At OYIS, we are proud to be an IB World School that offers the PYP, MYP and the IB Diploma.
But what do those acronyms actually mean for your child?
Offering IB’s three main programs means there is a clear path for your child, as they move from Grade 2 to Grade 7 and, eventually, to Grade 12 and beyond.
However, each program has its own distinct qualities that reflect the way children learn at different ages. PYP is very different from MYP. And the IB Diploma is very different from MYP in lots of ways. So how do we make sure that the path through school is logical and that these programs are connected?
It may be useful to think of the three programs as three neighbouring islands.
Each island looks roughly the same – it has the same trees, the same wildlife and the same environment. But each island also has its own unique qualities. If we extend the metaphor a little, let’s say they all have one special fruit that can only be found on that island. It’s a great fruit, but it would be even better if it were mixed with the unique fruits on the other two islands.
The only way to get between each island and create this fruity elixir is to build solid bridges. Once these have been made, it’s easy to move from one island to the next and collect all the ingredients you need.
One of those islands is the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Here, students learn through different Units of Inquiry that look at global issues that affect them and their world. Within each unit there are chances to learn essential literacy, numeracy and conceptual understandings, as well as the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. There are few stand-alone ‘Maths’ or ‘Science’ lessons; instead students learn in a transdisciplinary way that focuses on a topic and develop a range of connected skills and knowledge.
Having gained a curiosity into the world around them, students take the bridge to the next island: the Middle Years Programme (MYP). Here things change significantly. Students are no longer primarily with a single teacher for each unit; instead they start to have subject lessons with specialist teachers. The focus, however, is still centred around Units of Inquiry and developing key skills and knowledge. Students build on the Learner Profile attributes and reflect more on who they are as learners and individuals. They also learn valuable research, time management and inquiry-based skills that will help them take the steps needed to cross to the next bridge – to the IB Diploma.
The IB Diploma is similar to MYP in terms of the spread of subjects (here, students choose six subjects from different groups) and the focus is still on developing academic skills, while also encouraging students to be service-minded. However, at this stage in their education, students start thinking about universities and where their Diploma may take them, especially in terms of possible careers. The passion for inquiry-based learning and research that students developed in PYP and MYP now results in a range of coursework and final exams that lead to the awarding of the IB Diploma. From there, students are free to choose which bridge they cross next, as these paths can lead to some of the world’s best universities and some incredible career opportunities.
At OYIS, we work hard to make sure those bridges between each programme are strong. This is because we understand that the PYP student currently in Grade 5 will soon be an MYP student in Grade 7 and then a Diploma student in Grade 11. Students who remain on this pathway gain useful skills and knowledge that will help them at school, and far beyond.
To help make sure this pathway is smooth, we create time to ensure teachers from each programme meet and work together. By doing that we can be confident that those bridges we build are easy for students to cross and that their pathway through education is going to be secure and successful.
Studying, completing assessments, sitting the exams. Sometimes students may wonder if that is all there is to the IB Diploma Programme. This question can especially arise at the beginning of the DP, as the concept and focus of learning gradually moves away from the mostly inquiry, project-based MYP Programme.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) recently completed an evaluation of Osaka YMCA International School (OYIS). It found that measures were in place to support inclusive education and ensure that each child meets his or her potential. OYIS has been praised for being ‘caring’ and committed to achieving high standards.
OYIS is an IB continuum school, which means it offers an IB curriculum throughout the whole school, from the Primary Years Programme (PYP) through to the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12.nWASC recognised that growth in PYP was above average while the MYP Maths’ scores were particularly impressive.
Despite the challenges all schools have faced during the pandemic, WASC found that the school had been seen as being ‘caring’ and ‘flexible’ during these times.
OYIS, which has campuses in Nakatsu and Tosabori, aims to be inclusive and support each child’s needs. WASC also recognized this, saying it was a significant area of growth. With the school’s first-ever IB Diploma students preparing to graduate this year, WASC felt the college guidance program was developing well.
PYP Principal Dwayne Primeau said: “We work very hard to ensure that we build a school culture that is inclusive, caring and welcoming. The school has expanded rapidly over the past few years due to the support of the Osaka YMCA, Osaka city, our amazing staff, students and parents. It is reassuring to hear that WASC feels we are continuing to move in the right direction to provide a truly international education to our students.”
MYP/DP Principal Mark Beales added: “It was pleasing to hear that WASC recognized the significant amount of work teachers have put in over the past few years. As well as meeting the challenges of covid, the school has expanded to include the MYP and IB Diploma. We are delighted that WASC praised our caring and empathetic approach to helping students; we will continue to promote these qualities.”