International Mindedness

Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals to Students

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Every year, we collaboratively review our school written curriculum based on the IB requirements. Reviewing the curriculum is related to Standard C2.9, which states that “the written curriculum is informed by current IB publications and is reviewed regularly to incorporate developments in the programme(s)”.

In doing the review this year, we made sure that the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are taught and addressed in our curriculum in addition to the IB Primary Years Programme and Indonesian national requirements.

The SDGs are “Global Goals” in which world leaders from 193 countries, including Indonesia, are committed to achieving by 2030.   The goals are inter-related and include eradicating poverty, hunger and inequality; taking action on climate change and the environment; improving access to health, education and clean water and sanitation; and building strong institutions and partnerships. Adopted in 2015, the SDGs are as follows:



Involved in our curriculum review were all our classroom and single-subject teachers as well as our co-teachers from early years and elementary. The outcome of our review revealed that all the 17 goals were already part of our early years and elementary written curriculum and we need to continue explicitly addressing them in our taught curriculum.

For the review, we identified the specific unit of inquiry linked to each goal. During our review, it was interesting that our physical education and dance teachers developed plans on how to teach the SDGs in their subjects across grade levels.

Teaching the SDGs to our students is connected to the IB mission statement of creating a “better and more peaceful world” and developing “internationally minded people”. It is  related to Standard C2.7, which states that “the written curriculum promotes student awareness of individual, local, national and world issues”. Likewise, it is linked to Standard C2.14b, which emphasizes that “teaching and learning empowers students to take self-initiated action as a result of the learning”.

Achieving the SDGs is not only the work of governments and non-governmental organizations. As educators, we need to do our part and also become globally competent.

By: Richel Langit-Dursin

Primary Years Programme coordinator

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, Jakarta



Celebrating International Mother Language Day

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 The person who knows only one language does not truly know that language”.  (Goethe)

The United Nations has declared February 21 as the Mother Language Day. It is the day that we celebrate our first language and culture. First language is considered the language that we are exposed to and speak since we were born.

We need to maintain and preserve our first language and culture as our cultural identity and to keep our emotional stability. Studies show that we will learn another language quickly if we maintain our proficiency in our first language. According to Jim Cummins (2001), children who continue to develop their abilities in two or more languages in their primary school years, will gain a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively. They have more practice in processing language and they are able to compare and contrast in the ways how their two languages work.

To celebrate the event, the PYP Indonesian Language Department at BINUS SCHOOL Simprug organized an assembly, titled “International Mother Language Assembly” last February 21. We had performances from a variety of languages and cultures. The performances included student presentations and performances in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, English, Hindi, Japanese and Korean.  There was also a national costume show representing different cultures. National costumes from Pakistan, Serbia, Kenya, Australia, India, Korean, China, Japan, Indonesia, France, and Singapore were shown during the assembly.

All PYP students were encouraged to speak in their mother tongue not only on that day but anytime they wish to.


By: Ratuu Harida

PYP Indonesian Department Head



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To fulfill the IB aim of developing internationally minded students and encouraging them to be more active, compassionate and lifelong learners, it is crucial to set placed and integrate the learner profiles attribute in their daily activities right from the beginning of the school year.

My second graders were learning about ‘Role Models’. As they gained the understanding on the definition of ‘Role Model’, most of them turned to their closest ties, mother or father as their role model. When they explored further to the inquiries, they came up with both the positive traits and negative traits of several public figures they had previously known. They drew up their own conclusion of which traits to be and which are not to be followed. To expand their experience on what other people thought, Grade 2 students had an interview with the fifth graders to find out who their role models are. Through their activity reflections, I could see that interaction with the older grades was very exciting!

As part of their formative assessment, I designed a writing assignment where they could put themselves into one of the most powerful position in the world, a President! They had to come up with ‘President’s working programs’ and had to explain which learner profiles they had to perform to make the program worked.

The snapshots below are some of their ideas. Very interesting indeed!


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Ms. Yuliana Ratna Dilyanti

Homeroom Teacher Grade 2


Transdisciplinary Learning in Early Childhood – contributing to international-mindedness

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Leading up to our Unity in Diversity Day and as a part of our yearlong Who we are unit of inquiry; our current inquiry into How we organize ourselves; and our language focus Writing to Instruct/Explain, we read Jon J Muth’s version of Stone Soup. This is a story about three monks who try to understand what makes one happy. During their journey, they visit a village with frightened villagers, who keep their doors and windows locked. When they cleverly entice the villagers with making soup from stones, the villagers discover how much they each have to share and what they can gain in return. The story ends with a big feast and offering the strangers a place to sleep.

Our initial reading session focused on creating curiosity about the story (and print in general); using  illustrations to  predict  and  respond to  the  story;  making links  to  the  students’ own experiences; the structure of the story (how information is presented); the information shared (e.g. how to make Stone Soup); and the big question ‘What makes one happy?’ BIS 1.png

In order to address our inquiry into how information can be gathered and sorted and how it can be documented, we introduced a new graphic organizer. We explained that T-charts can help us to examine two facets of the monks’ inquiry into what happiness is? The students were invited to use Post-it notes to brainstorm about happiness. They made ‘draft’ drawings and in a quick personal teacher-student interview, comments to these drawings were documented, before the students sorted them using the T-chart. The students had a lot of ideas about what makes them happy, e.g. “Thinking about school”; “Playing together” and “She is at the playground. She is so happy”. Although they concluded that there were less ideas posted about what doesn’t make them happy, they thought that these few thoughts matched their personal experiences very well, e.g. “She pushed the boy” and “Somebody doesn’t want to share”.

With the older students of this combined Early Childhood class (4-6 yr.), who stay after lunch, we read a much older version of Stone Soup by Ann McGovern. After revisiting the Chinese version we read in the morning, we compared the content of the story, the message and the symbols used by the illustrators. The students noticed the bright yellow color of the little girl’s dress versus the poor clothes of the young man. They compared the black cat with the black bird. And they thought that the young man had taken advantage of the old lady (old version), but that the monks had brought happiness by teaching how to share.

After reading these stories, the students initiated to use elements of the Chinese version of Stone Soup for their play. They collected stones from our Sensory Path and started a lovely cooperative play elaborating on the books’ ideas. Their play expressed the desire to make real Stone Soup.

Our upcoming Unity in Diversity Day, with a focus on Food Sustainability, offered an excellent opportunity to make this cooking activity a more meaningful experience while including all the Early Childhood students. As a provocation, we took all the food items from the home corner and asked the students to think of criteria to sort them. Two sorting circles were formed one for possible Stone Soup ingredients and one for ‘others’. The students were invited to think about ingredients they might be able to find at home and using this sorted ‘data’, the students created a visual reminder to take home. We discussed and compared the pros and cons of each student bringing something from home, which helped the students to understand sustainability. It was fantastic to observe how the students’ thinking  evolved  into thinking about  “pollution if  you  go  shopping  by  car”  and comparing it with more sustainable ideas like “you have to take your bicycle” (Dutch student) to “using an electric car”.

We invited the parents to collaborate by respecting the children’s thoughts re. shopping and our intention to focus on foodstuffs that do least harm to the planet. The children concluded that they should all “bring just a little bit” so there “we don’t waste food” and that “we need to share if a friend brings no food to wash and cut”.BIS 3.png

The morning of the Unity in Diversity Day, the students proudly presented their ingredients. After  the  flag  parade,  assembly  and  photo  shoot, we started  with  addressing the  expected learning outcomes for the actual cooking activity:

  • personal hygiene
  • fine motor skills
  • food choices can affect our health
  • cooperate with others (share and take turns)
  • celebrate the accomplishment of the group
  • understand the impact of their actions on the environment

We  labeled  the  ingredients  and  discussed  how  to wash  and cut  them. We  revisited  the instructions on how to cook Stone Soup and explained which areas to use for their cooking activities. We included the youngest Early Childhood students and together they created a very rich, sustainable Stone Soup which they ate together with their teachers.BIS 2.png

Here are some comments the EC3 students shared about our ‘sustainable’ community vegetable soup:

JA: “We made our own ‘to do’ list.”

All: “We made the soup together … EC1, EC2, EC3.” LE: “Eating together!”

CH: “Everybody (brought the ingredients).” LE: “We don’t get pollution!”

JO: “It was fun, we could cut our own food.”

JA: “It makes us happy, because it is so yummy when you make it together.” LE: “Happy, because your heart is GOOD!”

LE: “IF you go to the shopping (mall), the smoke (of the care) is not good for your heart or your body.”

JA: “Or you can go on your bike.”

LE: “If you want to go shopping, you need an electric car … no pollution!”


Nicolette Brata-Coolen MA Childhood Studies & Early Years

SENCO & PYP Early Childhood Teacher

Bandung Independent School

Celebration of Unity in Diversity

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The world celebrates “United Nations Day” every October 24 to honor the commendable work done by the United Nations. This day is also celebrated as Internationalism Day. All over the world, several organisations, especially schools, use this opportunity to spread the message of peace, harmony and unity in diversity.

We, at BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, also commemorated this special event with a week-long celebration. Our PYP students celebrated Literacy and Internationalism Week from October 28 to November 4. The various activities which were planned for this event  promoted both literacy and international-mindedness.

Our week started with an ‘around the world display’. Each grade level were assigned a region. Each class then chose a country from that region and decorated their door and outside display boards. Artifacts, clothes, flags, information about that country, etc. were used as displays and on one chosen day, all PYP students were encouraged to visit the other grade levels to learn about different countries and cultures. This was also the day when our parents generously provided us with country-specific finger food. What a day of fun and festivities it was!

The first day of this week-long event saw a Costume Parade. All our students dressed up in different national costumes. This event took place in each grade level, and  students, as expected, shared interesting information about their chosen costume.

The next day saw several different activities. Grades 1-3 had mural painting, t-shirt painting and banner making with the theme, ‘One World’. Grades 4-5 students wrote free verse poems on the same theme.

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November 1 was a day dedicated to promoting literacy. Our EY students started the day with ‘buddy reading’ with their Grade 5 brothers and sisters. Grade 1 students did buddy reading among their four classes. Grades 2 and 3 had a storytelling competition. Two students per class in Grades 2 and 3 participated in the storytelling with their stories from around the world.  Grades 4 and 5 had a poster-making competition with the theme ‘Unity in Diversity’.

Mid-week saw our weekly PYP assembly when we honoured the winners of the various activities. Winners for the best class display were announced during the assembly, which ended with a song rendered by our dear teachers and dedicated to our students.

November 3 was our chosen day to visit the various country displays. Several students and teachers had dressed up in the national costume of their country or the colours of its flag. The hours of the day went fast as we all were busy visiting countries, appreciating different cultures and sampling delicious food. Our Grade 1 teachers were innovative and prepared ‘passports’ for their students who went to several countries and got their passports stamped.

The finale of this weeklong celebration was storytelling by parents – mothers and fathers from the early years and elementary. In the past, we have had our parents volunteering as storytellers. However, this time it was different. It had to be. After all, we were celebrating Internationalism Week. We had storytelling by parents not just in Bahasa Indonesia and English but in five more languages representing the mother tongues of our diverse student population. We had storytelling in Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Korean and French. This activity gave us an opportunity to promote the use of our students’ mother tongue. Our enthusiastic parents had prepared slide presentations, came dressed in costumes and brought along props to fully engage our young listeners. Kudos to our volunteer moms and dads!

The event was a huge success. The entire PYP team geared up and worked extremely hard for the entire week – planning, preparing, conducting, and celebrating all the activities. The positive feedback this event has received has ensured it will now become a part of our school’s annual calendar.

By: Priyanka Patni

Grade 3 Level Head and Class Teacher


Bringing Literacy and Internationalism to Young Minds

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We celebrated “Literacy and Internationalism Week” at our school from October 28 to November 4, 2016. The event involved parents, teachers, and students in the learning process as a whole school community. As the youngest students in the whole school, our Early Years 1 students also participated in this event. This year, every class represented a different country. Our EY 1 class represented Mexico.

We shared our own excitement about the event to show that it was not just a regular event. This helped our three to four year old students understand more about internationalism.

A week before the celebrations, we talked to the students about Mexico and the different things that represent the country. Together with their parents, students made objects representing Mexico, such as maracas, banderitas, pop-up cactus, small Mexican flags, and paper moustaches. The students also brought from home Mexican items such as rosaries, a guitar, and tortillas. The artifacts were displayed in front of our class door together with some other Mexican decorations that we made in class.

Talking about Mexican food with the children Our Mexican displays in front of our class

Surprisingly, our Mexican display always caught the attention of our students and sparked their curiosity every time they entered the class. Right there and then, their learning was triggered and they became so interested, they wanted to learn more about Mexico.

Throughout the week, the students were engaged with different activities about Mexico. They enjoyed learning facts about Mexico, including the flag of Mexico, Mexican clothes, animals and plants found in Mexico, and famous food from Mexico. They made Mexican flags, cut pictures of Mexican animals, food, and clothes, made maracas, completed puzzles of sombreros and the Mexican flag, and tasted different food from Mexico and other countries.

The students also learned a Mexican song titled “La Cucaracha”. They all danced and had a lot of fun singing the song together. They also took part in a costume parade and strutted and sashayed their outfits in front of the judges. As the closing to this event, all Early Years students had fun playing with a piñata.  



Although the event is over, the students still remember the activities and things they learned about Mexico. They keep talking about our “Literacy and Internationalism Week”. As a student-initiated action, one child created her own lyrics to the tune of “La Cucaracha”. Some children have mentioned the Mexican creatures when they played with their toy animals. Others talked about outfits representing different countries when they saw pictures taken during the costume parade. The students also could remember the winners of the activities we had during the celebration week.

The activities we conducted during our “Literacy and Internationalism Week” nurtured the curiosity of our children and allowed them explore various countries, becoming more open-minded towards different cultures in the world.

By: Geertruida Maya and Atika Priska Gunawan

Early Years 1 Teachers

BINUS SCHOOL Simprug and

Food Tasting!

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In Indonesian studies class, Grade 2 students learned about coconut properties and their use in Indonesia as a connection to the unit, ‘How the World Works’ .

Coconut, as a connection to properties of materials, was chosen because Indonesians use all the parts of the coconut (from the root to the leaves) in cooking, as housing materials, musical instruments, decorations, medicine, etc.

As a part of our inquiry and as an opportunity to show our understanding, we invited the Bandung Independent School community to our Indonesian studies session on Tuesday 15th November.

This is the food made of coconut leaves for the ‘ketupat’ and the soup was made with coconut milk.


Joshua is showing his mum how to create decorations from the coconut leaves.


In Indonesian language class, Grade 2 students made connections to procedural texts by learning how to cook ‘Kue Bandros’. The meals were made from grated coconut and coconut milk, along with some other ingredients. Oliver and Joshua had an opportunity to explain their learning in Indonesian. They shared their insights with the parents and explained how they worked on these materials, used tools for cooking and the procedures of the cooking method.


We also invited Mr. Brooks, our Head of school, to taste some of the food and, of course, to see how Grade 2 students shared their learning and understanding.