GEMS Primary Years Programme: The Value of an Integrated Curriculum

By Mike Gilmour, Deputy Principal Early & Primary Years September 12, 2018
GEMS Primary Years Programme: The Value of an Integrated Curriculum

At GEMS World Academy (Singapore), we pride ourselves on having committed educators who are passionate about their students, and who deliver a highly effective IB Primary Years Program (PYP).

There are many expressions of the PYP around the world and the value of the program is that it is a framework as opposed to a set curriculum. This means that our educators and Pedagogical Leadership Team members have a hands-on approach to developing and sustaining what takes place within the classroom.

The conversations and level of collaboration that has taken place among our grade level teaching teams and single subject teachers within the first few weeks of this academic year have left me inspired and excited about the year.

As you may or may not know, each week our grade level teaching teams meet with our PYP Coordinators and single subject teachers. The purpose of these meetings is to plan units of inquiry and teaching engagements collaboratively and to integrate the different subjects or disciplines effectively.

While there will be occasions where disciplines are taught as “stand-alone units”, the PYP is most effective when it is viewed as a transdisciplinary program which sees the various disciplines and subject areas integrating with each other. Therefore, the collaboration between educators is vital to the delivery of our program.

The value of an integrated program of inquiry is that students view all areas of learning as connected. They begin to identify concepts of mathematics within their PE lessons or they may include their experiences in Art or Music in a creative writing task in the classroom. The walls of traditional subjects are broken down and all areas of learning are given equal value in the students' mind. The conceptual connections that can be found between different disciplines are endless and when woven together form a strong and holistic program of inquiry.

The world we live in is not segregated into disciplines. In our constantly evolving world, we are expected to be able to effectively manage various tasks or commitments simultaneously. Therefore, our integrated approach to education equips students with the skills required to manage various tasks with different outcomes. However, more importantly, our integrated program teaches students to identify connections between different areas of learning. This ability to identify connections will allow students to leverage their experience and knowledge in whatever future context they find themselves.

This is the value of an integrated program of inquiry, and it is these skills which will lead our students to succeed.

Mike Gilmour, Deputy Principal
Early & Primary Years


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