The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)

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The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) for children aged 3 – 12 nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. 

Through its inquiry-led, transdisciplinary framework, the PYP challenges students to think for themselves and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues and opportunities in real-life contexts.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) balances the acquisition of significant and relevant knowledge and skills, the development of conceptual understanding, the formation of personal, positive attitudes and the capacity to take responsible actions. 

The PYP:

  • addresses students’ academic needs and their social and emotional well-being
  • encourages students to develop independence and to take responsibility for their own learning
  • supports students’ effort to gain understanding of the world and to function effectively within it
  • helps students to establish personal values as a foundation on which international mindedness will flourish.

The five essential elements of the PYP

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Knowledge

Knowledge, which is both disciplinary, represented by traditional subject areas (language, maths, science, social studies, arts, PSPE) and transdisciplinary
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Concepts

Concepts, which students explore through structured inquiry in order to develop coherent, in-depth understanding, and which have relevance both within and beyond subject areas

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Skills

Skills, which are the broad capabilities students develop and apply during learning and in life beyond the classroom

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Attitudes

Attitudes, which contribute to international-mindedness and the wellbeing of individuals and learning communities, and connect directly to the IB learner profile

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Action

Action, which is an expectation in the PYP that successful inquiry leads to responsible, thoughtful and appropriate action.

The six subject areas

0 language
0 social studies
0 Mathematics
0 The arts
0 Sciences
0 personal, social and physical education.

The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB Primary Years Programme are the six transdisciplinary themes. These themes provide IB World Schools with the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues into the curriculum and effectively allow students to “step up” beyond the confines of learning within subject areas.

  • Who we are – Inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; person, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human
  • Where we are in place and time – Inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives
  • How we express ourselves – Inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic
  • How the world works – Inquiry into the natural world and its laws, the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

The PYP presents schools with a comprehensive plan for high quality, international education. 

It provides schools with a curriculum framework of essential elements — the knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and action that young students need to equip them for successful lives, both now and in the future.

Schools work with the five elements to construct a rigorous and challenging primary curriculum for international education.

The PYP aims to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for learners in the 3–12 age range. The curriculum is transdisciplinary, meaning that it focuses on issues that go across subject areas.

The PYP is organized according to:

  • The written curriculum, which explains what PYP students will learn
  • The taught curriculum, which sets out how educators teach the PYP
  • The assessed curriculum, which details the principles and practice of effective assessment in the PYP.

IB learners strive to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. These attributes represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success.

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