Primary Years Programme


The Primary Years Program (PYP), for students aged 3-12, focuses on the development the whole child, addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs. At the same time it gives children a strong foundation in all of the major areas of knowledge. The PYP aims to synthesize the best research and practice from a range of national systems with the wealth of knowledge and experience in international schools to create an interdisciplinary curriculum which is relevant, challenging and engaging. The PYP also strives to help children develop an international perspective – to become aware of and sensitive to the points of view of the people in other parts of the world.

The ultimate aim of the PYP is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. The PYP’s definition of a truly internationally educated person is a person with the following attributes and dispositions described in the IB Learner Profile: inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, balanced and reflective.

The curriculum of the PYP is organized around six transdisciplinary themes:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in time and place
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • How we share the planet

Each theme works especially well with at least one or two traditional subject areas; however, the six themes are also interdisciplinary and go beyond any one subject area. The purpose of the themes is to encourage children to think broadly and deeply.

Students then explore each theme by looking at a ‘unit of inquiry’ that is related to the theme, yet more narrowly defined. In each unit, teachers pose a series of open-ended questions that encourage children to explore all of its aspects. These questions serve as starting points for a discussion and prompt students to come up with their own questions. The questions include but are not limited to the core ‘concepts’.


The PYP curriculum framework strives for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive action. In terms of achieving this balance, the PYP emphasizes five components of the written curriculum.

  • Concepts: powerful ideas which have relevance within and across disciplines and which students must explore and re-explore in order to develop understanding.
  • Knowledge: significant, relevant, subject matter we wish the students to explore and know about
  • Skills: those things the students need to be able to do to succeed in a changing, challenging world
  • Attitudes: dispositions which are expressions of fundamental values, beliefs and feelings about learning, the environment, and people
  • Action: demonstrations of deeper learning in responsible behavior through positive action and service; a manifestation in the practice of the other essential elements