The International Learning Group (ILG) School is situated in Kosovo, in the Balkan Region of Europe. It was founded in 2004 by a group of parents in Kosovo for humanitarian work after the war, looking to provide access to international education in English to their children. ILG School is now in its sixteenth year of operation and is spread across three buildings. With students from over 25 nationalities, ILG is the first IB World School in Kosovo and creates global citizens ready to lead the world to a better future.
As a school community new to the IB PYP curriculum, the International Learning Group was looking to improve collaboration for their teachers to develop a deeper understanding of PYP. Therefore, the team wanted to focus on establishing collaborative practices within its community, as well as find opportunities to collaborate with the global IB community. Rachel MacKinnon, the Executive Director at ILG shares, “One of the primary goals of our team was to become the very first IB World School in a country that is so young and dynamic. However, being the only candidate IB World School in Kosovo, we felt like we were working alone and were missing a big aspect of what makes PYP come alive – collaboration. Toddle has revolutionized our teaching and learning practices and has helped us connect with IB teams all over the world. I believe that our growth as a school has also helped Toddle grow and together we have seen it become richer for both sides.”
Engaging in True Collaboration with Toddle
Rachel shares, “When I first entered the school two and a half years ago, teachers were planning in silos and the collaborative nature of planning was missing. They were working on separate Microsoft Word and Google documents and spent a lot of time juggling between them both. For me, the PYP is about bringing together good practices and allowing teachers to work together. Its focus on collaboration allows teachers to collaborate, not only within schools but around the world. It was, therefore, imperative for me to find a way for our teachers to find value in, and engage in collaborative practices.”
With Toddle’s collaborative planning features, the team at ILG was able to find ways to meaningfully work together. Rachel explains, “Toddle has been a true partner for us in our PYP journey. When we started using Toddle, we were not only transitioning to a new platform, we were working with a team completely new to the PYP, and some of us were also new to technology. We had to learn everything together, and Toddle made it possible to do so. Toddle’s user-friendly platform made even our tech-newbies feel comfortable enough to be open-minded to this journey.”
Toddle’s step-by-step planners and in-built guidance from IB documents helped the team understand the role of planning in the PYP. Rachel says, “Toddle has not only given us a common space to plan as per the guidelines but has taken each teacher and coordinator by the hand and walked them through the planning process. Toddle has been incredible in terms of helping us understand the platform, the curriculum and planning in the PYP. Over the years, I’ve seen our team become increasingly confident and now many teachers run sessions for parents and new staff members to explain how Toddle is the planning backbone of our school!”
Making Collaborative Planning Come Alive with Toddle
Toddle enables the team at ILG to plan their units and learning experiences, assign tasks to students and build an evidence bank of student work- all from one interface. With everyone using one platform for all their teaching and learning needs, single-subject educators, who teach multiple grade levels at ILG, now have access to updated information across all grades, at all times. Rachel shares, “We’re a small school, so our single-subject educators teach both PYP and MYP which makes it necessary for them to collaborate with teachers across multiple grades. It is important for them to be able to keep a track of what is happening at every grade level and find ways to make connections with the Programme of Inquiry. Before Toddle, this meant shuffling through numerous folders and documents and talking to teachers to ensure the information in those documents was accurate. With Toddle, single-subject teachers are able to see what all the teachers are doing – in one place. Toddle has transformed what they are able to do and they now feel a real sense of belonging within the team”.
Further, the team at ILG has been able to collaborate with a global community of educators on Toddle Community and through the events. Rachel adds, “The fact that our teachers can go to the Toddle Community to get inspiration from PYP educators and see how different teams are approaching their units and learning experiences, has helped us define our practices and feel more confident in our ability to plan. We now have the opportunity to access high-quality resources and participate in events, which also helps us develop our practice. We no longer feel alone in our journey, but feel connected to a really powerful global PYP community.”
Building a Collaborative Community with Families using Toddle
ILG has always believed in creating authentic partnerships with students and their families. With Toddle’s communication features, the team was able to build a bridge between school and home. Delvina Blakçori, an Early Years Educator at ILG, shares, “Toddle has enabled a fantastic opportunity for parents to see their children’s experiences at school, not only by viewing pictures and videos but also having specific learning outcomes tagged in relation to those experiences. Additionally, parents can view their children’s formative and summative assessments, and like and/or comment, which is a transparent and direct way of following progress continually throughout the year. I love that you can tag individual students when posting, therefore respecting confidentiality and providing each family with their own school journey through Toddle.”
Report writing can be a stressful time for many teachers and school leaders. With Toddle, the team at ILG has been able to make their report writing process more efficient and less stressful. Rachel shares, “We came from a system where PYP coordinators had to check individual reports on a Word or Google document, which easily took hours, if not days! With Toddle, coordinators are able to view all the reports in one place and are able to provide ongoing support and feedback to teachers. We have also been able to change our Progress Reports templates to suit our needs while ensuring we are aligned with what Toddle and IB requires. To be able to have the template exactly as we needed it has made it a lot more relevant for our community. As our teachers become more and more familiar with Toddle, it is so much easier for them to write the report cards. They are able to get deeper insights into individual student and class progress as PYP elements and curriculum goals are tagged throughout the year. So, when it’s time to create reports, everything is already tagged, aligned and ready to be added with a click of a button”.
Reporting with Toddle has also helped the teaching community at ILG to engage in meaningful conversations with parents. With Toddle’s Student Portfolios and visual Progress Reports, families now have a deeper understanding of their child’s learning journey. Rachel elaborates, ”Parents are now seeing the progress throughout the year since they get constant notifications on Toddle’s Family App. They are much more knowledgeable of what’s happening in their child’s class even before they get the report card. This has helped us develop stronger relationships as a community, and partner with each other to meet our vision”. Ms. Anke Hoebers, a parent of three children at ILG School, explains “Toddle works well, it makes connecting with the teacher easy. Because it is visual, with a lot of shared photos, you feel like you’re getting a glimpse into the classroom.”
Streamlining the IB Authorization Process with Toddle
With Toddle, the team at ILG has been able to streamline its teaching and learning process and make its growth visible to IB visitors. Rachel shares, “One of the biggest aspects of the authorization process for the PYP is planning of the units and alignment of the Programme of Inquiry. When you have a team that is new to the PYP, having a platform that is going to grow and build with you is very helpful. Toddle supports us with everything we need to ensure that all of the curricular elements have been focused on, and everything is aligned. As a teacher or coordinator, we are able to get immediate feedback on PYP elements that need to be focused on within the grade or across grade levels. Everything is available in one place, which saves us a lot of time and helps us ensure we are on the right track, at all times”.
With evidence collected through the years, Toddle makes it possible for ILG to showcase their learning journey with IB site visitors. Rachel explains, “One of the things that I’m personally excited about was being able to give IB visitors a glimpse of our journey. Toddle made it possible for our visitors to log into the platform and to have a look at everything we have on the system to see how much we have grown. They were able to go back to our units from 2019 and see how much we have progressed in our understanding of the PYP by viewing our units and the evidence gathered in 2021. It is very important for us to be able to allow visitors to feel like they are a part of the growth journey, and we are now easily able to do that. In fact, my recommendation to all schools new to the PYP is that if there is only one thing you can do to help your community, get Toddle!”
“Toddle feels more like a partner and not a platform to us. We’ve been able to make Toddle our own – it is our ‘ILG Toddle’, and it was just waiting for us to discover it!”
Toddle is the preferred teaching partner of 20,000+ PYP educators and 1,000+ PYP schools around the world. Developed by experienced IB educators, Toddle streamlines planning, portfolios, assessments, reports, and online learning – all from one intuitive interface. Through Toddle Community, educators from around the world can collaborate with each other for sharing best practices and teaching-learning resources.
Request a demo today to understand how you can empower student voice and choice to demonstrate and share learning, engage in authentic assessment, and get deep insights on student progress across PYP elements and curriculum goals.