Helping children’s development of inquiry skills

I love being a PYP teacher because for me inquiry is the natural way children learn. All young children love to ask questions. It’s one of the ways in which they make sense of the world and their place in it. These questions are also a powerful tool for educators to promote children’s thinking and learning. They exercise their sense of agency and develop valuable and complex problem-solving skills. When children are able to pose questions and investigate the answers, they feel in charge of their own learning. PYP as an inquiry-based approach to learning harness this spirit of investigation, creating an interesting, engaging and meaningful curriculum that uses children’s interests and questions as a starting point for holistic learning.

My job as a PYP Coordinator and teacher librarian entails many facets, but my primus imperative has always been, (and will always be), helping children’s develop their  inquiry skills. Within the PYP Curriculum model we support this with various ways:

PYP Curriculum Model

 

  • Providing opportunity to use inquiry skills in the exploration of materials and phenomena at first-hand.
  • Asking question that require the use of the skills (and allowing time for thinking and answering).
  • Providing opportunity for discussion in small groups and as a whole class.
  • Encouraging critical review of how activities have been carried out.
  • Providing access to the techniques needed for advancing skills.
  • Involving children in communicating in various forms and reflecting on their thinking.

How is this evident in a PYP Library and what is its relationship of homeroom Units of Inquiry you might ask?

Here at KIS we recognize that there are inquiry opportunities all around us. In the library, we plan for inquiry by providing provocations and artifacts for students to interact with. We use multimedia resources to engage students imagination and creativity

As we all agree that Media Literacy and Digital Literacy needs to be taught from early on, we also provide access to digital platforms as Kids A-Z, Seesaw, and others

We also regard computational thinking and digital storytelling to be valuable 21st Century skills now and in future. That’s why we introduce students to Cubetto, Sphero, Scratch Jr. and Scratch coding early on from EY.

These skills are developed together in the PYP under the heading of Approaches to Learning. They are an integrated part of transdisciplinary learning and understanding the world around us. An inquiry that is provoked and nurtured often leads to extended, ongoing investigations. Learning experiences that extend beyond one-off activities, that can be repeated or returned to, and that lend themselves to ongoing involvement, encourage deep learning and ultimately lead to action. Thus we need to facilitate learning by guided questions, challenges, and feedback. So that every learner has an opportunity to enhance and master their Social, Thinking, Self-Management, Communication, and Research Skills

Above all an inquiry means to me an opportunity to create a culture of investigation and active learning.

 

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