Primary Years Programme
Monarch Academy is proud to announce our candidacy to become an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP). This is the beginning of a five year journey developing a rigorous curriculum for global citizens and international mindedness. In today’s world, the demands of the 21st Century are ever-changing. Elementary schools are tasked with the challenge of preparing the leaders, problem-solvers, and care-takers of a world that is yet to be defined!
This approach enables all our pupils, including those pupils with learning support difficulties or disabilities, to enjoy a well-rounded education designed to meet their diverse needs. Through the PYP units of inquiry, students are challenged and stimulated within a safe learning environment. They are encouraged to be confident risk-takers and inquirers, who ask questions, seek answers, and continuously try new things. As they grow and learn, they become responsible citizens of their communities, where they consider real-world problems, take action, and ultimately, compete effectively in tomorrow’s world.
Here at Monarch, we offer a challenging curriculum, which combines the inquiry based, child-centered philosophy of the International Baccalaureate with the rigor and academic quality of the Common Core, including 21st Century Skills and the Next Generation Science Standards.
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation. It was originally founded in 1968 and currently offers four programmes for students aged 3 to 19 around the world. In fact, the IB works with 3,883 schools in 148 countries, thereby educating over 1,222,000 students! These programs include the Primary Years Programme for students aged 3 to 12, which is currently offered at Monarch Academy.
An IB education is a holistic approach, including the explicit teaching of “intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.” This approach is applauded for quality, rigor, and pedagogical leadership across continents because the focus is on global appreciation, respect, and open-mindedness. The IB “promotes intercultural understanding and respect, not as an alternative to a sense of cultural and national identity, but as an essential part of life in the 21st century,” through a unifying mission.
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 this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. (© International Baccalaureate Organization, 2005-2014)
IB schools are unique in every aspect: ethos, identity, attitude, teaching, and learning.
The core idea behind project-based learning is that real-world problems capture students’ interests and provoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context. Project-based learning creates opportunities for groups of students to investigate meaningful questions that require them to gather information and think critically. The teacher plays the role of facilitator, working with students to frame worthwhile questions, structuring meaningful tasks, coaching both knowledge development and social skills, and carefully assessing what students have learned from the experience.
Focus on the Learner and the Learner’s Culture
Monarch Academy provides a culturally responsive classroom through:
- Teaching children to strengthen their thinking skills for finding the main idea of what they are reading.
- Incorporating aspects of our students’ languages, cultures, and daily experience so they can bridge the cultures of home and school.
- Using technology for instruction and for demonstrating learning.
- Providing opportunities for small-group work.
- Providing strategies that allow students to “think aloud” and to process their thinking together to make meaning.
Universal Design Learning
Creating flexible goals, methods and assessments that accommodate learner differences to account for the fact that each child’s brain processes information differently.
Brain-based education assures that the whole brain is engaged during the instruction period through having it process through information it knows, gathering what it needs to know, processing what it learns from engaging in a problem it needs to solve, and then trying to apply its new learned knowledge to a different situation or context.
Integrating Character Education
Character education is taught by teaching students about honesty, kindness, generosity, courage, freedom, equality and respect as these values play out in the subjects they are learning. They also learn how to solve problems in a morally responsible way through the problem solving, conflict resolution and decision making approaches taught.
Integrating the Arts in Lesson Planning
Arts are infused in lessons to help students understand how music develops regionally or internationally to compliment a culture or a time in history, how fashion reflects history and politics, and how art, theater, dance and music reflects life, and the impact of the times on art, theater, dance and music.
Monarch Academy’s Programme of Inquiry shows the school-wide curriculum at a glance, while the Programme of Inquiry Cheat Sheet gives an overview of the big ideas or content focus for each unit. In the PYP, each grade level teaches six units under the overarching transdisciplinary themes. While the transdisiciplinary themes are unique to IBPYP, the content and standards come directly from the Maryland Common Core. This conceptual focus allows teachers and students to maintain a developmentally appropriate scope and sequence (just like every other school in Anne Arundel County), while also diving deeply into topics and exploring them from multiple angles. Over time, students begin to make connections across grade levels, subject areas, and content.
This year Monarch Academy has elected to launch the school year with every grade level looking into the Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are. Who We Are is focused on what it means to be human including personal, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Within this humanistic approach, this theme also gives students the opportunity to look at human relationships and the rights and responsibilities that come with human interaction and overall well-being. While all grade levels are looking at aspects of Who We Are, the topics are vertically aligned so students are approaching the concepts through age appropriate learning experiences and contexts. For example, Kindergarten is looking at the rights and responsibilities that come with being a friend and family member; whereas Fifth Grade is looking at the rights and responsibilities of being a global citizen of the next generation through their unit on Children’s Rights.