It is always a pleasure to have time devoted to sharing the education of your children, our youngest members of the learning community at the British International School of Houston. Our constructivist approach to learning focuses on learning in a social context and emphasizes the importance of relationships. I hope that this session helped to provide you with the opportunity to feel and experience the many emotions and excitement of learning, sharing and connecting. And to help you to see the vital importance of excellent early years provision in providing the solid foundations of further learning to IB diploma and beyond.
The images in this post highlight your willing participation. You were invited to create a representation to show who you are. This was directly connected to our context of inquiry, Learning to Understand Ourselves, which the children have been exploring. I was touched by your willingness to have a go, the thoughtful ways in which you expressed your ideas and the different ways and materials that were used by all.
“My family, me, my husband, three children, one who is 4, one who is 8 and one who is 14, represented by the different heights. I used blocks of different shapes to show that I need to be so flexible and that I have to do different things and I made a strong foundation to be strong for my family.”
“I do a lot of talking. I’m very messy. I’m an extrovert. I have a big smile.”
“I’ve created myself and my daughter. My life revolves around my daughter. Every night we read 5 stories together.”
“This us a kind of me. I feel like I have lots of glitter with lots if things around me.”
“It’s a mess but a lovely girly mess. It’s a very neat mess.”
“It goes on a hamster wheel.”
“It was a difficult question for me. I don’t see myself as one person.”
“This represents me and how girly I am. This represents my connection with PJ, myself and our life together.”
We appreciated the comments that were offered and the conversations we were able to be a part of. We noticed that just like your children, some of you came in eagerly with great energy, some were more tentative, some are quite wary. That you, just like your children needed time to talk to each other, reconnect, share some news, initiate a new friendship....ultimately building relationships with one another. Through this task that we invited you to do, we hope that you were able to pause and reflect on who you are, and to help to understand more about each other.
Children have a desire to interact with challenging questions and inquiries of real importance to themselves, to their community, and to the world. Even very young children have the capacity to think about big questions and are continuously making theories, whether we ask them or not. By creating environments that support habits of research and collaboration, we help children develop attitudes that will allow them to sustain a sense of wonder, value multiple perspectives, and develop an increasingly sophisticated capacity for critical thinking and innovation. When children are in environments where they are encouraged to ask and pursue meaningful questions, to think about their responses and gain confidence in being original thinkers, their learning is deeper and more likely to transfer between home and school and across content areas. Elevating the scale of children’s work from isolated tasks to authentic, significant projects that matter in their lives and communities increases the probability for meaningful learning. Our aim is to stimulate independent thinking, deep and complex questioning and problem solving.
Given this, over the course of their time in our Early Childhood Centre we have planned several Contexts for Inquiry to provide opportunities for the children to engage in extensive learning that will also address the areas of learning and development outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage and also prepare the children for a future of life long learning.
These inquiries and our approaches to learning and teaching directly connect to the IB diploma. The IB mission statement tells us that, The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect; to be active participants in a global society. IB Diploma learners are critical, creative thinkers who analyst and evaluate issues, and generate new ideas. At the centre of The IB Diploma program is Theory of knowledge (TOK), the extended essay and creativity, action and serve (CAS). These 3 components are at the core of the IB Diploma and aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills. The diagram below illustrates how the Early Years Foundation Stage relates to the IB model.
We really are laying the foundations for future attitudes and confidence in the learning experience and future success.
If there is anything that you are interested in discussing more about then please let us know and we can set up further parent sessions to focus on those areas in more depth.