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International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP)

The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It is a concept-based curriculum framework defined by transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills from the subject areas, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry-based learning.



 Primary Years Programme (PYP)

  • fosters international-mindedness through the IB learner profile
  • prepares students to become life-long learners
  • reflects real life through meaningful, in-depth inquiries into local and global issues
  • emphasizes the development of the whole student – physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and ethically

PYP Written Curriculum

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) has identified six areas of knowledge (called transdisciplinary themes) that are considered to be of lasting significance for students in PYP schools anywhere in the world. These themes provide a framework for teachers to design units of inquiry that incorporate provincial content-area standards, as well as opportunities for students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to become internationally-minded people and life-long learners. A PYP school organizes units under the transdisciplinary themes through a curriculum map called a Programme of Inquiry (POI). 

The transdisciplinary themes are addressed at each grade level, even though the individual units of inquiry based upon them are all unique, exploring different aspects of the knowledge contained under each theme.  In addition to the transdisciplinary units of inquiry, students also receive focused daily instruction in Numeracy and Literacy to ensure that they continue to develop their skills in those foundational subject areas.

Inquiry-based Learning

Inquiry-based learning is a process whereby students are involved in their learning; formulating questions; investigating widely; and building new understanding and meaning. That knowledge is new to the students and may be used to answer a question, to develop a solution or to support a position or point of view. The knowledge is shared with others and may result in some sort of action.

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 Action in the PYP

Taking action is integral to PYP learners.  Action is something students choose to do as a result of their learning and experiences, because it is important to them.  Action can happen at any time during the learning process.  Initially, adults will guide students towards taking action, but the goal is for students to initiate action independently.  Action does not have to be a big project; often, smaller acts are a better indication that a real shift in thinking has taken place.

Students, staff, and families are encouraged to use a cyclical process, called the Action Cycle.  By reflecting on learning, social situations, and behavioural issues, students can make a choice and take action.  With practice, students will begin to naturally and automatically use the Action Cycle.