Newswise — As increasing evidence continues to make the case for high-quality early education, the International Baccalaureate (IB) has focused its most recent research efforts toward investigating the processes and outcomes of pre-school students enrolled in its Primary Years Programme (PYP), which is available in schools worldwide for children aged 3–6 years old.
For this particular study, researchers from Deakin University examined four early years programmes—two in Singapore and two in Melbourne, Australia. The study includes both qualitative data from classroom observations and interviews, as well as quantitative data from literacy and developmental assessments.
Top findings from the research include:
• IB PYP students benefit from their pre-school education over and above non-IB students. The findings suggest that IB PYP pupils performed at levels commensurate or better than expected for their age group, compared with the normative sample.
o Researchers observed strong evidence of inquiry-based learning in the PYP: discussion and exploration of concepts and issues in groups, linked to projects and units of inquiry that children were working on.
o Researchers observed collaborative group work and children taking responsibility, showing care and respect for others.
o Researchers observed expression through the arts as an important focus of learning.
o PYP learning environments were found to be “rich and stimulating” and often made use of the natural environment for teaching and self-directed play.
• IB PYP students perform at or above literacy levels typically expected for their age groups: Researchers found that the average PYP six-year-old enrolled in one of the Singapore sample schools performed at Prep (5-6 years old) or Year 1 (6-7 years old) levels. PYP students enrolled in the sample schools in Australia, who averaged 5.5 years of age, performed at a pre-school (4-5 years old) or Prep level.
• IB students are significantly more likely to have high levels of “learning skills”. When compared to a large sample of schools that were assessed by teachers in relation to children’s learning capabilities (e.g. work confidence, persistence, organization and work cooperation), PYP students in the sample schools were found to be significantly more likely to have high levels of learning skills.
o Findings indicated a strong play-based and inquiry-led framework within the PYP that appears to support the development of children’s learning skills.
o The PYP offered learning choices to children and a “sense of ownership” of their own learning.
• Parents of IB students are very positive about their children’s education: Overall, parents are satisfied with the personalized learning approach of the PYP and believe that the programme prepares their children for academic success.
• IB students are aware of their own learning and personal development: Children’s responses about their favourite activities from the two Singapore schools included learning activities and outdoor playtime. Researchers suggest that the PYP is supporting the acquisition of IB learner profile attributes and that children reflect an awareness of their own learning, particularly at one of the Singapore sites.
Find the full report, Early years education in the Primary Years Programme: Implementation strategies and programme outcomes online, along with a research summary of the report.