Keystone Magazine - Page 51

“One of the great things about the IPC units is that they are fully integrated.” Q: We understand that the IPC was designed to include unique units of study and a structure to allow for students to obtain sufficient knowledge while having fun during the process. Can you describe what the learning process is like for a student? A: Gary Bradshaw at Keystone’s Ladybug Day Q: What is the IPC? How did the IPC come about? A: The IPC was originally developed as the curriculum for Shell Oil schools. Shell is a multi-national petroleum company which had schools dotted all around the world in quite remote locations. These schools needed a curriculum that would meet the educational needs of children who came from a variety of different countries and educational settings. The curriculum changed and warped over time and eventually, due to its popularity with parents and teachers, there was this idea that it could go out and be marketed into the wider populace. This is what has happened. It is now in over 1500 different schools in 85 different countries and is currently one of the fastest growing international curriculums for primary aged students. Schools are attracted to the IPC because it is so adaptable, flexible, and student-focused. It is a wonderful curriculum to deliver because through it kids are passionate and excited about learning. They can genuinely relate to the topics and themes presented; such as structures and buildings, chocolate, dinosaurs, and rainforests. These are all things that kids can sink their teeth into. When you have a curriculum like the IPC that is only focused on learning it is difficult to go wrong. One of the great things about the IPC units is that they are fully integrated. You can deal with many of the subject domains within one unit. In the Chocolate unit for example you can look at the history: Where did chocolate come from? When did chocolate come to our country? You can look at geography: Where do cocoa beans grow? What part of the world? What kind of climate and weather is needed? Another important element of the IPC is this idea of home and host. For the chocolate unit, Beijing would act as the host. Do cocoa beans grow here in Beijing? Why not? What about in other locations around China or internationally? You can look at it from an artistic perspective: Kids will do art and design a chocolate wrapper. Why is chocolate designed in a certain way? Why is it not wrapped in plastic? Why is it wrapped in tin-foil? You can do Science experiments as well. You can look at it from a Language Arts perspective. You can make an advertisement: Kids can script an advertisement to present their chocolate bar. They can cook and make chocolate. So you have all of these different curriculum elements all looked at through the lens of chocolate. I had a wonderful teacher at my last school who did incredible things. For the survival unit, for example, one day when the kids arrived in the classroom she received a phone call saying there was a gas leak and all the kids had to quickly remove themselves from the classroom taking everything they needed with them. The kids were scared. They grabbed their stuff. The teacher took them to space at the other end of the campus and they stayed there for the entire day getting on with their studies as best they could. This was her entry into the survival unit. Talking with her later she said the kids were angry that they had be deceived but also said it was one of the best school days they had ever had. It was interesting to see just what the kids actually took with them in an emergency situation. I think there were three pencils between the whole class and one even took a chair! The IPC curriculum is empowering and lends itself to great opportunities for learning. 49