Thursday 15 April 2021

Guest Blog: How we navigated being a new IPC school with staff new to the curriculum

Primary IPC2020 School Guest Blog New IPC School International curriculum

Written by Shannon de Winnaar, Principal of Razum International School in Singapore

Razum International School is a primary school in Singapore that opened in August 2019. As the school was a start-up and the staff were all new to the International Primary Curriculum, this was a challenge that I can confidently say we have overcome. Over the past 2 years, we have learnt so much about the IPC. When we first heard about the IPC, we were super excited to have planned units that were enquiry based and had loads of cross-curriculum links. Then once we started looking at the units, we realised that although the lesson ideas were there we did need to think about several things before starting, the biggest being:

  1. Do we plan the whole unit before we start?
  2. Do we have the budget to buy the resources we need?

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1. Do we plan the whole unit before we start?

We started by looking through the unit in its entirety and started to plot our lessons over the term. As new teachers to IPC, we were getting to grips with our new curriculum. We had dedicated 4 days before the children started back, to work on the IPC planning for Term 1. However, we knew moving forward that we wouldn't have these dedicated planning days at the beginning of each term and therefore it would need to become a large part of curriculum meetings before the term ended.

We then decided we didn't need to have everything perfectly planned before the unit started. We needed to make sure of a few things. Firstly, that we knew the basic overview of the unit. Secondly, we had dedicated enough teaching time to cover the unit. And thirdly, we knew what resources were needed and to have them ordered.

Going into term 2 we printed the unit out and then used sticky notes to look through the unit and identify the important points and create a resources list. Over the term, we planned week by week what each lesson would be. This way of planning worked a lot better for us and is how we have continued to work.

2. Do we have the budget to buy the resources we need?

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IPC tasks are enquiry based which means they are designed to be hands-on and this requires resources. As a start-up school, we were starting from scratch. We have learnt over the past 2 years a few things:

  • Create a list about 3 to 4 weeks before the unit starts. This allows time for research and delivery
  • To keep the cost down, try to find recyclable materials to use
  • Use Facebook Market Place, Carousel or Op Shops as they often have brand new items for a fraction of the price
  • Some items will cross over units but different Mileposts will help with sharing resources
  • Look for items that cross over to other units
  • Order early as things may take time to be delivered
  • There is no need to have everything straight away, you can add to your resources over time
  • Keep things organised in labelled tubs and keep a good resources list

The IPC is a fanatastic curriculum with an amazing set of units for children to learn so many wonderful things. I think new schools need to take their time and go step by step. With every unit, we have made so much progress with our teaching, planning, resourcing etc and we hope these tips can help other schools in our international community.

Find out more about the IPC2020 Curriculum