Junior School Academic Philosophy, Framework, and Program

At Southridge, we are partners in each child’s learning journey!

The Junior School proudly offers both the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) and the Middle Years Program (MYP) within our Kindergarten to Grade 7 academic continuum.

The IB provides a research-based, international philosophy and framework that engages Junior School students in rigorous, globally significant, inquiry-based teaching and learning. In addition, we embed the BC Ed Plan within the IB framework. IB schools worldwide offer different configurations of the IB programs to best support their unique school context. At Southridge, students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 participate in the PYP and students in Grades 6 and 7 participate in a two-year, abbreviated MYP program that follows on from the PYP. This unique Southridge configuration ensures that our Grade 6 and 7 students have the opportunity to increasingly engage in disciplinary learning as we prepare them to transition to our Senior School, where the Harkness philosophy and discussion-based learning are the main approaches to teaching and learning. In a two-year MYP program, students do not participate in MYP External Examinations or the MYP Personal Project.

Through the IB PYP and MYP programs, all Junior School students participate in a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes intellectual curiosity and deep learning by focusing on concepts and big ideas. An explicit focus on concepts helps students connect their educational experiences, adds coherence to the curriculum, deepens disciplinary understanding and skill development, builds students’ capacity to engage with increasingly complex ideas, promotes learning transfer, while developing the Approaches to Learning (ATL) and the IB Learner Profile.

Both the PYP and MYP emphasize: 

  • the development of international-mindedness through the 10 attributes of the IB Learner Profile: principled, reflective, caring, open-minded, balanced, courageous, inquirer, thinker, knowledgeable, and communicator. 

  • the exploration of relationships between disciplines through transdisciplinary learning exploring related concepts:

    • through six transdisciplinary themes in the PYP: Who we are, Where we are in place and time, How we express ourselves, How the world works, How we organize ourselves, Sharing the Planet)

    • disciplinary (exploring concepts through one subject) and interdisciplinary learning (exploring the same concept(s) simultaneously through two or more individual subjects) in the MYP.

  • the exploration of local and global issues and meaningful student-driven action through the Program of Inquiry and the Grade 5 Exhibition in the PYP, and global contexts, service as action, and interdisciplinary studies in the MYP.

  • emphasis on developing competency-based Approaches to Learning (ATL) that transfer across disciplines, support purposeful inquiry, and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning. The ATL includes the explicit development of self-management, social, thinking, research, and communication skills

  • inquiry-based Approaches to Teaching (ATT) that nurture student agency (including student voice and choice in what and how they learn) and develop self-efficacy (a student’s belief in their ability to succeed). 

  • purposeful opportunities for metacognition (thinking about thinking) and reflection. 

To sustain our K-7 IB program:

  • our faculty engages in continuous collaborative planning for teaching and learning and participates in high-quality IB professional development. 

  • our community engages in a school-wide, reflective self-study process every five years that culminates in feedback from an IB visiting team to ensure the fidelity of ongoing IB program development. 

At Southridge, all students engage in learning in the following subjects/curriculum areas: 

  • Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies (integrated the PYP; as a specific subject called Design in the MYP)
  • English Language Arts
  • French as a Second Language
  • Mathematics
  • Music and Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Social Emotional Learning (K-5) and Personal Development (Grades 6-7)
  • Visual Arts
  • Career Education (integrated)

Assessment occurs throughout the learning process to support the development of assessment capable learners who can:

  • reflect on their learning
  • identify and/or co-construct learning goals and success criteria
  • develop metacognitive skills (thinking about thinking and how best we learn)
  • give and receive feedback
  • consider next steps to consolidate and progress their learning
  • appreciate and act on the opportunities for growth that are inherent in the learning process

Within an IB learning community, everyone connected to the school has a vital role to play in supporting student learning and agency. Positive and compassionate relationships between students, students and adults, and adults are central to the success of this philosophy.