IB Primary Years Programme

Reflective activity 4:

  • The similarities and difference of PYP and CfE.

IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) encourages teachers to deliver child focused learning, to help them make meaning for themselves, constructing knowledge. Engagement comes from delivering a bigger picture, with big ideas. It is also about the children learning together and from each other, from different countries around the world and creating new ideas together, in a variety of ways.  PYP is also very focussed on reflection, so that pupils know what they have done very well and what they still need to do to reach their goal. PYP is known as not being a curriculum but as an approach instead, so instead of focusing on one subject such an English, they use cross curricular learning. An example used in the video was that the children were learning about plants, but this was not only science based, it led to the discussion and exploration of deforestation and the impact of this on people, bringing in social studies. The PYP gives the children a good start in letting them understand these connections. In CfE we do use interdisciplinary learning and combine subjects together, but I think that perhaps the difference between the IB and CfE is that the IB is more progressive and flexible, as the practice reflects itself constantly.

When reading about the PYP, one thing which really stood out for me is that children above the age of seven get the opportunity to learn more than one language, although in CfE there is a chance to learn languages, I don’t think there is as much of a focus on this and not as many opportunities in this particular area, and it shows that CfE and the IB do differ in some ways. Another way in which I see that they differ is the IB mission. This mission aims to:

“Develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

Curriculum for Excellence also aims to create knowledgeable and caring people who are responsible citizens and effectively contributes, but the focus is mainly on the community that they live in. Although the aim is to also contribute to the world, the focus is much more on community whereas for the IB it is much more about global contribution

The Exhibition in the IB is about the final year of the programme. This is where pupils are required to suggest solutions for real life issues and problems, this prepares the pupils for life beyond school. This aligns with CfE as real-life issues are also discussed, they are also explored deeper to allow understanding to occur. This is where the two programmes are similar, they both focus a lot of what is happening in the world and share the importance of knowing what is happening in the world and how we can be affecting this.

Another similarity between the two programmes is that the IB programme aims through the six PYP subject areas: language, maths, science, social studies, arts and Personal, social and physical education. The areas in curriculum for excellence are almost identical: expressive arts, health and wellbeing, languages, maths, sciences, social studies, religious and moral education and technologies. One of the largest and most significant differences between the two programmes is that PYP is much more focussed on languages as there is opportunity to learn more languages. These are also learnt at a much younger age, starting at age 7. This aims to widen opportunities for communication around the world and participation in the world, building and supporting these connections for younger generations.

Overall the IB and CfE have very similar aims and goals. The values and morals in their teachings are very similar and affective teaching styles. The biggest difference between the two curriculums, I believe, is that the IB focusses on learning much more globally.