From the New York Times on October 8, 2008:
The IBPYP model is based on inquiry, participation in the process of learning, and exploration. It is learner-driven, not-teacher dominated. Teachers act as facilitators in the learning process and children’s questions and interests are at the center of the classroom.
… In the current national climate of testing, we have to make time for creative expression. It is urgent. Children need some constructive form of release.
… Children express their creativity and intelligence in a variety of ways. By allowing students to safely explore beyond their typical boundaries, we are encouraging them to express themselves in unique ways in a positive, safe, non-judgmental environment. Performance and open-ended inquiry help us move beyond traditional models of education. The arts, performance, and inquiry are small steps we take to help our students regain ownership of their learning.
I have not been comfortable making a significant distinction between adults and children when looking at the needs of learners for the purpose of developing an idea of what an online component of a classroom could look like.
I have tended to think of learners in a spectrum, and have found that the factor of a learner’s chronological age has not been particularly useful as a way to make distinctions between learners. From a developmental standpoint, I know that it is a factor due to the physiological processes that happen as we age. However, it has seemed clear that some children demonstrate adult learning needs, and some adults have learning needs that resemble the needs associated with children.
In this article, we have principles that I have come to associate with adult education now being applied to children in kindergarten. Children are being encouraged to be self-directed learners. The idea that children cannot “own” their education is being challenged.
In our classrooms, inquiry comes alive through performance. This week in our kindergarten we are starting a unit called “We are Peacemakers.” In this unit, the children learn about sharing, cooperation, conflict resolution, expressing feelings, and building community. We start the unit by asking the children what they know about peace and being a peacemaker. We then use their questions and interests to guide the inquiry process.