By: Adrian Allan

As you are aware Harrisburg Academy became a Primary Years Programme (PYP) candidate school last year.  A recent study of schools in California that have adopted the PYP has shown the program not only enhances the way students learn but also improves the school’s climate.  School climate refers to the ways in which a school fosters safety, promotes a supportive academic, disciplinary and physical environment, and encourages and maintains respectful, trusting and caring relationships throughout the school community.  The orientation and associated resources of PYP emphasize an approach to learning, student support, staff support, and community building, all of which align to strengthen a school’s climate. (National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments 2019)

In the study, PYP schools showed an increased focus on social and emotional learning and the whole child, the use of transdisciplinary instruction, and teacher collaboration.  Schools involved in the study also reported improvements in the quality of the student’s voice in the classroom, individualized instruction, student-driven community service, student agency and ownership of learning, teacher creativity and engagement, and parent involvement and belief that their children were set up for success.

On school climate change, the study found that PYP participation produced statistically significant improvements in the following areas: perceived safety, caring relationships, fairness, parent involvement, and bullying and victimization.

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