The Primary Years Programme (PYP) of Inquiry organizes what we aim for students in PreK through Grade 5 to learn. Units are organized by transdisciplinary themes, four in PreK and Kinder, and six from Grades 1 through Grade 5.
The PYP transdisciplinary themes that follow provide the basis for student acquisition of knowledge, understanding, and skills through Units of Inquiry. Units are transdisciplinary and special subjects, i.e. Visual Arts, Filipino, Music, Physical Education, Christian Living Education, may also be linked to them wholly or in part, through the year, or may provide students with independent stand-alone lessons to develop skills and content knowledge in these specific subjects.
Otherwise, knowledge, understanding and skills related to Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math are developed within the context of a transdisciplinary unit.
PYP Transdisciplinary Themes
|Who we are||An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.|
|How we express ourselves||An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.|
|How the world works||An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use our understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.|
|Where we are in place and time||An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives|
|How we organize ourselves||An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and our impact on humankind and the environment.|
|Sharing the planet||An inquiry into the rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.|
For the Middle Years Programme (MYP), student inquiry takes place through the lens of key and related concepts. The global context provides an authentic frame to guide their exploration. As students learn best when they can connect learning to authentic life experience and world situations, teachers structure student inquiry within one of the following specific global contexts. You will note that these global contexts are related to Primary Years Programme (PYP – PreK – Gr 5) transdisciplinary themes.
|MYP Global Contexts||PYP Transdisciplinary Themes|
|Identities and relationships||Who We Are|
|Orientation in space and time||Where we are in place and time|
|Personal and cultural expression||How we express ourselves|
|Scientific and technical innovation||How the world works|
|Globalization and sustainability||How we organize ourselves|
|Fairness and development||Sharing the planet|
In the MYP, while interdisciplinary units are also planned, what students learn is organized by subject area. A general summary for each subject and grade level follows:
Using a wide variety of theater games and performance-based activities, the Drama programme helps students discover and enhance their natural creativity, spontaneity, self confidence, and discipline. Weekly drama classes help the students explore the creative use of gesture and voice, sharpen powers of observation, and learn to work together to produce an end-of-term performance. This allows the fledgling actors to experience the thrills and challenges of actual performance, simultaneously developing the group’s sense of teamwork and trust.
The music program provides the 8th grade students the opportunity to develop their core musical understanding and skills, as well as nurture their creativity and appreciation of music. This will be carried out through a combination of performance-based tasks, a variety of music and movement games, guided instruction, independent practice, as well as regular reflection exercises. The students will start out by building their basic musicianship and performance skills on a chosen instrument, as they choose a new instrument to learn, or identify a new skill on a familiar instrument to develop. They will then further build up on these skills over the course of the second term as they focus on music performance as a tool for communication and change, when they stage an end-of term musical revue. Their last term will provide them with an opportunity to consolidate and apply their musical learnings over the past year, this time in the form of self expression and musical composition.
As a continuation of the Art program in the Primary Years, visual art in the middle school tackles the same media and techniques on a progression to further strengthen the students’ skills and deepen the understanding of the historical and theoretical background of the subject matter at hand.
In 6th grade, students will explore the art of creating portraits. They will learn strategies on how to create their own and those of other people. In term two, they will try a variety of techniques on how art can tell a story, using technology and new forms of art. For example, they will use Google Slides, PowerPoint or Keynote to generate a story. In using conventional form, they will be introduced to handmade journaling, scrapbooking, and illustrating. In term three, they will experiment with materials and techniques in printmaking and mosaic.
MYP Design aspires to cultivate a culture of design thinking where creative problem solving skills are honed and where students develop into caring and responsible individuals, able to respond critically and resourcefully to the demands of society and to appreciate the significance of design for life and the environment. This subject focuses on developing skills following the MYP Design Cycle – Inquiring and Analyzing, Developing Ideas, Creating the Solution and Evaluating. The design curriculum gives students the opportunity to explore innovative solutions and to contribute to the development of products through various digital and product design courses. Both formative and summative tasks include individual and group output as well as interdisciplinary projects shared with other subject areas.
Individuals and Societies (Humanities)
The Humanities course outline includes an examination of ancient civilizations and the study of significant periods in world history. Current global and local issues are integrated within the various units of work per grade level. All students of Humanities will learn how to recognize and appreciate geographical, political, cultural similarities and differences that exist among civilizations and societies of different times and places. They will learn to appreciate how geographical, political, economic and cultural factors interact to define a people and how they relate to the rest of the world.
Teaching and learning Filipino as a second language is organized into six (6) phases. Students may begin the course at any phase and may exit from any phase at the end of the continuum. Learning targets have been set for each phase. They indicate a standard that students are expected to reach in order to demonstrate the readiness to progress to the next phase of learning.
The aim of Language Acquisition courses is to develop competence in a second language. In addition, students learn to respect other cultures and viewpoints as they practice their language skills. Modern Languages offered are Spanish and Mandarin.
Language and Literature: English
Students will develop skills in reading, listening to, and understanding a variety of texts. As they strive for fuller, more precise expression, they will use language to articulate their own ideas and insight, and express opinions, orally as well as in writing.
The Math Program aims to develop in students an appreciation for Mathematics as a universal language with many applications and as a logical system that builds on itself through creative and critical thinking. It provides students with a strong foundation in key mathematical concepts of Number, Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. It develops and reinforces students’ understanding of mathematical concepts, reasoning, and processes to help them develop strategies for problem solving and the application of mathematics in real-life situations.
Physical and Health Education
The Physical and Health Education program through its holistic approach aims to expose the students to various concepts that help foster an awareness of physical development and health perspectives. The desired result for this is to empower the students to understand and appreciate the value of being physically active and develop the motivation for making healthy life choices.
The Middle School Science Curriculum offers a balanced introduction to Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science and Environmental Science through meaningful and relevant learning experiences. Centered on immersing the students in the scientific process, learning experiences train students to: interpret and apply concepts and principles; build and develop thinking and technical skills; formulate good investigation questions; develop hypotheses; design and perform experiments; gather, organize and analyze results; and make conclusions and recommendations; assess and reflect on personal learnings; and make real-life connections.
Religious and Moral Education
Religious Education is a required course for Grade 6 and Grade 7. Students take one of two classes that run parallel for each grade level: Christian Living Education or World Religions. This course is now being assessed using our own Beacon framework, rather than that of the MYP Individual and Societies classes. In Grade 8 all students study Ethics during their year long Community Project which is outlined in more detail in the following section. As part of this culminating project, students learn ethical frameworks as the basis for decision making and connect the concepts of morality to service as action.
Christian Living Education
The Christian Living Education program at Beacon endeavors to instill in the students a Christ-centered spirituality constantly renewed and cultivated by a robust and vibrant prayer life; and knowledge of the Catholic faith. By enriching their understanding of the faith to which they belong, the students are likewise motivated to authentically live out their Christian commitment in their relationship with God and others.
World Religions in Middle School deepens the students’ understanding of religions and belief systems and the ways that they have changed to accommodate different ways of life.
Service as Action at Beacon
Central to Beacon’s vision and mission is that students learn for service to society. Throughout the MYP curriculum, students are therefore given opportunities to extend their learning and apply it through service. These service activities are organized by the school, by teachers, and arise out of individual student’s interests and initiatives. As examples, Beacon School has established relationships with GABES, a public school on our PCPD compound, and Ang Misyon. Both provide service-learning opportunity to our students and alumni. Grade 7 students support a feeding program and storytelling activities at GABES as part of MYPs long-standing relationship with this public school. Some units of inquiry throughout the MYP experience will naturally lead to service opportunity. In Grade 8, all students are involved in a Community Project.
The Community Project
Beacon has incorporated the IB MYP Community Project into the Grade 8 curriculum in support of principled action. The project may be completed individually or in small groups of up to three students. An MYP teacher oversees the entire Community Project process as overall Coordinator of it, and each individual or group has a mentor.