Primary Years Programme (PYP)

PYP logo

What is the PYP?

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is the International Baccalaureate (IB)’s educational programme for students ages 3 to 11.

What is the learning philosophy?

Like all IB programmes, the PYP puts the child at the centre of the learning experience and focuses on the development of the whole student both in the classroom and the world outside.

In these formative years, the PYP helps students acquire relevant knowledge and skills while developing their conceptual understanding and building on their social and emotional wellbeing.

The aim is to stimulate their curiosity, promote responsibility, independent thinking and action, and equip them for successful lives, both now and in the future.

How is the programme structured?

In contrast to traditional programmes, the PYP is concept-driven and transdisciplinary, with the focus on learning different subjects through "units of inquiry". While it is important to educate students in specific subject areas, it is equally important in the IB approach for students to acquire skills in context, make connections across the different disciplines and relate what they learn to life. In terms of the conceptual nature of the programme, some of the concepts that are explored through the units include change, causation, connection and responsibility.

Each year, students explore six units of inquiry (four units in the Early Years) centred around themes of global and local importance:

  • Who We Are
  • Where We Are in Place and Time
  • How We Express Ourselves
  • How the World Works
  • How We Organise Ourselves
  • Sharing the Planet

In terms of subjects areas, science and social studies are taught entirely through the unit of inquiry, while other subjects like mathematics and language are taught mainly through the unit but with stand-alone support lessons as needed. The specific subjects that are learned are:

  • Science

  • Social Studies

  • Language
    • English skills taught are Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Viewing and Presenting.
    • French is taught to all students in 50-minute classes four times a week, either as a Mother Tongue or a second language.

  • Mathematics
    • Students learn about Numbers, Pattern and Function, Measurement, Shape and Space and Data Handling.

  • Arts

  • Physical, Social and Personal Education

How is student progress assessed?

Assessment in the PYP is a continual process that allows teachers to identify students’ specific needs.

By using different assessment techniques, teachers evaluate what students know, which concepts they understand, and how well they have acquired important skills. This information is then used to adapt and plan the next stage of their learning.

At the end of their PYP learning journey, grade 5 students undertake a collaborative project known as the PYP Exhibition. This involves working with others to carry out an in-depth inquiry into a real-life issue. Students then present their findings to the school community. This final-year project is a chance for children to assume responsibility and use the skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout the PYP.


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