Trinity Grammar School understands the importance of making a good beginning. From the significant foundation years of schooling, boys are provided with opportunities to develop in mind, body and spirit. The boys’ needs are met by a differentiated, inquiry based curriculum, delivered by motivated, creative and caring classroom teachers using exceptional facilities and resources.
At the core of this is the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) which guides boys to become independent inquiry learners. The PYP, for students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 6, focuses on the development of the whole child, in the classroom and in the world outside. It offers a framework that meets the academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural needs of each child.
Delivering the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) curriculum outcomes, the PYP Programme adopts a comprehensive approach to learning with a global perspective. Based on an inquiry learning model, the PYP gives your son ownership of his learning to develop his research and critical thinking skills. He will be able to pursue his own interests and make meaningful connections with what he is learning to his home, the community and the world. This breadth of experience will help him to become a socially conscious, internationally minded and independent learner.
The Kindergarten to Year 6 Curriculum in New South Wales is defined in terms of the following key learning areas:
> Science (incorporating Technology)
> Human Society and its Environment (History and Geography)
> Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
> Creative Arts
Foundation Statements help teachers manage the curriculum effectively by describing the state-wide common curriculum requirements and prioritising what needs to be taught in all primary schools. The key learning areas (KLAs) and the NESA’s syllabuses remain at the core of planning and programming within the PYP framework.
The boys at the Preparatory School benefit from caring, experienced, motivated, creative, highly-trained teachers interested in each student as an individual. Specialist teachers in Personal Development, Health & Physical Education, Music, Visual Arts, a language other than English and Christian Studies support classroom teachers to deliver appropriate curriculum to all students. In addition to PE, all students from Pre-K to Year 6 participate in a weekly FAST (Fundamental and Active Skills at Trinity) session. FAST is a research-based programme that aims to increase students’ Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) and physical activity both exclusively and inclusively of PE lessons. The Trinity Educational Support Services (T.E.S.S.) Department provides Gifted and Talented Educators, Literacy and Numeracy Support teachers, as well as English as an Additional Language teachers to assess, monitor and support the needs of each child. The School's language other than English (LOTE) is Mandarin. Mandarin is commenced intensively in Pre-Kindergarten and continued at a maintenance level through to Year 6 and is available through the Middle and Senior Schools.
Throughout the school boys have 1:1 access to technology to promote the development of digital literacies and to support inquiry and creation. Boys in K-2 are assigned a school-owned iPad, while boys in Years 3-6 make use of Chromebooks (student-owned in Years 5-6).
The School's curriculum is developing constantly and reflects the changing needs of the boys.
PRIMARY YEARS PROGRAMME
The School is a fully authorised IB PYP school having achieved this distinction in 2010. The PYP is designed for students aged 3 to 12. It focuses on the growth of the developing child, touching hearts as well as minds and encompassing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic development.
At the heart of the PYP is structured inquiry. Inquiry learning gives ownership of learning to the students and develops their approaches to learning across all areas of the curriculum. It allows them to pursue their own interests, within the planned curriculum framework, and make meaningful connections between what they are learning and their home, community and the world. The inquiry model provides the opportunity to develop explicit attitudes and the expectation of socially responsible behaviour. The overall aim of the programme is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.
THE PYP CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK
The curriculum framework consists of five essential elements: concepts, knowledge, approaches to learning (skills), attitudes, action. The knowledge component is developed through inquiries into six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, supported and balanced by six subject or discipline areas. This is illustrated by the diagram below.
The curriculum framework is further structured around three interrelated questions.
> What do we want to learn? The written curriculum.
> How best will we learn? The taught curriculum.
> How will we know what we have learned? The assessed curriculum.
“The PYP curriculum model is dependent on a commitment to a particular belief about how children learn, encapsulated most clearly in the constructivist approach. It is acknowledged that learners have beliefs about how the world works based on their experiences and prior learning. Those beliefs, models or constructs are revisited and revised in the light of new experiences and further learning. As we strive to make meaning of our lives and the world around us we travel continually on the cyclic path of constructing, testing, and confirming or revising our personal models of how the world works.” (Making the PYP Happen, IB 2009 p6)
Structured inquiry allows teachers to make the necessary connections between the learners’ existing knowledge and their individual learning styles. Inquiry allows students to be actively involved in their own learning and to take responsibility for that learning. Inquiry allows each student’s understanding of the world to develop in a manner and at a rate that is unique to that learner. Inquiry involves the synthesis, analysis and manipulation of knowledge through a combination of individual investigation and more formally structured learning. The student is at the centre of that learning. Learning is transdisciplinary and is not bound by traditional subject-specific areas.
“An explicit expectation of the PYP is that successful inquiry will lead to action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process. This action may extend the student’s own learning, or it may have a wider social impact.” (Making the PYP Happen, IB 2009 p30)