Early Years in PYP at KIS
Early learning in the PYP is a holistic learning experience that integrates socio-emotional, physical and cognitive development. In the PYP classroom, it takes place in dynamic environments that promote play, discovery and exploration. Early Years classes have four Units per year, of approximately 8 weeks each. These longer units allow the teachers more time to continue to work on classroom interactions, and for the children to explore fully at their level of developmental readiness. Our KIS Programme of Inquiry outlines the transdisciplinary units of inquiry. In EY1 and EY2 all subjects are fully integrated, with specialist teachers for PE Swimming, Music and Art. In EY 3, Thai and TAL are introduced.
Our Early Years classes are play based, with multisensory experiences designed to develop everything from fine motor skills through interpersonal development to pre-literacy concepts. Extensive use is made of the outdoor environment, for explorations, constructive play and observing and learning about nature and life in our community. As part of developing their social skills the children learn to take turns through the use of guided, then later, independent games.
A heavy focus is placed on oral language development, both in terms of vocabulary development and language structure. Learning Centres are carefully constructed in order to encourage children to interact and to use their developing languages.
In EY1 and 2, the children are exposed to print in the environment, developing their understanding that print carries meaning, and that sounds can be represented by symbols (letters). There is no formal reading or writing programme at this stage, writing areas with contexts such as shopping or post office are set up and children begin to understand the purpose of writing while creating their own devised expressions in print. The teachers read aloud regularly to the children every day, in alignment with research based best practice, and once a week, buddy readers from an older grade will also come and read with them.
Mathematical concepts are explored in an experiential way, using practical resources such as Numicon. Children learn to count objects, become aware that numbers have a sequence, and that numbers are also represented by a symbol. In addition, the children explore concepts of weight, measurement and shape and space through their focussed play activities. Simple data recording and interpretation is modelled by teachers with use of pictograms.
Due to the emphasis on learning through play, the majority of assessment in early years is done through teacher observation and short conferences with students. Teachers use appropriate developmental checklists to ensure that children are developing their skills and understandings.
In EY3 all students are assessed for letter/sound relationships, and mathematical and print readiness.