Empowered students for a better world

In this article, it is delineated how the PYP philosophy of engaging learning experiences, effective assessment and meaningful actions represents power for better communities thanks to empowered students.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS NOT JUST FOR GROWN-UPS.

Given the transdisciplinary theme: “How we organize ourselves” and its central idea: “People create organizations to solve problems and support human endeavor” students from second grade were driven to recognize needs and problems from the world, especially from their communities. Thus, they undertook a conscious inquiry about the existing organizations, how they were created and how they are maintained today as successful companies that think about the common good.

Second grade children made an exhaustive inquiry, beginning with the companies in which their parents work. Through this investigation, they discovered that it is not easy to create a company, even less to consolidate it and to make it beneficial to society and helping to cover community needs. They realized that the work of their parents, regardless of the position, is important so that their organizations will move forward.

It is at this point where I want to highlight the understanding and entrepreneurship of a student, Julian. He is a highly creative and passionate for knowledge eight-year-old boy. In this unit he decided to come up with a business idea: he wanted to produce handmade books for children.

Julian started from a need that he identified in his educational community: to feed the love for reading. He wanted children to be able to easily find age-appropriate books, that were entertaining and colorful at the same time. He managed to connect this idea to the transdisciplinary theme and its concepts (Function, responsibility, organization and cooperation) since he knew that to create a book requires a variety of roles such as writer, editor, illustrator and publisher. In this case, as it was going to be his first book, he decided to take on all of them by himself; this is something that may change in the future, since he now wants to extend his idea to partners who may want to join him in this venture.

His first book is called “Cuyi: The dog of blue color.” It is a story about a crazy scientist, whose creativity has no limits. He designs a potion to change his dog’s fur color, but then he realizes the potion has a special secondary effect: the dog can now talk. It is a short and interesting tale that uses easy to read language and is full of drawings. He was inspired by the book we read throughout the unit: “Arthur’s Pet Business” by Marc Brown (1990).

Finally, it is important to say how proud a teacher feels when seeing these incredible connections and evidencing an enduring understanding. Julián showed he is a thinker, knowledgeable and inquirer, denoting great communication and thinking skills by spreading attitudes as creativity, enthusiasm and appreciation.

So, Juli: Congratulations for being an inspiration to others and showing us “Entrepreneurship is not just for grown-ups”, we can’t wait to read your next story. ☺ Remember, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney.

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Nancy Toro holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages – English, Italian and Portuguese – from Universidad EAN in Bogota (Colombia) and she recently began a master in Bilingual education from UNIR (La Rioja, Spain). Her courageous and open-minded spirit have opened to her the doors to accomplish great experiences as living in Heemestede, Noord-Holland in the Netherlands, by giving Spanish classes to a family of 5 members and receiving some Dutch lessons at the Taalhuis in Amsterdam too.  Nancy is a self-contained teacher in second grade at Gimnasio del Norte School in Bogota, Colombia at the moment and willing to create many other valuable experiences through the Primary Years Programme.

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