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Setting children up to flourish

When Vanessa Ellison was asked to jointly oversee ACG School Jakarta’s International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP), she welcomed the opportunity.


Not only is she an advocate of the curriculum as a highly qualified early childhood specialist – but also as a devoted mum.

“As a passionate kindergarten teacher, what I like most about the IBPYP is that students can learn and develop new skills, knowledge and conceptual understanding through hands-on, purposeful inquiry and investigation,” says Vanessa, ACG School Jakarta’s Senior Teacher for Early Learning.

“It encourages and gives opportunities for students to think creatively and work collaboratively in order to solve problems in different ways and across subjects and learning areas.”

The holistic, inquiry-based programme is delivered from Kindergarten through to Year 6, nurturing children’s natural curiosity and setting them up with the communication and socialisation skills needed for future learning success.

“Both my girls (aged 5 and 9) have been educated in the IBPYP at ACG and what stands out to me is how internationally minded they truly are, even at such a young age. Similarly, with my own students, they have this amazing way of being so welcoming, caring and accepting of others. I think because the IB Learner Profile attributes are at the heart of our curriculum, our students really do ‘live them’, in the way they think, act, talk and learn.”

And with a teaching career that spans 24 years and three different countries, Vanessa knows what she is talking about. In that time, she has taught all grade levels, and held a number of senior leadership roles including Literacy and Early Years Lead and Deputy Principal. These experiences have helped shape the kind of educator and leader she is today.

“For me it is all about relationship building. I love working in collaborative teams, sharing ideas, supporting, coaching and learning from one another. Throughout my teaching career I have had the privilege to work with outstanding, dedicated and passionate educators from all over the world and ACG School Jakarta is no different. I’m really excited about my next learning journey with such a wonderful team.”

But Vanessa believes it is not just her students and colleagues that make the Primary Years Programme so successful – it’s the parents too.

“I very much see parents as partners in their child’s learning journey, so I am looking forward to getting to know our ACG families even more, through community events, assemblies and parent workshops.

“Our priority as a school is to continue to build and grow in the direction we are heading; to truly inspire our learners to become confident, creative problem solvers and provide them with the opportunities to develop real-life skills through authentic and meaningful projects, created and led by the students themselves. As educators, it will be our job to facilitate this process so that students can achieve their project goals and empower them to put their ideas, thoughts and solutions into real-life action.”

This “real-life action” comes in many forms.  Not just through the school’s creative and innovative curriculum, but also by involving students in the decisions and planning that shape the future of ACG School Jakarta  itself.

Innovative new learning spaces like the multipurpose gym, Design and Technology Makerspace and the new music studio with ACG radio station are already inspiring students, and exciting plans are in the pipeline for revamps to the Kindergarten, outdoor spaces and classroom learning environments.

“Most importantly, we want our students to become a part of this process so that they can have a voice in how we grow and develop as a school,” adds Vanessa.

Now that is a truly holistic education.