EARJ PYP Candidacy Consultant Visit

November 9, 2021

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

What is the IB, after all?

April 30, 2021

Many International Schools around the world offer an IB Programme, and we recently had an increase in Brazilian schools incorporating it as well. Still, many parents don’t know which are the differences between the IB and the regular curriculum, and why doing an IB course can benefit students in the long run, especially if they aim to pursue Higher Education abroad.

In this article, you will understand the basics of the IB and its Diploma Programme, which we currently offer at EARJ. All in under 5 minutes!

What does “IB” mean?

IB is short for International Baccalaureate®. The IB offers an education that empowers young people with the values, knowledge and skills to create a better and peaceful world. Its programs enable students to make sense of the complexities of the world around them, shaping them into global citizens.

At EARJ, we have offered the Diploma Programme for High School students since 1982. We are one of the pioneering schools in Brazil on IB education.

Diploma Programme

The Diploma Programme (DP) aims to develop students from 16 to 19 years old to have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge – students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically. It also better prepares them for the next steps of their academic and professional careers, compared to the regular curriculum.

There are three parts to the core of the IB DP, all of which are required for the diploma.

  1. Theory of Knowledge (ToK): Subject which leads students to think critically about knowledge and their own learning process.
  2. Extended Essay (EE): An independent piece of research about a topic of interest of the student, culminating with a 4000-word paper.
  3. Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): A student-led project completed over an 18-month period. It can be related to the Arts, physical activities, voluntary service, and more.

There are also six subject groups in the curriculum, with different courses in each group which will be chosen by the student:

  • Studies in language and literature
  • Language acquisition
  • Individuals and societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The arts

What’s next?

EARJ is currently a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme (PYP), which covers education for children aged 3 to 12. For the next school year, we will become a candidate school for the Middle Years Programme (MYP), for students from 11 to 16 years old.

Follow us on our road to become a full IB World School!

Click here to learn more about the IB at EARJ.

You can read everything about the programs in

International Mindedness: an EARJ path

November 24, 2020

In my early years of teaching, I used to think international-mindedness happened as a result of the diversity present in the classroom. I viewed it more as differences in food, flags, festivals (traditions), language, entertainment, and recreation. In my 10 years abroad I’ve come to learn that these are examples of culture and these attributes of culture do not necessarily translate to developing international-mindedness.

I hate to admit that my understanding of what it meant to be internationally-minded was simple in nature and based on things that were more observable, and not in the deeper ways in which people’s beliefs and values are different and also the same. I’ve learned It’s more about an attitude and an openness to see the world and its events from multiple perspectives.

EARJ is classified as an American international school and yet how internationally-minded are we? In what ways does our community strive to exemplify what it means to be internationally-minded? I ask these questions not to negate a well-deserved 83 year history of excellence, but to engage us in conversation about the benefits of being internationally-minded and the challenges that come with it in an ever changing, chaotic world. As educators, we know we want to develop international-mindedness in our students, but this pursuit should actually involve the entire community of students, teachers, staff, and parents.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) defines International mindedness as possessing certain attributes and approaches to learning.  An internationally minded learner:

  • is a competent communicator (multilingual);

  • is open-minded and knowledgeable;

  • is a caring and principled thinker;

  • uses his or her curiosity and research skills to inquire about the world;

  • thinks and reflects critically about opportunities and challenges;

  • takes action for positive change;

  • takes risks to further self-development and understanding of others.

(Boix Mansilla and Jackson 2011; Oxfam 2015; Singh and Qi 2013; UNESCO 2015).

For students who participate in one or several of the IB programmes, they are exposed to these attributes and approaches multiple times during the course of their educational journey. They learn how to use appropriate skills to find answers to their questions. They develop ownership of their own learning and in their relationships with others so they have the opportunity to practice the attributes in real time.

When I think about how best for EARJ to infuse International mindedness into the ethos of the school, I like to think about what I would want an EARJ high school graduate to know about himself/herself as a learner and the difference he/she wants to make in the world. If we work backwards from “that graduate” then we should be able to support that vision and build into their learning journey, opportunities to develop the attributes of an internationally-minded person, starting all the way back in their preschool years.

The development of international-mindedness takes time, patience, and commitment to a larger vision. At EARJ, find your path inspires us to support our students so that their attributes and approaches to life exemplify an internationally-minded citizen of the world.

Doreen Garrigan
Gávea Lower School Principal