23 March, 2023

Why action is an integral part of the Primary Years Programme at Northbridge

Why action is an integral part of the Primary Years Programme at Northbridge-Why action is an integral part of the Primary Years Programme at Northbridge-primary action
Why action is an integral part of the Primary Years Programme at Northbridge

Jill Shadbolt
Grade 2 & 3 Leader
Action & Service Leader

In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), including at Northbridge International School Cambodia, 'action' is considered to be both an application of learning and an opportunity for students to engage in a form of contribution or service.

Action is an integral part of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and an opportunity for students to seek the opportunity to make a significant contribution to their local and global communities. It is a core component of agency and offers learners the ability to see that they can not only make a meaningful contribution to the world around them but also be change-makers. (IB PYP: Principles to Practice)

But what does this look like in reality? Not everyone can spend all day planting trees, but it is important for students to know the different forms that action can take, and see what that can look like. In school there are many opportunities for students to take action, some self-directed and some scaffolded. In particular we have two groups that have been purposefully set up to promote action.

One is the STUCO (Student Council) which has a group of elected students that are supported by a member of staff. The other group is the Action Committee which is a voluntary group who give up their time to help others. Both groups meet regularly and arrange activities that benefit both the immediate Northbridge school community and the wider Phnom Penh community. 

Some examples of this would be the sponsored walk to celebrate World Children’s Day where we raised $1300 for a children’s charity here in Phnom Penh. Then there was a Bake Sale which saw the Primary teachers and Action committee members baking biscuits and cupcakes to sell to the Primary and Early Years students. This successful action raised $800, some of which is being used to create a quiet area for students at break time, and some of which is going to a local NGO to support students with their education.

Then last week, as part of Spirit Week we had a donation day where families were asked to send in stationery and school supplies to also support one of our partnered charities. Events like these enable students to see the wider picture of being able to help others, but there are also every day opportunities for students to take action in the form of individual applications of learning. 

Each day, students at school face a myriad of challenges, activities, interactions and instructions. But there are also plenty of opportunities, and within these opportunities is the potential for them to take action and agency in connection to their learning. Each time they make a positive choice to try something that they haven’t done before, to consider something in a way they haven’t thought of before, or to change their mindset and become open to new thinking, then they are taking action in their learning. 

In the PYP, this is a recognised pathway for student action as it can lead to powerful changes and long-lasting commitments that may go far beyond charity collections and sponsored events.

A student that can recognise the opportunity for action and become an agent for change, in whatever context that might be, will always benefit from a sense of purpose in the way they choose to live their lives.