Back to Teaching & Learning: Unpacking the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program Learner Profiles with 5 & 6 Year Olds- ‘Open-minded’

The International Baccalaureate Learner Profile

Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, Reflective

Focus: Open-minded

“They understand and appreciate their own culture and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals, groups and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.” IB

Recently I teamed with our PYP coordinator to unpack the Learner Profile  Open-minded with my Prep students (5&6 Year Olds). My students are wonderful thinkers as a result of the IB – PYP program.  They will challenge ideas and seek clarification as our coordinator found out. They ‘dig deep’ and are not satisfied with superficial answers…and I love this!

Understanding what open- minded means is not easy. To ‘kick off’ the children’s thinking, we asked each child to say what they thought open-minded was – gathering their prior knowledge. What next?

To introduce our Learner Profile we use picture story books. We selected a number of books specifically about ‘imagination’ – opening the mind. The children loved these books and were starting to inquire further. One child shared his thoughts about a closed mind. Now we were really starting to get somewhere! Not giving answers is a key. The children need to form their understanding after a lot of discussion, thinking and questioning.

After each story the children form a ‘talking circle’ to share their thoughts. This is ‘formative assessment’ and helps guide our planning. Each child explains their ideas. New questions are asked as they continue to deepen their understanding.

The children were read Imagine A Place by Sarah L. Thomson and illustrated by Rob Gonsalves.  Reading a book once is not enough. We often read a book many times discussing the main idea, author’s intent, new vocabulary and carefully looking at the illustrations. We are mindful that these are young children building knowledge,  structuring and re-structuring their understanding, building new knowledge on existing knowledge.

We decided to make our own wonderful book. The children were given an opening phrase – Imagine a place… to scaffold their drawing and writing. They were asked to draw the picture they had of their amazing place in their imagination first. Opening their mind to all the possibilities! They then wrote about their picture starting with the phrase, Imagine a place….  I’ve included photos of my student’s writing and pictures below.

We also read a wonderful story about a young boy Ben who helps save whales beached in Western Australia. They discussed why Ben was open – minded and his actions that displayed this Learner Profile. My students are also being introduced to the attitudes and use these in context. Other Learner Profiles are discussed in relation to all stories. We constantly talk about the Learner Profile but focus deeply on one each week. This strategy is working for this group of children.

We read other stories during the week identifying the Learner Profiles and looking for characters that were open-minded.  It was great to team up with another teacher to un-pack this Learner Profile. We are also learners here!

Cheers Nina


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8 responses to “Back to Teaching & Learning: Unpacking the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program Learner Profiles with 5 & 6 Year Olds- ‘Open-minded’

  1. averil2

    Hi Sue,
    Leave in the UK, sounds great! I’m hoping the weather was kind. We’ve had so many wet-day lunch times this year which has been very hard on some of my more active children.
    I’ve nearly finished my 3rd year in Preps and I’m still standing and loving it. Someone asked me if I found it challenging enough – sure do! ‘Gotta’ laugh… My blog has suffered a little this year because I’ve been busy TPL – ing and have the ning going, but this is my favourite space, and as TPL is finishing up I’ll be spending a lot more time here. It’s great to hear that you’re going well and I love the idea of a Christmas toy. May need to think about this… great time of year! Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate them.
    Cheers Nina

  2. Sue

    Hi Nina,
    I have just returned from leave to the UK and must admit I did take a sneak peak at your blogs once or twice while there, just to keep up with what you are achieving with your Prep class. I just loved the toys idea and you have taken your concept to new heights this year. I experimented with your idea last year as the Preps designed a toy for a present for Christmas for special someone. It was a fantastic way to end the year and all children were engaged and enthusiastic about their special project. We also celebrated by sharing our finished toy as a presentation to parents and raised money for a christmas children’s charity. I am looking forward to trying it again this year too. I also love your ideas to develop ‘Open-mindedness’ too. Can’t wait to do a search of our library for ‘imagine’ books to try out your ideas. Thank you once again for continuing to share your ideas. You are an inspiration to our team. We love to read about your achievements, share your ideas and pass on your expertise to inspire others. Congratulations once again

  3. Maru

    looooove this posting…! I agree with the earlier comments.. 🙂

  4. The artwork is really cute and creative.

  5. Hi Nina

    It makes my heart sing to see literature being used so well!! Your students are really developing their thinking skills. Like you, I also love that they “dig deep” and are not happy with superficial answers. I’d love to read their whole book of “Imagine a Place”!!

    Kim 🙂

    • averil2

      Thank you, I really appreciate comments. I’m reading so many books to my students and they’re loving them. There have been many truly wonderful books carefully chosen to support our curriculum.
      They have made a really wonderful book for the classroom. I have to remember that these children are very young… but so capable!
      Cheers Nina
      This week our focus is Reflective!

  6. I love it, Nina. We were discussing today how picture books are a great starting point for getting kids to understand profiles, concepts and even the central idea sometimes!

    • averil2

      It was great to ‘team it’ with our PYP Coordinator. She really enjoyed herself and could see their journey. We’ve got some beautiful books – many international bought to match the Learner Profiles & attitudes. I’m reading so many books to my students and they’re loving it!
      Cheers Nina

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