Primary Years Program (PYP)
Our curriculum is built within the framework of the Primary Years Programme.
The IB Primary Years Program (PYP)
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is designed for students aged 3 to 12 years old. Students learning through the PYP are prepared to become life-long learners. The Primary Years Programme is:
The PYP aims to develop international citizens who are:
• Open minded
To promote these attributes, “teaching and learning” addresses the learners’ personal and cultural identities in order to deepen their understanding of identity and diversity and develop their sense of appreciation to the world and its people.
At the heart of the PYP, there are the essential elements: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and actions. These elements transcend subject area boundaries and forge the curriculum into a coherent transdisciplinary whole that is engaging, relevant, challenging, and significant.
All disciplines in the PYP are integrated and taught under transdisciplinary themes in order to help children make connections with the real life, to facilitate their understanding, and promote their interest. These transdisciplinary themes represent “life-long inquiries”, and each grade, throughout their primary years, revisits the elements of these transdisciplinary themes through age appropriate “Units of Inquiry”. Together, these form the basis for personal and global learning. The units of inquiry are represented within the school’s “Programme of Inquiry”.
The school’s Programme of Inquiry incorporates the entire Science and Social Studies curricula and much of the Personal, Social and Physical Education. Language, Mathematics, and Arts are integrated to allow for meaningful connections and application in real contexts. The curriculum also includes independent or “stand-alone” lessons or units in these subject areas.
Inquiry is the leading pedagogical approach of the PYP. Learners learn best through structured, purposeful inquiry that engages students actively in their own learning. Learners should be invited to investigate significant issues by formulating their own questions, designing their own inquiries, assessing the various means available to support their inquiries, and proceeding with research, experimentation, observation, and analysis that will help them find their own responses to the issues. The starting point is the learners’ current understanding, and the goal is the active construction of meaning by building connections between that understanding and new information and experience.
Inquiry in a PYP curriculum is structured around important concepts allowing students to construct meaning of their own learning through improved critical thinking and transfer of knowledge. As students explore a range of broad concepts, they gain deep understandings of significant ideas within each discipline and across subject areas at the same time. Learners acquire essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes and apply learning in authentic contexts created by the concepts driving the curriculum. Learners, as a result, reach new and real understandings as they uncover the conceptual understandings embedded in the curriculum. Consequently, the PYP provides a set of eight concepts to frame up the curriculum. These concepts help learners consider new ways of thinking and act as provocations or investigation tools as learners approach their inquiries;
• What is it like? (Form)
• How does it work? (Function)
• Why is it like this? (Causation)
• How is it changing? (Change)
• How is it connected to other things? (Connection)
• What are the points of view? (Perspective)
• What is our responsibility? (Responsibility)
• How do we know? (Reflection)
To foster the development of these understandings, they PYP emphasizes the growth of a set of transdisciplinary skills. The students’ construction of meaning is thus complimented by the acquisition and application of thinking, communication, social, research, and self-management skills. The students’ development of these skills is supported by authentic and age appropriate learning experiences.
Learners, in this curriculum, are active participants and owners of their own learning. They develop personal attitudes towards learning, towards people, and towards the environment. Throughout the primary years, they strive to demonstrate the attitudes of:
The disciplines taught in PYP are:
Language plays a vital role in the construction of meaning. It empowers the learner and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development and critical thinking. In the PYP, it is recognized that the teaching of language should be in response to the previous experience, needs, and interests of the student since fragmenting learning into the acquisition of isolated skill sets can create difficulties for learners. Learners’ needs are best served when they have opportunities to engage in learning within meaningful contexts, rather than being presented with the learning of language as an incremental series of skills to be acquired.
Oral language, visual language, and written language are learned in a balanced way across and throughout the curriculum. Each strand is an integral component of language learning.
• The languages of instruction are English and Arabic or French and Arabic.
• Second Language is taught as a foreign language from the age of 7.
It is important that learners acquire mathematical understandings by constructing their own meaning through ever-increasing levels of abstraction, starting with exploring their own personal experiences, understandings, and knowledge. Additionally, it is fundamental to the philosophy of the PYP that since it is to be used in real-life situations; mathematics needs to be taught in relevant, realistic contexts, rather than by attempting to impart a fixed body of knowledge directly to students. How children learn mathematics can be described using the following strands:
• Data Handling
• Shapes and Space
• Pattern and Function
Science is used to provide explanations and models of behavior for phenomena and objects around us. It is also used to investigate the interrelationships between the biological, chemical and physical worlds. The science component of the curriculum is considered to be driven by concepts and skills rather than by content. Science is viewed as a way of thinking and as a process that strives for balance between the construction of meaning and the acquisition of knowledge and skills. It is taught under the following strands:
• Living Things
• Materials and Matter
• Forces and Energy
• Earth and Space
Decisions about content in social studies are dependent on the school’s location, context and curriculum requirements. The school relates the social studies content to significant and universal concepts common to all societies, times and places. Social studies teaching and learning takes place within the program of inquiry under the following strands:
• Human systems and economic activities
• Social organization and culture
• Continuity and change through time
• Human and natural environments
• Resources and the environment
Arts, including visual arts, music, drama, and dance engage students in creative processes through which they explore and experiment in a continual cycle of action and reflection. Such creative processes are seen by the PYP as the driving force of learning through inquiry. From an early age, students have the opportunity to develop genuine interests, to give careful consideration to their work, and to become self-critical and reflective. Reflecting on and evaluating their own work and the work of others is vital and empowers students to take intellectual risks. Exposure to and experience with arts opens doors to questions about life and learning. The process of making and appreciating arts is gratifying and will encourage students to continue creating throughout their lives. Arts are taught under the following strands:
Personal, Social and Physical Education
PSPE is an integral part of students’ everyday life at school and at home. It is an essential part of the curriculum and, as students engage with it across and between the subject areas, they come to a deeper understanding of its relevance and applicability in their everyday lives. Appropriate attitudes and behaviours are also modeled within the school community. Students learn best when the learning experiences they engage with provide them with the motivation to achieve their personal goals. PSPE promotes transdisciplinary learning through the transdisciplinary themes, the learner profile and the essential elements of the programme. Personal, Social, and Physical Education are taught under the following strands:
• Active Living
International Baccalaureate Organization. 2010. Primary Years Progamme, Making the PYP Happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education.