The Primary Years Programme (PYP), is for students aged 3 to 12 and focuses on the development of the whole child, in the classroom but also in the world outside, through other environments where children learn. It offers a framework that meets children's several needs: academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural.
The PYP serves as an excellent introduction to the Middle Years Programme, but it is not a prerequisite for this or for the Diploma Programme.
The programme is a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning with an international curriculum model that provides:
- guidelines for what students should learn
- a teaching methodology
- assessment strategies and tools for feedback and feedforward
After consultation with the International Baccalaureate Organization, and provided certain conditions are met, schools have flexibility in terms of language of instruction and languages taught. At ISÄ, our language of instruction is English and we also teach Swedish as an additional language.
ISÄ PYP Curriculum
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) offers a transdisciplinary, inquiry-based and student-centered education with responsible action at its core, enabling students to learn between, across and beyond traditional subject boundaries.
The framework serves as the curriculum organizer and offers a guide to achieve authentic conceptual inquiry-based learning that is engaging, significant, challenging and relevant for all PYP students.
Through the Programme of Inquiry – POI (all schools develop their own in context to their own school) and by reflecting on their learning, PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and the attributes of the IB Learner profile.
Informed by constructivist and social-constructivist learning theories, the emphasis on collaborative inquiry and integrative learning honours the curiosity, voice, and contribution of the students.
At the heart of the PYP curriculum are Approaches to Teaching (ATT) and Approaches to Learning (ATL). There are six subjects that are conceptually taught using the six transdisciplinary themes. The aim is to develop critical thinkers and lifelong inquirers.
In the PYP Enhancements, there are now three pillars of the curriculum – The Learner, Learning and Teaching, and The Learning Community.
- The Learner: describes the outcomes for individual students and the outcomes they seek for themselves (what is learning?)
- Learning and Teaching: articulates the distinctive features of learning and teaching (how best to support learners?)
- The Learning Community: emphasizes the importance of the social outcomes of learning and the role that IB communities play in achieving these outcomes (who facilitates learning and teaching?)
The PYP Coordinator conduct Parent Information sessions throughout the year to support parents in understanding this curricular framework.
To simplify, there are subject specific scope and sequence documents (see attached) that the teachers weave into learning experiences, so that the students can build enduring understanding of the world around them through inquiry in the Transdisciplinary themes.
The PYP identifies a body of knowledge for all students in all cultures, in six subject areas:
- Social studies
- Arts (Visual, Music, Woodwork, Needlework)
- Personal, social and physical education
In the spirit of internationalism students are required to learn a second language in addition to the language of instruction of the school. At ISÄ PYP, we teach Swedish as a second language right from PYP 1.
Six transdisciplinary themes
The elements at the centre of the curriculum model are developed and applied in a context defined by the 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
All six themes are taught in every grade level, and each grade has a different lens to view it from.
Agency and Action
Agency and self-efficacy are fundamental to learning in the PYP. Throughout the programme, the learner is an agent for their own and others' learning. They direct their learning with a strong sense of identity and self-belief, and in conjunction with others, build a sense of community and awareness for the opinions, values and needs of others.
Action, the core of student agency, is integral to the PYP learning process and to the programme's overarching outcome of international mindedness. Through taking individual and collective action, students come to understand the responsibilities associated with being internationally-minded and to appreciate the benefits of working with others for a shared purpose.
At ISÄ, both these are intricately woven into the learning experiences that teachers design for their class. We encourage independent and agentic learners who ensure that they take authentic action in their environment based on what they learn in class.
The spirit of Inquiry is the pedagogical approach of the PYP which recognizes students as being actively involved in their own learning and as taking responsibility for that learning through Agency. Students draw from the transdisciplinary themes and own interests to develop an inquiry in an authentic way to relate to, explore and understand the world around them.
As part of the learner profile, students are supported in becoming “inquirers”. Inquiry nurtures curiosity and promotes enthusiasm for life-long learning. Effective inquiry encourages students to think, challenge and extend their ideas; it prompts students to reflect and take action. Through the inquiry process, students develop and demonstrate/practice the approaches to learning and attributes of the learning profile.
Inquiry is purposeful and authentic. It incorporates problem solving and supports students in achieving personal and shared goals (learning outcomes and success criterias). Inquiry extends students' learning when the exploration of initial curiosity generates new questions and wonderings. By situating inquiry in meaningful contexts, connections are made between personal experiences to local and global opportunities and challenges.
Learning and teaching in the IB grows from an understanding of education that celebrates the many ways people work together to construct meaning and make sense of the world. The inquiry process supports the development of international mindedness. Represented as the interplay between asking (inquiry), thinking (reflection) and doing (action), this constructivist inquiry process leads towards open classrooms where different views and perspectives are valued. This process is the basis of the design and implementation of learning and teaching in all IB programmes.
The inquiry process
Connecting passion with intention, the inquiry process builds capacity through student agency where voice, choice and ownership feature strongly. PYP teachers and students collaborate to plan for inquiry through a wide range of strategies, tools and practices that suit learning goals, reflect the learner profile, respond to students' interests and understandings, and the school’s culture and context. Through the inquiry process, students move from current understandings to new and deeper understandings. We follow the Kath Murdoch inquiry cycle at ISÄ.
This process involves:
- exploring, wondering and questioning
- experimenting and playing with possibilities
- making connections between previous learning and current learning
- making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
- collecting data and reporting findings
- clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
- applying concepts to deepen conceptual understandings
- researching and seeking information
- establishing and testing theories
- solving problems in a variety of ways
- taking and defending a position
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) exhibition represents a significant event in the life of a PYP school and student, synthesizing the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community.
As a culminating experience it is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the learner profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP.
In the students' final year of the PYP, which occurs in our schools at age 10–11 (PYP 5), there are six units of inquiry and the exhibition. The exhibition at ISÄ is open and takes place under any transdisciplinary theme at the discretion of the student. Students engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues that are important to them.
Purpose of PYP exhibition:
- for students to engage in an in-depth, collaborative inquiry
- to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their own learning
- to provide students with an opportunity to explore multiple perspectives
- for students to synthesize and apply their learning of previous years and to reflect upon their journey through the PYP
- to provide an authentic process for assessing student understanding
- to demonstrate how students can take action as a result of their learning
- to unite the students, teachers, parents and other members of the school community in a collaborative experience that incorporates the elements of the PYP
- to celebrate the transition of learners from primary to middle/secondary education
Essential features of the exhibition
As the culminating PYP experience, it is required that the exhibition reflects all the major features of the programme. Therefore it must:
- provide an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the IB learner profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP
- incorporate all the key concepts; an understanding of the key concepts should be demonstrated by the application of key questions throughout the inquiry process
At ISÄ students and parents are handheld by introductory sessions and workshops, before the journey of the exhibition begins. We usually host our PYPX in mid-May, every year.
Important documents: Welcome back to school PPTs, Parent Handbook, Preschool Rules, Scope and sequence, Forms, Parent Handbook, POI, Academic Policies.