The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is used in schools all over the world. Currently this includes nearly 1,800 national and international schools in over 90 countries.
Learning with the International Primary Curriculum means that children focus on a combination of academic, personal and international learning that is exciting and challenging. The aim of the IPC is to help every child enjoy the learning of a wide range of subjects and to develop an enquiring mind, the personal attributes that will help throughout teenage and adult years, and to develop a sense of his or her own nationality and culture, at the same time developing a profound respect for the nationalities and cultures of others. Through the IPC approach to learning children develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to confidently face the world of tomorrow.
The IPC was introduced in 2000 and has been successfully meeting the learning needs of children for many years. It took four years with leading educational thinkers, school leaders, highly skilled teachers and curriculum writers to create the IPC. Its continued development today ensures that children are learning a current and highly relevant curriculum based on the very latest research into the brain and the increasing understanding of how children learn.
The IPC is a part of Fieldwork Education which, since 1984, has been helping schools all around the world to develop children’s learning. For more information about the IPC visit their website.
Implementing the IPC at ISKR
ISKR is excited to begin the process of transitioning to the IPC, one of the fastest growing internationally-focused curricula designed to support student skills development and to prepare them as learners in the 21st Century. For the first semester of this year, elementary teachers are working with the Director and Curriculum Coordinator to plan for the transition to this program, which will include training and determining the themes and units to be piloted later this year and to be fully implemented in 2015-2016.
Between January and June 2015, each elementary class will pilot one or two IPC units. During pilot units, the existing Social Studies and Science curricula will be replaced by the IPC, which includes learning outcomes in both subject areas. In 2015-2016, the ISKR Elementary School will transition completely to the IPC, meaning that Social Studies and Science will be replaced entirely, and teachers will begin to use the Assessment for Learning program within the IPC to assess learning outcomes in Social Studies and Science, as well as other areas, such as Information Technology, Design Technology, Music, Physical Education, Art, and Society.
While the IPC also has Language Arts and Mathematics learning outcomes, it is not designed to replace a school’s literacy and numeracy program, so ISKR will maintain its existing Language Arts and Mathematics programs while working to make connections between these areas and the IPC units and assessments in order to offer a well-designed integrated elementary school program.
Features of the IPC
The Learning Goals
The IPC Learning Goals define what children might be expected to know, what they might be able to do and the understandings they might develop as they move through school. Well written learning goals guide teaching and learning and help to focus assessment and evaluation. We believe that the IPC Learning Goals are equal to or exceed those of any curriculum in the world.
The subject goals cover the knowledge (the facts and information children might learn), the skills (those practical abilities children need to be able to do) and the understandings (the deeper awareness of key concepts which develops over time). There are subject Learning Goals for Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Information Technology, Design Technology, History, Geography, Music, Physical Education, Art and Society.
The personal goals refer to those individual qualities and dispositions we believe children will find essential in the 21st century. They help to develop those qualities that will enable children to be at ease with the continually changing context of their lives. There are personal goals for enquiry, resilience, morality, communication, thoughtfulness, cooperation, respect and adaptability.
The international goals The International Primary Curriculum is unique in defining learning goals that help young children begin the move towards an increasingly sophisticated national and international perspective.
Knowledge, skills and understanding All the IPC learning goals include the development of knowledge, skills and understanding; an essential combination to ensure the most effective learning experience. The learning tasks within each IPC unit guide teachers through the process of helping children develop their knowledge, skills and understanding.
The IPC Learning Process
There is a distinct learning process with every IPC unit, providing a structured approach to make sure that children’s learning experiences are as stimulating and rigorous as possible.
Assessment for Learning
How do we know children have learned?
The IPC is a learning-focused curriculum; designed to help children learn and to enjoy what they are learning. To be learning-focused means that we have to be assessment and evaluation-focused too. Both assessment and evaluation matter because they are ways in which we find out whether children are learning.
Knowledge, skills and understanding are learned differently, therefore taught differently and assessed or evaluated differently:
- Knowledge is about facts. Facts are right or wrong. The easiest way to find out whether children have learned facts is a regular test – we all know how to do that.
- Skills are practical and experiential. Skills aren’t right or wrong; they are developmental and so the IPC talks about beginning, developing and mastering when it comes to skills learning. The boundaries between these three levels are not clear-cut and different people have different ideas of what each stage looks like. That’s why the IPC Assessment for Learning Programme is created the way that it is – built around rubrics.
- Understanding is personal and fluid; it comes and goes. Finding out about children’s developing understandings is almost entirely a matter or judgment.
For more information on the Assessment for Learning Program, please visit the IPC website.
Units of Work
We know that children learn best when they want to learn.
That’s why the IPC has over 130 different thematic units of learning; all child-friendly, modern-day topics appealing to all ages of primary children; themes include Time Detectives, Airports, I’m Alive, Inventions and Machines, and Global Swapshop.
The theme enables young children to remain motivated through the Learning of Science, Geography, History and so on. It also allows them to make purposeful links and connections throughout their learning and to see how their subject learning is related to the world they live in. Within each theme, the IPC suggests many ideas for collaborative learning, for active learning, for learning outside the classroom, for role play, and for children learning from each other.
Each IPC unit incorporates a range of subjects including Science, History, Geography, ICT, Art and PE and provides many opportunities to link literacy and numeracy. Each subject then has a number of learning tasks to help teachers to help children achieve a range of IPC learning goals.
Each unit is appropriate for one of three different age-groups: five to seven year olds, seven to nine year olds, and nine to twelve year olds. The IPC calls these age-groups Mileposts.
To view the descriptions and learning goals for each unit by Milepost, please visit the IPC website.