Social Studies

Social Studies as part of the PYP curriculum is an inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching about history, geography and society. In the PYP, social studies is viewed as the study of people in relation to their past, their present and their future, their environment and their society. Inquiry-based units are the focus for learning.

Students will experience what it is like to think and act like a historian, a geographer or a social scientist. 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.


The goal of the PYP social studies curriculum is to promote intercultural understanding and respect for individuals and their values and traditions. It aims to encourage students to understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.


Through the PYP Units of Inquiry students will:

  • Learn how to ask compelling and relevant questions that can be researched.
  • Gain a secure understanding of their own identity and their place in the world.
  • Develop and understanding of other cultural groups and an appreciation of other ideas and beliefs.
  • Gain knowledge that is of genuine importance in understanding the human condition, through the exploration of themes that have significance for all cultures.

Throughout the Units of Inquiry, students will engage with experiences in the following social studies strands:

  • Human systems and economic activities
  • Social organization and culture
  • Continuity and change through time
  • Human and natural environments
  • Resources and the environment
Emphasis is placed upon:

  • Real life situations
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Please refer to the Units of Inquiry , for information about the specific social studies units taught at each grade level.