Vasilis joined BIS in 2019 and is the Head of Primary and the PYP Coordinator. An IBEN member and IB Educational Consultant, Mr. Iosifidis gathered rich international teaching experience in Africa and Asia and is passionate about working with teachers, students, and families to make learning happen, focusing on concept-based learning and teaching.
Even from the earliest age (Early Years, ages 3 to 5), we approach our curriculum from a “transdisciplinary” approach. This means that, rather than teaching subject-by-subject, we believe that everything we teach and learn has more value if we teach it through multiple subjects at once. Therefore, when we set out a learning goal for your child, that learning goal will include language, mathematics, social studies, art, and/or science principles, but taught in a unified, connected way.
An excellent example might be: learning about ecological systems and habitats in Year 1! The idea of balanced natural systems and how animals and humans create and keep relationships in the world can be approached through language, mathematics, science, and social studies.
In all parts of the curriculum, BIS focuses on the asking and answering of questions. We use these questions, the natural curiosity of our students, to drive the direction of education.
Our ultimate goal, but the end of a student’s PYP experience, is for that student to be an independent, self-motivated, curious learner who drives his or her own education through the asking and answering of these questions.
The PYP approaches learning as a conceptual process, rather than an information recitation process. We develop a student’s ability to think critically and creatively using challenging and relative ideas, and we use these ideas to help students understand their own decision-making power in the world (their “agency”).
On the more practical side of the curriculum, and in order to encourage a rigorous and competitive academic standard within the school, we also utilize content maps to ensure that, in language study and in mathematics, we are offering instruction that will allow a student to succeed to his or her fullest potential. These content maps are available in our PYP curriculum handbook.
In the EY programme (Early Years), we include students ages 3 to 6. During these years, our four-unit curriculum is based upon transdisciplinary and inquiry methods, but is primarily based upon play-learning, life-skills learning, and social-skills learning. This is a programme inspired by the Montessori approach, and that influences the day-to-day and big-picture activities within the learning environment.
One special function of our EY programme is our accelerated literacy programme. As we are an international school, and international curriculum puts a heavy emphasis on early literacy skills, we strive to develop basic reading skills and handwriting skills by the end of our EY3 class (age 5 students).
In our Upper Primary Years Programme (Upper PYP), we include students ages 6 to 11. During these years, students learn six units, all designed based on transdisciplinary and inquiry methods and in deep collaboration to ensure a steady progression in understandings and skills.
The particularly special feature of the Upper PYP experience is our PYP 5 exhibition, in which our 11-year-old students finish the year with a highly involved, highly independent research project that gives our PYP students their first taste of something like the MYP personal project. This project will be launched for the first time in the 2019-2020 school year, and we are deeply excited to see what our PYP 5 students discover!