DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING CORNERS

Early Years and Kinder Garden Classrooms have been re-structured.

PYP pupils at Princess Margaret International School are the agents of their own learning.

At Princess Margaret International School, the 2021 Academic year has started with a change in the Early Years stage. Classrooms have been reconfigured and aligned with the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, with a new proposal of learning corners in the room to respond to each child’s learning needs and interests.

Classrooms have been transformed into stimulating environments divided into different learning corners to embrace independent exploration and freedom of movement and choice. As IB students, children should be open-minded and free to take action and make decisions to choose. The presence of tables is now much more dynamic, allowing teachers to set different activities depending on each area's objectives. 

Each learning corner responds to different areas of knowledge. As inquisitive PYP inquirers, the students are always aware of every area’s purpose and recognize the various tasks or games proposed in each corner at all times. Children have the opportunity to experience different activities in every corner to extend the knowledge acquired during class discussion and taught through the teacher’s explanation. Every corner is a meaningful and contextual task that allows the child to master and grasp the contents of knowledge they are working on in their units of inquiry. 

There are four bare learning corners in each class: the Numeracy area where there are activities about numbers, logic and reasoning, equivalent to a mathematics corner; a site focused on reading and writing, equal to a language corner; a creative area with a wide range of artistic materials to manipulate and use, equivalent to an arts and crafts corner; and a symbolic play corner, which activities related to the unit of inquiry are proposed. 

Every area will be transformed throughout the year, depending on the objectives of each session. The students will be active agents in these changes, as teachers will modify them based on observing the children taking action in their corner exploration time. Before and after this exploration, children will always have a guided class discussions time with the teacher. They will contribute with their ideas, reflect on their successes and mistakes, become aware of their own learning, and have agency in their actions. The teacher will constantly observe, listen, and question to push their thinking forward. This communicative methodology will allow teachers to know the next learning steps to modify and upgrade the different corners. These changes in the other areas will always be further each year. They will always be according to the specific children’s interests and curiosities that arise in group discussions and during day-to-day inquiries. 

Princess Margaret International School provides classroom experiences that encourage students to acquire the IB learning profile attributes daily: Principled, Thinkers, Caring, Knowledgeable, Inquirers, Reflective, Balanced and above all, open-minded. When students enter the classroom, they face different learning challenges to explore and achieve an objective in their way. 

This dynamic methodology ensures that children develop self-management and spatial awareness skills and become responsible for their classroom. Children learn to investigate and think critically when they are looking for solutions in different areas. They share ideas with their peers and acquire social and communication skills to agree and work together to achieve the other corners' objectives. 

In front of each proposal, students open their minds and learn to appreciate different ways of facing challenges. They learn to reflect together and build knowledge collaboratively. Teachers create situations where the children need to apply the knowledge learned previously and demonstrate that they have fully understood the academic contents being taught. Children then realize what they know and what they need to improve. After this exploration time, there is a class plenary where teachers encourage children to talk about what they have learnt, and as a group, they make commitments to get to their new objectives. Being aware of their skills and needs will help them undertake their actions and empower themselves, gaining self-knowledge and contributing to positive self-esteem.

 

Carma Ayuso Clemente
Community & Admissions Team