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This is the VOA Special English Education Report. The International Primary Curriculum is an idea that began in Britain eight years ago. Today this curriculum is taught in more than one thousand primary schools in fifty-eight countries, including the United States.
Educator Martin Skelton co-wrote the International Primary Curriculum, or IPC.He says for children to learn and succeed, they need a program that permits themto learn individually.
MARTIN SKELTON: "Our view is the teachers should be thinking about theirkids in their class and why they are not learning and trying to work out whatthey are going to be doing tomorrow to help individual kids learn muchbetter."
He says the idea with the curriculum is to help today's children become goodcitizens of the world and twenty-first century leaders.
MARTIN SKELTON: "Most world problems are going to be solvedinternationally now. I mean no single country is going to solve the environmentor terrorism. It's a multi-cooperational activity."
Mr. Skelton says the curriculum has activities built around the development of "international mindedness" starting from the age of five.
MARTIN SKELTON: "We encourage the kids to make links with schools inother countries, and then of course things like Skype now make thatfantastically easy to do."
The British American School of Los Angeles is one of a few American privateschools that teach the International Primary Curriculum. Second grade teacherAlison Kerr says the main goal is to engage children in the learning process.This term, for example, her class is learning about people important in history.
ALLISON KERR: "I got the children to come in secret and dress up with several clues of a famous person. They had to research and bring us ten written clues and the rest of the class had to guess who these significant people were. So the children do not simply just do the same worksheet type of format every single time."
The British School in Boston held a fair for students and parents called Around the World in a Day. Emma Northey, head of primary learning at the school, says fifty-one nationalities were represented. She described one activity designed to teach about similarities between different cultures.
EMMA NORTHEY: "The children were each given a passport. They basicallyknew that they were going around the world in a day and we said to them 'Youhave to come back with two similarities that you had seen between the differentcultures.' Even the three-year-olds came back to me saying 'Gosh, you knoweverybody writes. Some people write going down. Some people write from left toright, some from right to left.'"
Another educator, Kate Foy of the British School in Washington, says the teacher's role is to enable students to discover for themselves.
KATE FOY: "And you kind of have to sit back a little bit. You have tomake sure you're asking the right questions. You maneuver yourself around theclassroom and enable the children to learn as opposed to telling them."
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. Tell us if you haveexperience with the International Primary Curriculum and what you think of it.Share your comments at voaspecialenglish.com or on Facebook and Twitter at VOALearning English. You can also find captioned videos of our reports at the VOALearning English channel on YouTube. I'm Steve Ember.