Language development is an integral part of the primary years program (PYP). It allows students to:
- express identity,
- develop international mindedness,
- become literate, and
- become effective inquirers and communicators.
The term “language learning” does not simply mean the development of a second or third language, which in Discovery School’s case is Mandarin and Spanish. Language permeates all areas of the curriculum and as such is foundational to developing well-rounded students. Discovery School teachers plan for the language development of their students, through intentional, well-designed learning engagements throughout the curriculum. As part of our language community, all classes participate in regular Daily 5, literacy centers or reading/writers workshop. This learning about language assists students in discovering the form and function of language, including the conventions, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Learning through language takes place when students comprehend, synthesize, or evaluate information to further their understanding. Examples include writing research projects as part of units of inquiry, listening how to solve mathematical equations, or reading about a specific artist’s work and technique. Learning language takes place when students extend their understanding by learning new vocabulary or phrases in the language of instruction. The PYP shows the interconnectedness of these three sections, through the following diagram:
Given the foundational nature of language and its connection to each area of the learning community, all teachers in the PYP are considered language teachers, regardless of specialism or grade level. Parents too, have a vital role to play in our language learning community through supporting their children with their wonderings, discussing learning and providing opportunities to consolidate and extend language development.