Making the PYP happen in early years: Implementing Agency
Module 1: Local and Global Contexts
Reflection: How is my understanding of the PYP principles and practices in the early years evolving?
I used to think that PYP in the early years, especially Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten was very academically focused. I now think that we need to work harder to have focused play as a larger part of the learning. Yes they do need to have some practical knowledge like learning how to hold a pencil, and learning to read and write, and yes the children do need free play, but they also need focused play where they work out the ideas they are becoming more knowledgeable about. You see this somewhat in their free play, when they are playing restaurant (or house, or whatever) and trying to stuff their teachers with play food. However, having them decide what should be part of their restaurant like menus, money, and a dishwasher and stove, to the staff a restaurant needs like cooks, wait staff etc. make a difference.
I used to think that at least some of the learner profiles were a little bit too abstract for the students in the early years. I now think that we are making them too abstract and need to figure out ways to make them clearer and more concrete for both students and parents.
In what ways can I apply the learning from this workshop into my own learning and teaching?
In the position I have at the moment, is is more difficult for me to apply the things I want to. I am an associate teacher in the junior school, which means I am in all the classes from JK – 5 over the course of the week. I spend about 2 classes in each grade and I also team teach grade 4 French 3 times a week. This means that most of the time I am adjacent to the teaching. However, if I had my own JK classes, or K classes, I would make sure I do take that time to actually build up my play resources. For example, the Ks do a unit on Transportation, and it might be an interesting idea to set up the classroom as an airport. We could brainstorm all the things that belong in an airport, make passports, have an x-ray machine for the baggage. We could have the ticket counter, the pilots and flight attendants, luggage and lost baggage claim. We could have it so the airport could easily change to a train station or a bus station.
I will take some more time and fill up my notebooks with ideas.
How is this agency supported and nurtured through this workshop?
Through the discussion forums and the zoom, our facilitator and the other participants ask clarifying questions, and point out the things that really resonate with them about things that you post. While it is a little more difficult than being in the same room with people bouncing ideas off one another, there is still that collegial feel to the discussions. Even if one disagrees, they are being open minded in allowing others to make different points. I especially like being able to see the connections in the way we teach all over the world.
Now onto Module 2: Transdiciplinarity and Conceptual Learning