Let's Talk About Education

EARJ PYP Candidacy Consultant Visit

November 9, 2021 - By Doreen Garrigan and Kirstin White - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

There is an extra air of excitement across both campuses this week as EARJ welcomes our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Consultant. The two-day visit on each campus will provide an opportunity for the consultant to meet with the Barra and Gavea leadership teams, teachers, students, and parents. The consultant will review progress in our work towards meeting the requirements for PYP authorization, which is set for the end of the next school year. Each school is unique and the consultant’s visit will be focused on guiding EARJ according to our particular identity and Brazilian context. This visit is a fantastic opportunity to show off the PYP  implementation in action with input from all members of the learning community.  Below are a few standout examples of what we are excited to share with the Consultant.

Student Community and Action

EARJ students have embraced the opportunity for increased voice, choice, and ownership in their learning across both campuses. Students are demonstrating their understanding of inquiry-based learning by asking questions, conducting research, and taking action on what they’ve learned. Highlights in Gavea include the creation of the Panther Leaders, a student action group focused on how to improve the lower school experience. One student-created event is an upcoming dodgeball tournament during recess. Over on the Barra campus, highlights in student action initiatives include the creation of a virtual company and charity raffle for SUIPA and Kids for Saving Earth campaigns around promoting sustainability through recycling.

Teaching Community & Professional Development

Teachers across both EARJ campuses have been fully immersed in ongoing professional development around inquiry-based teaching and learning. Teaching teams will meet with the consultant to share how they have contributed to the development of each campus’ Programme of Inquiry and their specific units. Literacy has been an area of focus during our candidacy. Teachers have revisited reading assessment practices and reflected on how they are building connections and consistency between curriculum standards and Literacy within the PYP framework. Updated systems for reviewing student learning data are also in progress. The Brazilian National Curriculum is being considered within each unit of inquiry to further align teaching and learning across all subject areas. We are very proud of the work our PYP teachers have contributed to the development of a rigorous and challenging program.

Parent Community & Reflection on the Process

Parents are a key part of the PYP journey and the consultation process offers a unique opportunity for parents to share their perspectives and reflection on the process with the consultant.  Focus group meetings offer great insight into how parents have embraced the PYP and their partnership as part of the learning community at EARJ.

The PYP journey requires a great deal of work in curriculum alignment, assessment review, and building the Programme of Inquiry on each campus.  This critical work would not be possible without the strong leadership of our two outstanding PYP Coordinators, Anna Cottrell, and Sue Loafmann.  After a year of planning, we are ready for this huge milestone in our journey. This is the next important step in our commitment to adopting the IB Continuum across all divisions and becoming a fully recognized IB World School. We are thrilled to celebrate this accomplishment with the EARJ community!

Interested in learning more? Get to know the PYP.

Doreen Garrigan and Kirstin White
Gávea and Barra Lower School Principals

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