Primary Years Programme (IBPYP)
Kingston International School is the first school in Hong Kong authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Organization - Primary Years Programme. This programme was specially developed for children ages three to twelve years. It is an inquiry-based approach to learning that is truly international in its outlook. Children participate in six "Units of Inquiry" per academic year.
The Primary Years Programme concentrates on developing the whole child and values a healthy body as well as a healthy mind.
The programme encourages students to be thinkers and problem solvers while nourishing the creative and caring aspects of their personalities. It is recognized internationally for its excellence and prepares students well for further studies either here in Hong Kong or overseas. Kingston International School incorporates the IBO philosophy into all aspects of school life.
The Transdisciplinary Nature of the Programme
At Kingston we acknowledge the importance of particular subject areas: language; mathematics; social studies; science; arts; personal, social and physical education.
The knowledge, concepts and skills that constitute each of these subject areas are documented in detailed frameworks—scope and sequences—that set out the overall expectations for each subject.
We also recognize that educating students in a set of isolated subject areas, while necessary, is not sufficient. Of equal importance is the need to acquire skills in context, and to explore content that is relevant to students and transcends the boundaries of the traditional subjects. “To be truly educated, a student must also make connections across the disciplines, discover ways to integrate the separate subjects, and ultimately relate what they learn to life” (Boyer 1995: 82).
The programme defines transdisciplinary themes that identify areas of shared human experience and have meaning for individuals from different cultures and ethnicities. These themes are part of the common ground that unifies the learning in all IB World Schools offering the PYP. They provide the opportunity to incorporate both local and global issues in the knowledge component of the PYP written curriculum—what we want students to know about. There are six transdisciplinary themes:
Who we are
Where we are in place and time
How we express ourselves
How the world works
How we organize ourselves
Sharing the planet
Students inquire into and learn about local and global issues in the context of units of inquiry, each of which addresses a particular transdisciplinary theme. The students make connections and contributions, and deepen their understanding through the perspective of their personal and cultural experiences.
This description makes use of language from the IB Document ‘A Basis for Practice’ (2009)
Bilingual Studies at Kingston
The bilingual nature of Kingston makes it truly unique. Putonghua and English are the languages of instruction at Kingston with the expectations that students work and participate in both languages. Every class has one native speaking fully qualified Putonghua teacher and one native speaking fully qualified English teacher
Each day students spend a portion of the day immersed in English and a portion immersed in Putonghua with the rest of the day spent working in both languages.
Mathematics at Kingston
Kingston is committed to providing a learning environment that allows students the opportunity to explore Mathematics with an emphasis on reasoning, communication and making connections to the real world. Mathematics instruction combines active discovery with explicit instruction resulting in conceptual understanding and fluency in skills.
Our program emphasizes
- The process of problem-solving within realistic contexts
- Confidence in using mathematics meaningfully
- The value of mathematics
- Mathematics within a broad range of content
- Communicating mathematically
- Metacognition - Thinking about thinking
At Kingston, students explore Mathematics through 5 strands. As students move from grade level to grade level, skills and concepts they have already learned are extended and built upon to help ensure a firm grasp of Mathematical content.
Language at Kingston
At Kingston we recognize that language is a complex web of connections that students must learn to use in a variety of settings and ways. The learning process simultaneously involves
- Learning language - that is, listening to and using language with others in their everyday lives
- Learning through language - that is, using language to identify, clarify and organize thoughts and feelings, and so acquiring, understanding and shaping the knowledge and value of their own and other cultures
- Learning about language - that is, trying to understand how language works. Learning about vocabulary and language structures (both oral and written) and the variety of ways in which language is used for different purposes.
Language teaching must transcend disciplines allowing students to understand and use language from subject to subject. To support this transdiciplinary aspect of learning we have chosen to use text types as a focus for English language teaching. Text types offer teachers a vehicle for teaching reading, writing and talking and listening. Students learn about the features and uses of different text types. Text types allow opportunities for specific grammar and language usage learning and for ties to 'real world' uses.
From P1 to P6 students will cover a total of 10 text types - procedure, response, poetry, explanation, exposition, recount, narrative, description, information report and discussion.
At Kingston, we place great importance on Chinese language learning with Putonghua as the medium of instruction for Chinese and Bilingual lesson times. We have developed a comprehensive Chinese curriculum designed to complement and support the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB-PYP). Students gain language and life knowledge and develop their concrete/abstract thinking and creativity through acquiring reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Our programme is designed to enhance students' personal qualities by helping to build a positive attitude towards life, good moral values and responsibility.
Under the curriculum framework of the IB-PYP, we have developed a set of teaching materials - Chinese Language for elementary bilingual learners. Through this set of teaching materials, students are able to master pinyin skills; acquire language knowledge and writing skills from easy to hard; appreciate different text types and poems; use their own creativity to write on different topics; and study and appreciate the beauty of classical Chinese texts.
Social studies is the study of people in all aspects and is important for students to begin to understand human interactions, connections, history and the interaction between humans and our environment.
Our Social Studies scope and sequence covers five strands. Each strand focuses on specific issues within social studies with ideas building and growing as students progress from P1 to P6.
At Kingston students are introduced to all aspects of Science – biological, chemical and physical. Science is explored through four strands each with a transdisciplinary focus. As an IB school we recognize the importance of learning not only about the Science but the wider reaching affects of Science.
Arts and Personal, Social and Physical Education (PSPE)
At Kingston we believe in the development of the whole child. To support the development of well rounded students we employ specialist Art, Music and Physical Education teachers. These teachers bring a passion and expertise to their classes, which allows our students to expand their knowledge and continually challenge themselves.
Due to the transdisciplinary nature of the programme the arts and PSPE are taught by our classroom teachers as well as our specialists with collaboration between the specialists and classroom teachers.
Arts – Music, Art and Drama
In Fine Arts, students will learn the disciplines of visual arts and music. Students are encouraged to consider the arts as a means of communication and as an expressive language. Learning through the arts has a positive influence on self-esteem and creative development, which needs to carry over to all aspects of learning. Valuing imagination and celebrating original thinking promotes initiative and a lifelong love of learning. Students are encouraged to develop responsible attitudes and find appropriate ways to take action through the arts, in order to make a difference in and to the world.
P.E. offers students the opportunity to discover the capabilities of their bodies and the variety of ways in which they are able to use their bodies to solve problems, address physical challenges, function as part of a group, manipulate equipment or apparatus, and express themselves in a range of situations. Through movement, students develop personally, socially and emotionally as well as physically.