Dear XLIS Community,
Ms. Marly Song – Primary Principal
Dear XLIS Community,
Welcome to the 2023 – 2024 academic year at XLIS! We have much to look forward to in this upcoming year, as we strive to work towards our mission of enabling confident, open-minded global citizens through lifelong learning and a sense of community.
We continue to have many wonderful initiatives that have been growing and developing over the years, such as the International Day of Peace, our ECA program, Student Council, Mathematics competitions, and our swimming and athletics programs, to name a few. This year will be no different as we look to continue with the traditions we have started while adding elements for improvement and advancement. As a growing community, we celebrate our diversity and encourage our students, teachers, and parents to get involved in the development of our school culture.
We can consider this year as being a ‘fresh start’, as we have all come to the other side of the pandemic era where we can commit to working towards our goals without the worry of interruption. As a member of the XLIS community, you will hear us continuously reference our 4 Schoolwide Goals – to strengthen student outcomes in the XLIS language of instruction (English), to vertically weave together our three programmes in a holistic way so our students have seamless transitions as they move through our programmes from Early Years to the Diploma Programme, to strengthen collaboration between all departments within the school, and finally to continue building a culture of communication between parents and the school. Several strategies are being used to help us achieve these goals such as more time built into the teacher’s calendar to allow for professional development and team collaboration, promoting the use of English in classrooms, collecting and analyzing student data, and ensuring we are offering a rigorous academic program that challenges our students, allows them to find their talents, and enables them to become confident open-minded global citizens. Together, we will work towards achieving the mission of XLIS!
I look forward to working with all of our XLIS community to make the 2023 – 2024 school year productive, enjoyable and memorable!
Ms. Marly Song
It is transdisciplinary – meaning the programme strives to balance between traditional stand-alone units and transdisciplinary units. Stand-alone units are usually taught in isolation in the areas of Mathematics, Physical Education or other single subjects. Transdisciplinary units combine different subjects. This way the students make connections in their learning across different disciplines. Each unit, whether it be a stand-alone or transdisciplinary unit contains aspects of Knowledge, Concepts, Approaches to Learning (ATLs), Action and IB Learner Profile attributes. This way our students experience consistency in the program and make connections across disciplines. This continues into middle and high school.
The PYP is concept based – meaning that each unit is based around a central idea. This is a guiding statement that contains concepts the students will be inquiring into. The program is also driven by six key concepts (form, function, connection, causation, perspective, change & responsibility). Each unit’s lines of inquiry are connected to three of these key concepts.
The PYP is an inquiry-based curriculum – meaning the programme is driven by students’ interests. The students are taught to research information on topics of their interest, within the boundaries of the unit of inquiry. One of the main theories the PYP is based upon is constructivism. Students are taken from their current level or understanding to a new level of understanding at differentiated paces. Differentiation is very important at XLIS and our teachers have received extensive professional development in this area.
The PYP values play – throughout the programme a high importance is placed on play. Play is what children enjoy most and PYP teachers skillfully guide learning through play. Careful provocations are set up so students can interact with content and concepts through play.
Assessment in the PYP is based on Understanding by Design – meaning a backward planning approach to assessment is utilized. Each unit’s summative assessment is planned at the start of the unit. Lines of inquiry are formatively assessed throughout the unit and planning is adjusted regularly in accordance to students’ needs. XLIS also uses standardized testing to track our students’ progress. Three times a year our students are assessed in the areas of Mathematics, Reading and Writing.
Students have the opportunity to inquire about our essential elements and science learning outcomes. They learn to write in computer code, build structures, build robots, learn pneumatics, basic CAD drawing, manufacturing, and other aspects of engineering.
Creativity, design, and play are core values at XLIS. The Makerspace is a place where these values are developed each day.
It is our belief that children are capable, curious, and limitless in their creativity. Having a positive image of the child is at the heart of what we believe.
Our students learn through play at XLIS. We believe play to be the most natural form for our students to learn. This may be carefully constructed play in our ECE where our highly professional teachers teach our learning outcomes through play to project-based learning throughout the PYP.
The environment also pays a large part in our philosophy. It is seen as the third teacher and an important source of learning for our entire school community. Our learning spaces have been designed around the philosophy of inquiry and with the student at the centre. Each of our classrooms is designed with 5 essential spaces (makespace4learning.com). There is a display space, community space, private space, presentation space and virtual space. Students can write on the walls or the desks in order to make their thinking visible.
Encouraged by the students’ initiative to have a governing body, the school has opened the door for a Primary Student Council. The Council gives students a platform to express their ideas and be able to take action.
Reflecting on the needs of having a government in the community lead P6 students to an extraordinary result. During discussions in the class they reflected on designing a summative assessment task that would promote student agency. They established the objectives and the primary structure of the Student Council at XLIS that would relate to students’ issues, represent them in the community and serve others.