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Taking action vertically

This article highlights student involvement in showcasing action from kindergarten to grade 5, including the Primary Years Programme exhibition.  

Our school celebrated its first Action Day in April 2018, providing a real-world opportunity for our students to exhibit their action. The audience saw how students our PYP community prepared themselves to reflect, choose and act in becoming caring members of the society.

The school organized Action Day for all students from kindergarten to grade 5 (including the PYP exhibition) to showcase their learning in different units or talk about an issue they had researched within a unit of inquiry.

This day represented students’ innovative and prevailing understanding of the real world and its issues of global significance. This learning was an inquiry that started from a particular interest of their choice and stretched into real-world local and global issues, and was an opportunity for students to showcase their learning.

Students of upper primary engaged in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involved them in identifying and investigating real life issues or problems. They investigated issues like deforestation, discrimination, pollution, population, water as a resource and endangered species, and the ways these concerns impact human community.

The entire process integrated application of key questions posed by the students and supported them to use their knowledge from all the approaches to learning. The exhibition offered opportunities for students to display positive attitudes and the attributes of the learner profile. It paved way to engage students in positive action by connecting to prior learning and applying it to an unfamiliar situation, thus providing an appropriate environment for sympathizing around real world issues.

Flow of events

The event started with presentations for the school community in which the students manifested the skills, attitudes and attributes that they have imbibed throughout their learning. During the day, each grade level gave the synopsis of the issues they had chosen to inquire into through various performances and exhibits.

  • Grade 5 students explored two issues: gender discrimination and water as a resource. The team performed a dance showing the importance of women in society and asked the audience to take a pledge towards the safety of women in India. Later, they presented a movie that they had made which showcased the respect that should be given to all females. They also presented their findings about water usage and wastage within their school and provided a list of action items/suggestions to the management for reducing water usage with the campus.
  • Grade 4 began their exciting and challenging journey by talking about issues like pollution, population, endangered species and deforestation. Inquiring into such issues made them realize their rights and responsibilities, developed ethical understanding, and empowered them to become active citizens in the future.
  • Grade 3 researched diseases. They performed a street play showing their awareness about mental health issues and conveyed to the viewers the trials and tribulations faced by people with mental health concerns.
  • Grade 2 inquired into reduce, reuse and recycle. They performed a play to show the importance of conserving trees and danced to a song based on the theme “conserve the environment.”
  • Grade 1 performed a musical play about water. The play depicted the importance of water in our lives and gave a clear message that water should not be wasted and should be used wisely.
  • Kindergarten also had a role on this day. They decided to display their action by performing on different themes. Our nursery students danced to a song to show the importance of day and night in our lives and the need to wake up early. Kindergarten 1 students represented themselves dressed as different community helpers and demonstrated the respect to be given to these people. Kindergarten 2 performed a musical play to show the significance of plants in our lives. The message was clear – “We should save our plants”.

As part of their action, all students of the PYP—from nursery to grade 5—were working on sustainable practices to save our planet Earth and created many items from their Reduce, Reuse, Recycle campaign, which were sold to the parent/student community on this day. The proceeds from this sale were donated to charity.

Kapil Mehrotra is the Head of PYP at Sharanya Narayani International School (an IB candidate school). He has been associated with the programme for the past 16 years – previously a PYP teacher, Head of Academics and a Coordinator. He is passionate about the PYP and wants students to take meaningful action from their learning. He encourages teachers to develop professionally on the various aspects of the program and conducts in school training sessions for them from time to time on different modules. You can follow him on Twitter @MEHROTRAKAPIL.