PYP (Primary Years Programme)
What is the Primary Years Programme?
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework for young learners aged 3–12 designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB). Founded on a philosophy that recognizes a child’s natural curiosity, creativity and ability to reflect, the PYP generates a stimulating, challenging learning environment to nurture those assets and foster a lifelong love of learning in every child. The PYP, like all IB programmes, is transdisciplinary, meaning students learn across subject areas while investigating big ideas.
Does the PYP have a specific set of standards?
In the PYP, students learn about significant concepts through units of inquiry. The six transdisciplinary themes that guide units of inquiry and compose a year of study are:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organize ourselves
- Sharing the planet
Units of inquiry interweave subject areas such as mathematics, language arts, science and social studies. This approach encourages students to make their own connections between what they learn in core subject areas and how it relates to the world around them.
The school outlines its specific knowledge content and academic curriculum, guided by the following five essential elements:
- The knowledge content is organized under the transdisciplinary themes. Each school decides which specific topics to study under each theme.
- The learning skills aim to help students become independent, well-functioning, self-motivated learners.
- The learning attitudes aim to develop a lifelong love of learning and nurture a child’s curiosity and confidence.
- The action component emphasizes the need to connect the student with his or her own potential and responsibility for using what was learned.
- The rigorous guidelines for classroom practices to match the educational philosophy and values of the IB are communicated through professional development and a school’s internal reflection process.
What are the advantages of an IB education?
- IB World Schools (the only schools authorized to offer IB programmes) are subject to a strict accreditation process monitored by the IB, ensuring that schools provide a high-quality education.
- IB teaching methods and curriculums are research-based and draw from the best educational practices from systems around the world.
- IB teachers are required to participate in many professional development opportunities to continually promote their awareness of current educational practices and new thinking.
- IB students develop a sense of the world around them and their responsibility to it.
- IB programmes are recognized internationally and ease the educational transitions of mobile students so that their education is not adversely affected if their families relocate.
Do PYP teachers receive special training?
All PYP teachers receive professional development in IB’s approaches to teaching and approaches to learning from certified IB workshop leaders. This is a requirement for IB World Schools implementing the PYP.
Have studies been done on the impact of the PYP?
The IB places great value on external validation of its programmes, curriculums and professional development. A recent Global International Schools’ Assessment study found that PYP students outperformed non-IB students in mathematics, reading and writing. Additional studies on programme impact, quality assurance, programme development and assessment research are available at www.ibo.org/research.
How can I learn more about the IB and PYP?
- Visit the IB website at www.ibo.org
- Attend school meetings and events
- Speak with your school’s PYP coordinator
- Speak with your child’s PYP classroom teacher.