How the PYP works

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The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a transdisciplinary curriculum framework that offers authentic learning experiences.

The PYP encourages students to learn to appreciate knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and personal attributes as a connected whole.

Each school collaboratively develops a programme of inquiry to reflect the unique aspects of that school’s community. The programme of inquiry is organized and framed by six transdisciplinary themes:

  • 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.

These transdisciplinary themes together provide children with authentic learning experiences that are not confined to the boundaries of traditional subjects. Although subjects play an important role in learning, PYP learners explore real-world problems by going beyond subject boundaries. Students have opportunities to reflect on the significance of their learning to take meaningful action in their community and the wider world.

Exploring the six transdisciplinary themes in the PYP

The programme of inquiry articulates how the six transdisciplinary themes will be explored across the different age groups. It provides students in the early and primary years with the opportunity to experience a coherent and balanced curriculum.

The PYP framework is dynamic because a transdisciplinary programme of inquiry leaves room for emergent and unexpected ideas, directions and connections that students might encounter.

Specifically, students and teachers engage with:

  • the programme of inquiry—the structure that articulates what, when and how learners explore the transdisciplinary themes from 3–12 years
  • concepts that have relevance across, between and beyond the subjects and that connect knowledge to enable learners to build conceptual understandings
  • the approaches to learning and approaches to teaching both crucial for developing inquiring minds and the skills needed to explore concepts and subject knowledge
  • reflection and taking action to enhance individual and collective understanding and learning or to address personal, local and/or global challenges and opportunities.

Implementing the PYP in schools

All schools offering the PYP must first participate in the candidacy and authorization process. Once they have been authorized, they are able to identify as an IB World School.

IB World Schools use the PYP framework to organize their curriculum, policies and communities. They use the Programme standards and practices (PSP) framework to develop the foundations and evolution of the school that support effective practice and exemplify the IB mission.

The PYP curriculum framework and the PSP framework work in conjunction to provide schools with the guidance needed to meet and exceed the quality standard of the PYP. The reflective process encourages schools to continually develop and improve programmes that fit their contexts and meet school aims.

Additionally, the PSP ensures quality and fidelity in the implementation of all IB programmes at IB World Schools.

Find out more about the PSP:

How to become an IB World School

Find more information or start the authorization process to become an IB World School here.