Essential Elements

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) written curriculum incorporates five essential elements of learning: understanding of concepts, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive actions. Within the PYP a balance is sought between acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, development of conceptual understanding, demonstration of positive attitudes, and taking of responsible action.

The IB further identifies a body of knowledge for all students in six subject areas: language, social studies, mathematics, arts, science and technology, and personal, social and physical education, all meet the IB PYP strands as well as the broader expectations of our CBSE and ICSE curricula. There are five key components to the IB/PYP curriculum: Knowledge, Key Concepts, Attitudes, Skills, and Action. All of these elements should further enforce the Learner Profile.

The knowledge component addresses “what we want our students to know”. There are six transdisciplinary themes students will investigate throughout a given school year. These themes have global significance and cover concepts that are interconnected, can be addressed in all disciplines (subjects), and can be applied to real life. The programme offers a balance between learning about or through the subject areas and learning beyond them. The six create a transdisciplinary framework that allows students to explore beyond the confines of learning within subject areas. The six themes include:

  • 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

Key Concepts
This component addresses “what we want our students to understand”. There were eight fundamental concepts, expressed as key questions, which propel the process of inquiry and help to encourage a transdisciplinary nature of the PYP. These concepts drive the research within the units of inquiry which teachers and students design. The concepts are the following:

  • Form - What is it like?
  • Function - How does it work?
  • Causation - Why is it like it is?
  • Change - How is it changing?
  • Connection - How is it connected to other things?
  • Perspective – What are the point of view?
  • Responsibility – What is our responsibility?
  • Reflection – How do we know?

The new Enhancements to the PYP framework believe that Reflection is not a stand-alone Key concept, rather one that is essential across all learning and themes.

The focus is on “what we want our students to show”, based on which there are twelve attitudes we want them to value and exhibit. They are interwoven throughout every aspect of the curriculum.

  • Appreciation
  • Commitment
  • Confidence
  • Cooperation
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Empathy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Tolerance

Transdisciplinary Skills (Approaches to Learning)
The focus is on “what we want our students to use” through their learning process. Towards this the PYP has identified five transdisciplinary skills students must develop as they involve themselves in the learning environment.

  • Thinking Skills
  • Research Skills
  • Self-management Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Social Skills

The enhanced PYP has renamed this to “Approaches to Learning (ATL’s)” and views these skills as school specific in that each school will be able to identify their own sub-skills based on the school context and students’ need.

This stage focusses of “what we want our students to do” and is the end goal of all learning. Within the PYP framework, student action is paramount, as it helps student take what they have learned and do something about it in the real world. Students are encouraged to reflect, to make informed choices and to take action that will help their peers, school staff, and the wider community. These are student-initiated responses to what they are understanding and learning about themselves and the world in which they live. Action does not need to be elaborate. It can be as simple as teaching family members about what they are learning or checking out books from the library for further research or even taking the learning into the al world and applying it (like watering a plant on their own initiative).

The enhanced PYP encourages demonstrations of action through participation, advocacy, social justice, entrepreneurship and lifestyle choices.