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Primary Years Program

The IB Primary Years Program (PYP) offers a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning. It provides an inquiry-based curriculum model that incorporates guidelines on what students should learn, how students should act as learners and as community members, on teaching methodologies and on assessment strategies.


The IB Primary Years Program is a guided inquiry approach to learning and teaching. Inquiry-based units of study, known as Units of Inquiry, are the focus for learning in homeroom classes and when appropriate they are integrated into other curriculum areas. Students experience what it is like to think and act like a historian, scientist, engineer or a mathematician. Within each Unit of Inquiry students and teachers identify together what they want to know, what they already know, what they need to know and how best they might find that out.

In the inquiry-based classroom there is increased emphasis on real life situations, decision-making, problem solving, research and action. Students are actively:

  • exploring, wondering and questioning
  • experimenting and playing with possibilities
  • researching and seeking information
  • collecting data and reporting findings
  • clarifying existing ideas and reappraising events
  • deepening understanding through the application of a concept or rule
  • making and testing theories
  • making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
  • elaborating on solutions to problems.


The PYP Curriculum incorporates five essential elements
1.    Concepts
2.    Knowledge
3.    Skills
4.    Attitudes
5.    Action

1. CONCEPTS: What do we want students to understand?
The PYP is a curriculum framework that has been designed around a key set of important ideas or concepts. These concepts are at the core of the PYP curriculum and provide the foundation for exploration across all disciplines. The PYP has identified eight concepts, all of which join to form a concept-driven curriculum. The concepts are:
Form                 What is it like?
Function            How does it work?
Causation          Why is it like it is?
Change              How is it changing?
Connection        How is it connected to other things?
Perspective        What are the points of view?
Responsibility     What is our responsibility?
Reflection           How do we know?
KNOWLEDGE: What do we want students to know?
Knowledge in the PYP is developed through six Units of Inquiry in each grade level K -5, under the headings of six Transdisciplinary Themes. These themes are used to integrate subject knowledge across the main curriculum areas of: Languages, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science and Technology, The Arts, Personal, Physical And Social Education (PSPE). Units of Inquiry are:
  • Are significant for all students
  • Give students opportunities to explore challenging, relevant and engaging knowledge.
  • Encourages knowledge to be looked at in a transdisciplinary way.
  • Can be revisited throughout the student's years of schooling.
Who we are
An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, 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
An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

How we express ourselves
An 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
An 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.

How we organize ourselves
An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Sharing the planet
An inquiry into the rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

2. SKILLS: What do we want the students to be able to do?
The skills are those things that students need to be able to do to succeed in a changing challenging world.  Students need to master a range of skills to prepare themselves for their future education and for life in general. A comprehensive set of Social Skills, Research Skills, Thinking Skills, Communication Skills, and Self-management Skills are taught through structured inquiry experiences in the Units of Inquiry.

3. ATTITUDES: What do we want the students to value and feel?
It is important that they recognise the importance of Attitudes alongside Concepts, Knowledge and Skills as being an integral part of the curriculum. The PYP promotes: tolerance, respect, integrity, independence, enthusiasm, empathy, curiosity, creativity, co-operation, confidence, commitment and appreciation. There are many opportunities throughout the curriculum to develop and promote positive attitudes.

4. ACTION: How do we want students to act?
Through the Units of Inquiry we endeavour to create learning experiences which inspire students to actively apply new learning in their daily life. Students are encouraged to reflect, to choose wisely and to act responsibly with their peers, school staff and in the wider community.


2015-2016 Programme of Inquiry


The Grade Five Exhibition is core to the Primary Years Program.

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