Primary (Grades K-5)
The Meridian Primary School (K-5) is committed to a curriculum which best supports the practices and philosophy of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB-PYP). Inquiry is the foundation of the approach to teaching and learning. Students are invited to investigate important subject matter by formulating their own questions, looking at the various means available to answer the questions and engaging in activities designed by the teacher to include research, experimentation, observation and other means that will lead them to their own responses to the issues. In the classroom, teachers identify the students’ current knowledge, provide appropriate experiences, assess their learning and begin the cycle anew to extend mastery.
The preceding paragraph comes from Meridian’s charter. Following the intent of the Founders, the Meridian Primary School works diligently to combine the state requirements of a public school, with the program fidelity of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). Instruction in the primary classroom revolves around four-six week unit planners under the six IB-PYP transdisciplinary themes. The themes place the subject matter within contexts that are important and give it meaning, providing a balance between learning about, through and even beyond the subject area. They create a transdiciplinary framework that takes a student beyond the limitations of subject area learning. Each planner includes study of science, social studies, language arts and math. All instruction is organized around the required state objectives (TEKS), but classrooms work to extend the learning beyond the basics through inquiry and transdisciplinary skills.
In addition, Meridian teaches reading through a balanced literacy program, without the use of traditional textbooks and workbooks/worksheets. Students’ reading levels are assessed using the Fountas & Pinnell system to identify word identification skills, factual and higher level comprehension abilities, and fluency. Students read in books corresponding to their identified instructional level, participating in individual reading, reading groups, literature circles, novel studies, etc., depending on grade level. Programs such as The Daily Five, Words Their Way, and others are incorporated into the language learning, and most activities connect to the grade levels’ planners.
EveryDay Math is the basis for our mathematics program – with students being pretested on individual math concepts to determine remediation and extension needs. Meridian’s program is not one of acceleration for high level learners, but one of extension with menu options for student projects and learning beyond the concept. The goal of our math program is to make sure that all foundational elements are secure before leaving the primary school.
While some science curriculum is taught in isolation in the classrooms, most science and social studies concepts are connected to the grade level’s PYP planners and lead to depth and complexity within discussion. Students are encouraged to use inquiry and questioning to go much deeper in thought and product than a regular textbook/workbook/worksheet approach would allow.
Elements of the IB are infused within the school’s curriculum – including the foundational student Attitudes; the understanding and correct use of the Learner Profile attributes; learning levels of questioning and inquiry through the Key Concepts; going in-depth with several areas through the Approaches to Learning/Transdisciplinary Skills; and learning how to connect through Action, which is the precursor to the Service Learning required in the middle years and diploma programs – grades 7-12. Learn more about primary curriculum by reading about the Primary Years Program under the International Baccalaureate tab on this website.
An additional component of the Primary School program is student led conferences. These conferences take place twice per year, once per semester, and give students the opportunity to discuss with their parents the goals they have in their education, what they feel they are doing well and what areas they are trying to get better in. Students use their I. B. portfolios to showcase this information to parents – the portfolios contain a combination of reflections on the learner profile for every quarter they complete at Meridian, student work samples, and formative and summative assessments. Students in grades K-6 participate - and younger students do an exceptional job of talking about their work! This becomes just a part of the process as they move from year to year at Meridian. Parents can always schedule teacher conferences as well, but student conferences are special and we hope that parents both learn from and cherish these events.
Current parents Only: Don’t forget to read the Primary Pride issues each Tuesday. These go out via email once per week. Much of the curriculum work information and announcements are contained in these issues. If you are not receiving them, please contact the registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. This contact is our avenue for providing current and important dates and information to you!