Welcome Back to the best little school on Earth!
I am excited to be back at Cypress Park after four years as an Adjunct Teaching Professor working with teacher candidates in the Faculty of Education at UBC. Being part of the team that brought IB to the university level was an incredible experience. I am proud to say that UBC is now the first university in Canada to offer an IB educator track within its teacher education program. Leading the cohort, building the PYP program, and impacting close to 100 brand new teachers was a true privilege. But, perhaps my biggest take away was my own professional growth.
While immensely rewarding, this experience showed me the importance of passing on one’s passion, not only for the benefit of others (in my case it was the next generation of teachers and their students) but also, for one’s personal growth as a learner. Talking about what you love and teaching it to others strengthens your own learning, confirms and challenges your beliefs, and promotes self-confidence. It sharpens your lens, enhances your focus, and enables you to see what is really important.
Within an IB framework, we know that Communication Skills are key. The new curriculum also reflects this importance in the Core Competency of Communication in which students connect and engage with others to share and develop ideas and acquire, interpret and present information. As we prepare students to succeed in an ever changing world, we know that their ability to talk about their learning from different perspectives, collaborate with others to grow their thinking, grapple with challenges, and reflect upon their progress is integral to their success. Let’s encourage our students to do just this as they pursue their own personal inquiries and take hold of their education! Let’s give them the gift of being responsible and accountable for their own learning. Putting students in the driver’s seat empowers them to take charge; to think, to learn, and to dream. It develops the Learner Profile attributes of Thinker, Inquirer and Risk-taker and grows the attitudes of Independence, Confidence, and Creativity.
On May 10 at the Kay Meek Theater, Yong Zhao, author of the book, World Class Learners, shared his thinking with the West Vancouver learning community of parents and educators and stressed the importance of making learning personal, authentic, and grounded in real world connections. He talked about giving children the opportunity to build, develop, and imagine. As I listened, I couldn’t help but think about our PYP program here at Cypress Park and how we work towards offering such learning possibilities for our students both in the classroom, the wider community, and in the global context through student-initiated action. We need to do more of this; we need to encourage our children to talk about their ideas, imagine, and create new possibilities.
So, as we begin a new school year, I am excited to pass on this passion to our students; to encourage them to become confident Communicators, critical Thinkers, and enthusiastic Risk-takers ready to take on the world. Let’s make it real. Let’s make it connected and most of all, let’s make it fun! It is going to be a great year ahead Cypress Park – I can hardly wait!
I look forward to seeing our students in Grades 1-3 back on Tuesday, September 6 and to welcoming our new Kindergarten students on Wednesday, Sept .7.