An Overview of our Academic programs
YIS is truly an exciting school to be involved with as it continues to meet the challenges of the 21st century. At the heart of our mission, values and aims are the welfare and education of all our students. We strive to remain at the cutting edge of new educational developments while at the same time maintaining a caring and nurturing environment for all our learners and teachers. Closely aligned to and interwoven in our mission and vision is our curriculum, the tool that propagates the ‘who’ (our students), the ‘what’ (our standards and benchmarks), the ‘why’ (our mission and philosophy), the ‘how’ (our management, leadership, culture, teachers and resources) and the ‘whether’ (the direction our students pursue through a clearly articulated assessment structure, and what we want our students to reach and become).
We pride ourselves in the academic programs we offer at YIS, providing a source ‘for’ and ‘of’ learning from our Early Learning Center right through to grade 12, with a focus on concepts, skills and processes. Through the programs of the International Baccalaureate and the IB Learner Profile, it is hoped our students will become at ease with the world they live in and develop into internationally-minded, global citizens so important in our societies and cultures. To help our students aspire to these hopes, dreams and dispositions, we offer a vast array of opportunities at YIS through the written, taught and assessed curricula, as well as from our wide range of activities and outreach programs both locally and globally, and culminating in the IB Diploma and our enterprising new Global Citizen Diploma.
Our Academic Programs
IB Primary Years Program and Reggio Emilia Approach
In 2000 YIS became the first school in Japan to adopt the Reggio Emilia approach for early learners. This innovative approach to education is based on the principles that children must have some control over the direction of their learning, enjoy opportunities to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing, have opportunities to explore material items in the world and form friendships with other children, and be provided with endless ways and opportunities to express themselves. The Reggio Emilia approach is set within the framework of the Primary Years Program (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate, which is introduced in our ELC and continues through our elementary school.
IB Primary Years Program
In 2001 YIS became the first school in Japan authorized to offer the Primary Years Program. The PYP provides a framework through which we promote the integration of essential skills, values and attitudes across all curriculum areas while challenging students to become active and thoughtful inquirers about the world in which they live. The six themes of global significance (who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organize ourselves, and sharing the planet) create a transdisciplinary framework that allows students to move beyond the confines of learning within narrowly defined subject areas. Through this thematic approach built into planned units, students experience the rigors of in-depth inquiry and investigations.
IB Middle Years Program: Grades 6-10
In the 2010-11 school year we began implementing the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) to our grade 6 students. The phased implementation of the MYP has been continuing a grade level each year and we will reach full implementation across grades 6 – 10 in the 2014-15 academic year. During this process, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is being phased out and the current 2013-2014 school year is the last for students to have the option of taking these external examinations.
From the IB website:
The IB Middle Years Program, for students aged 11 to 16, provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. The program consists of eight subject groups integrated through five areas of interaction that provide a framework for learning within and across the subjects. Students are required to study their mother tongue, a second language, humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education and technology. In the final year of the program, students also engage in a personal project, which allows them to demonstrate the understandings and skills they have developed throughout the program.
The objectives of MYP subject groups encompass the factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive dimensions of knowledge. Through a conceptually based and contextualized framework, students learn ‘how to learn’ at the same time developing their thinking, research, self-management, social and communication skills.
IB Diploma Program: Grades 11-12
The IB Diploma Program in grades 11 and 12 provides not only rigor and challenge, but depth, breadth and variety across all disciplines.
From the IB website:
The IB Diploma Program is designed as an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepares students, normally aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. The program is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities. IB Diploma Program students study six courses at higher level or standard level. Students must choose one subject from each of groups 1 to 5, thus ensuring breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen from group 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1 to 5. In addition the program has three core requirements that are included to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding. The extended essay is a requirement for students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjects they are studying. Theory of knowledge is a course designed to encourage each student to reflect on the nature of knowledge by critically examining different ways of knowing (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge (scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical). Creativity, action, service requires that students actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. Students can combine all three components or do activities related to each one of them separately.
YIS offers a long list of subjects to choose from at the IBDP level and continues to be a leading school in offering IBDP online courses. Pamoja Education (online provider based in Oxford UK) delivers the following approved IBDP courses; ITGS (Information Technology in a Global Society), Business and Management, Psychology, Economics, Spanish, Philosophy, Mandarin and Film. YIS will facilitate this provision using its own Site-Based Coordinator (http://www.pamojaeducation.com.)
I extend a very warm welcome to all current YIS families as well as visitors to the website. It is my sincere wish that the learning experience for students at YIS will remain effective, authentic, inventive and thought provoking throughout their school years.
Dennis Stanworth (M.A. Int. Ed.)
Head of Academics