Last year, our staff embarked on a new format to inform parents of how the PYP lives at PWE. As Jen Friske, last year’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) coordinator mentioned in her post from last year’s ignite event, the premise behind our idea is “where small groups of teachers would talk for 10 minutes on a specific element of the programme, so parents would get a snippet of information, and then hopefully have their curiosity sparked in order to come learn more, or engage in further conversation with our staff either right after the event, or moving forward into the school year.” We decided that we wanted to follow the same format and idea – have teachers share their passion and interests related to the PYP and PWE. At our planning session we asked teachers “Through a PYP lens, what should parents know about PWE?” Much to the credit of our staff, we had another 95% turnout to help out in some capacity – leading sessions, helping in the background of setup and logistics, providing activities and supervision for the Grade 5 students who helped babysit any children that came with their parents.
Similar to last year, we had approximately 70 parents RSVP before the event. And similar to last year, we had only 20-25 parents attend the evening. Again, similar to last year, we still view this as a success because there were no repeat parents from last year. Which means, we’ve accounted for almost 50 of our student’s parents over the last two years! A modest success since we had never attracted more than 20 parents in one session before we started hosting Ignite nights. We definitely know we can improve on that number and based on the feedback from both of the last two Ignite nights, the parents that came are always so positive about their experience and learning.
Another success can be the view that we have such incredible staff buy-in. From the multitude of teachers taking time to plan during the dreadful month of September – amidst connecting with their new students, adjusting to new formats of student documentation and parent communication, and all the jazz that accompanies busy Septembers – our Ignite nights are a true testament to how much our staff wants to share what amazing experiences we provide at our school. Additionally, all 4 new staff additions to PWE participated in the evening, either helping another teacher in a session or as avid learners new to the PYP. Not to mention the hidden fact that most of these teachers DREAD speaking in front of adults (as most of us might). But in true PYP fashion, they were incredible risk-takers to confidently share what they’re passionate about in an enthusiastic manner! Such great role-models for their students!
As interest in these nights increase, one constant question that we have had at both events is “What happens after the PYP?” While we don’t have an extension of the IB in our division in the form of MYP (yet?), we take this as a testament that parents are enthusiastic and appreciative of what we do to engage their children in learning experiences at PWE through an IB lens. It is hoped that they see the value in our sessions that teachers shared – Building curiosity through inquiry, Social media enhancing global connections; Community engagement and partnerships – creating service-orientated, action minded citizens; Focussing on the whole child; International Mindedness: what is it and why is it important?; A glimpse into your child’s learning: Portal and ePortfolios; The culmination of the PYP: The Exhibition.
Although we didn’t have a dance party a la last year, we decided to channel our inner kid and Pop-see-ko! Parents at PWE are excellent participants!