International Baccalaureate (IB)
TIS has been an authorized IB World School since March 2010. It was the first school in the Pacific Northwest authorized to offer the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP).
The IB Primary Years Programme
The IB PYP offered at over 900 authorized schools worldwide, is a guided inquiry-based teaching method that centers on student questions. Rather than working through a standard lesson and learning facts, students study a central idea by creating and exploring their own questions.
“My favorite part is the students’ questions,” says TIS Japanese Kindergarten teacher Hideko Forzely. “Before the IB, the students would ask some questions, and I would usually tell them the answers. But now, I give them tools to do the research and we all learn together.”
Through this concept-driven process, students gain deep content understanding while learning the skills to acquire, organize, and communicate knowledge. It is those skills that enable children to become independent learners, capable of pursuing knowledge beyond the classroom and throughout life.
The Inquiry Cycle
Each PYP unit begins by assessing students’ prior knowledge on a central idea and pre-determined lines of inquiry. Then the students formulate questions based on what they want to know about the topic.
Those student questions start the cycle of inquiry that guides every PYP lesson, as shown in this diagram. Teachers support the student-led inquiry with age-appropriate resources and activities to guide and structure the learning. It’s an approach that works at every grade level to provide challenges for every student.