The Misk curriculum is inspired by the International Baccalaureate® (IB) — one of the world’s highest quality education programs whose philosophy and methodology is anchored in progressive pedagogy. It takes the best elements of this framework and builds on them by connecting Misk resources and world class specialists to enrich the experiences that the students have inside and outside the classroom. When students have access to experts to guide them in hands-on experiences, their learning is deeper and they take more joy in the process.
The IB’s Primary Years Program (PYP) framework that Misk follows is organized into Units of Inquiry. These units explore some of the most meaningful issues of our time, relating to who we are, how we organize ourselves, and how the world works. Misk uses this same inquiry approach to learning. This means that teachers don’t spend their time delivering content to passive students. Instead both teachers and pupils pose open-ended questions that challenge deeper thinking, providing learners with the opportunity to solve complex problems themselves, developing inquisitiveness, resilience, and teamwork.
Every unit is designed to show the connections between the different disciplines. Students still develop their writing skills, develop numeracy, and learn about concepts of art, but they do so by tackling complex problems that require innovative solutions. By exploring questions such, “How do we design a transportation system that is both beautiful and efficient?” or “How can we prepare meals that are both nutritious and bring together the community?” students understand that it takes multiple perspectives to grapple with the real world problems of tomorrow.
Misk will continue to perfect its curriculum to ensure that it meets the needs of the children who will be Saudi Arabia’s leaders of tomorrow. As the school develops, the curriculum will become an authentic curriculum like nowhere else in the world, one with a framework optimized for the country’s particular context as well as that of the students. With low teacher to student ratios, Misk’s curriculum will continue to allow students to explore their passions and interests by blending a cutting-edge pedagogical approach with opportunities for each student to take access world class resources, guided by teachers who understand the students’ strengths and areas for development.
Saudi Identity Subjects Curriculum
Saudi Identity subjects are essential parts of Misk school’s educational program. They contribute to the achievement of the educational policy of KSA by strengthening the Islamic faith in the hearts of students, ensuring their mastery of their mother tongue, informing them of their rich history and linking them to their culture, instilling Saudi national identity in their hearts, and promoting local as well as international citizenship values in them so they become aware of who they are as Saudis and as global citizens.
The school has its own Saudi Identity subjects’ curriculum, which includes Islamic education, Arabic language and social studies (history-geography-national education).
The curriculum is developed based on the best theories and practices in the field of learning and teaching, and the content is organized according to the standards-based approach. These curriculum standards are developed based on the school’s vision and mission in connection with the specialized content and on the Misk school’s graduate profile supporting creativity and innovation, fulfilling students’ needs, aspirations and talents, and achieving their overall growth in their spiritual, ethical, cognitive, artistic, social and emotional aspects. The content is carefully selected to cover the most important concepts and skills of the specialized subject content, which help students to reach mastery of knowledge and skills and have the tools to be lifelong learners.
The Misk curriculum gives teachers the space to design their units according to the scope & sequence and the curriculum standards using backward design. They use diverse students’ centered learning strategies and methods that offer students opportunities for creativity and innovation of which inquiry, experimental project-based learning and the use of technology are essential parts to ensure a focus on thinking skills as well as social real-life skills.
Misk School is a school with a strong Arabic and English curriculum that has been well supported for students of all age levels and expanded with extra learning activities to develop language skills effectively in both Arabic and English and ensure that all students can speak, learn, think and work with both languages.
The Misk Curriculum is designed around the belief that our children need to become multiliterate. We believe that the complexity of the future requires fluency in multiple areas of literacy, including mathematical, scientific, digital, historical, cultural, linguistic, ecological, wellness, and aesthetic literacies. This belief underlies and guides our holistic and integrative approach to learning.
Numeracy complements literacy and is sometimes called mathematical literacy. Both skills are needed to fully function in modern life. Being numerate means being able to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts and to apply these in a range of contexts and to solve a variety of problems. Math is taught experientially and wherever possible. The Misk Curriculum approaches math from the logic of shape, quantity, and arrangement. It teaches children how to think and see the world mathematically from the perspective that Math is all around us, in everything we do. It is the building block for everything in our daily lives, including mobile devices, architecture (ancient and modern), art, money, engineering, and even sports.
Language Arts Curriculum
Basic skills like phonemic awareness and spelling are addressed in early childhood so that children can apply them in widening areas of experience with increasing flexibility and confidence. In grades 2 and 3 students practice refining these skills as they study the arts and humanities including geography, history, science, music, visual arts and physical education. Students start to become independent and self-directed learners relating ideas to facts and literary forms and using them with increasing mastery of the basic skills they have acquired. There is an emphasis on learning about learning, a metacognitive awareness that we seek to instill in children. We do this in all content areas through journaling, conferencing with teachers, modeling reflective habits of thinking, emphasizing the problem-solving process, and cultivating complex questions. In the Lower School a major goal is to help each child develop skill and experience pleasure in reading and writing. To achieve this, all teachers are trained to be acute discerners of individual differences in rates of development and learning styles.
Misk Schools is building an approach to learning based on assessments that support learning, not merely test it. We embrace and emphasize from the earliest grades real-world applications and presentations to real audiences as assessments for learning. To paraphrase Harvard’s Tony Wagner, the assessment focus is no longer on what you know, but what you can do with what you know. Misk curriculum is grounded in the belief that learning is natural, self-directed, social, continuous, inquiry-based, and often serendipitous. Therefore, assessments are designed to allow students to learn about how they learn. Feedback, narratives, portfolios, exhibitions, demonstrations, and performances are some of the tools we use to give an authentic, balanced, and comprehensive view of learning. We seek ways of evaluating learning that amplify creativity and entrepreneurship, create a culture of collaboration, and measure what matters.
Curriculum, instruction, and learning are characterized by a learner-driven pedagogy. Under the umbrella of the Misk Advisory Program, students take the lead in defining their goals and ambitions with action plans. Their accountability for their learning is structured through weekly meetings with their advisor, daily entries in learning logs and student led conferences with parents and advisors, three times a year. Drawing on the action component of the PYP framework, multiple opportunities related in and out of school exist for young adolescents to pursue their passions and learn about the world through working on projects with real world problems. Progression into middle school includes planned and intentional learning experiences that entail collaboration, communication in a variety of media, self-direction and entrepreneurial activities. Embedded in the middle school curriculum are also the skills and dispositions enumerated in the graduate profile: communicating effectively, creative problem solving, building perseverance and determination, the capacity for handling problems and failure, managing time and personal goals, and the cultivation of global mindedness. Another central focus of the middle school curriculum is tapping into young people’s sense of agency and personal efficacy through learning experiences that scaffold and develop their leadership skills both in school and the larger community.
Finally, technology and the arts in the middle school curriculum become even more central as powerful tools and experiences, that enable students across content areas, to perform as creators, refining and expanding their capacity for self-expression and creative problem solving.