Academic Philosophy, Framework, and Program
At Southridge, we are partners together 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.
Both programs provide a research-based, international philosophy and framework that engages our students in rigorous and globally significant, inquiry-based teaching and learning. The BC Ed Plan is embedded within the IB framework. IB schools all over the world offer its different programs through a variety a configurations that meet their specific community’s needs.
At Southridge, students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 participate in the PYP and students in Grades 6 and 7 participate in a two-year, shortened MYP program that is positioned as a follow-up to the PYP. This unique-to-Southridge configuration ensures that our Grade 6 and 7 students have the opportunity to increasingly engage in disciplinary learning, which enables us to best prepare them to transition to our Senior School, where the Harkness philosophy and discussion-based learning are the main pedagogical approaches.
Through the IB PYP and MYP programs, all Junior School students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes conceptual learning through a focus on powerful organizing ideas that are relevant across subject disciplines. An explicit focus on concepts helps to integrate learning, adds coherence to the curriculum, deepens disciplinary understanding, builds developmentally appropriate capacity for students to engage with complex ideas, and allows for transfer of learning to new contexts.
Both the PYP and MYP emphasize:
- The development of international mindedness through the 10 attributes of the IB Learner Profile, knowledge, and understanding.
- The exploration of relationships between disciplines through transdisciplinary learning (exploring related concepts through six transdisciplinary themes including: Who we are, Where we are in place and time, How we express ourselves, How the world works, How we organize ourselves, and Sharing the Planet) in the PYP, and 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 through the Program of Inquiry and the Grade 5 Exhibition in the PYP, and global contexts and the Grade 7 Making a Difference Project in the MYP.
- Competency based Approaches to Learning (ATL) that are transferable across disciplines, support purposeful inquiry, and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning. These include the development of: self-management, social, thinking, research, and communication skills.
- Student-centered, inquiry-based Approaches to Teaching (ATT) that promote student agency (the power to act).
- Continuous opportunities for metacognition (thinking about thinking) and reflection.
- A holistic approach that nurtures each student’s academic, creative, physical, and emotional well-being.
- Collaborative planning, assessment, and reflection amongst teachers and pedagogical leaders.
- Continuous participation in high quality IB professional development for teachers and pedagogical leaders.
At Southridge, all students engage in learning through the following disciplines and areas:
- Design (integrated in the PYP; as a specific subject in the MYP)
- English Language Arts
- French as a Second Language
- Music and Performing Arts
- Physical Education
- Social Studies
- Social Emotional Learning (K-7) and Executive Skills (Grades 5 - 7)
- Visual Arts
Technology plays a gradually increasing role as a tool that is used to enhance learning across disciplines. Students learn how to become responsible digital citizens, and develop and apply media literacies as a part of the learning process.
Assessment occurs throughout the learning process with the aim of supporting 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.