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Primary Years Programme

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Developed by educators from all over the world, the Primary Years Programme is designed for students aged 3 – 12. It engages students in a uniquely international program that emphasizes the development of the whole child as an inquirer. Through an emphasis on inquiry-based learning, international-mindedness, reflection and action, the Primary Years Programme establishes the foundation for students to develop and grow as IB learners. As such, the PYP serves as excellent preparation for the IB Middle Years Programme.

The Primary Years Programme Curricular Framework

The Primary Years Program offers a framework through which the Alberta Education Program of Studies is taught to students. The program consists of six subject areas that are taught through the lenses of six transdisciplinary themes which have global significance and serve as contexts for learning:


At the center of the each of the IB programs is the Learner Profile, which is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the students in the 21st century. The Learner Profile is a set of ideals and attributes that students are expected to strive toward and internalize. IB learners are inquirers, thinkers, communicators, and risk-takers who are also knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced and reflective. The Learner Profile inspires and focuses the work done in IB schools around the world and provides a common language and purpose. The Primary Years Programme also emphasizes eight broad concepts and twelve attitudes that drive studies in the units of inquiry.

PYP Concepts: What do we want students to understand?

  • 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?

PYP Attitudes: What do we want students to feel, value and demonstrate?

  • Appreciation

  • Commitment

  • Confidence

  • Cooperation

  • Creativity

  • Curiosity

  • Empathy

  • Enthusiasm

  • Independence

  • Integrity

  • Respect

  • Tolerance

PYP Transdisciplinary Themes  

Each of the six transdisciplinary themes in the PYP has global significance and through them, students explore and inquire into their units of inquiry. Each unit of inquiry addresses a central idea related to one of the transdisciplinary themes and different lines of inquiry that guide each student's studies. The six transdisciplinary themes that serve as contexts for learning in the PYP are:

  • Who We Are
  • Where We Are in Place and Time

  • How We Express Ourselves

  • How the World Works
  • How we Organize Ourselves

  • How We Share the Planet 

PYP Transdisciplinary Skills: What do we want students to be able to do?

In the PYP, students work to develop the following transdisciplinary skills, so that they are able to take part in purposeful inquiry and will be prepared for life-long learning:

  • Thinking Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Research Skills
  • Self-Management Skills 

For More Information Please visit the International Baccalaureate  website.

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