
PSPE is an integral part of students’ everyday life at school and at home. PSPE is concerned with the individual’s well-being through the promotion and development of concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills that contribute to this wellbeing. It encompasses physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development, and contributes to an understanding of self, to developing and maintaining relationships with others, and to participation in an active, healthy lifestyle. Physical education in a PYP school should be more than just student participation in sports and games. Its purpose should be to develop a combination of transferable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development; to encourage present and future choices that contribute to long-term healthy living; and to understand the cultural significance of physical activities for individuals and communities. Personal, Social, and Physical Education are taught under the following strands:
|Identity||An understanding of our own beliefs, values, attitudes, experiences and feelings and how they shape us; the impact of cultural influences; the recognition of strengths, limitations and challenges as well as the ability to cope successfully with situations of change and adversity; how the learner’s concept of self and feelings of self-worth affect his or her approach to learning and how he or she interacts with others.|
|Active Living||An understanding of the factors that contribute to developing and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle; the importance of regular physical activity; the body’s response to exercise; the importance of developing basic motor skills; understanding and developing the body’s potential for movement and expression; the importance of nutrition; understanding the causes and possible prevention of ill health; the promotion of safety; rights and the responsibilities we have to ourselves and others to promote well-being; making informed choices and evaluating consequences, and taking action for healthy living now and in the future.|
|Interactions||An understanding of how an individual interacts with other people, other living things and the wider world; behaviors, rights and responsibilities of individuals in their relationships with others, communities, society and the world around them; the awareness and understanding of similarities and differences; an appreciation of the environment and an understanding of, and commitment to, humankind’s responsibility as custodians of the Earth for future generations.|