Academics
International Baccalaureate

Primary Years Programme

The Notre Dame Academy International Baccalaureate experience goes beyond traditional teacher directed education. Students are encouraged to become active in the learning process through consistent inquiry, action, and reflection. As a school, we aim to synthesize our Marist rooted mission with the International Baccalaureate Organization’s mission to create knowledgeable, compassionate, globally minded learners. We achieve this by directly teaching students the skills they need to be agents of their learning. Learning experiences are designed to reflect student choice, ownership, and voice.

The Primary Years Programme is frequently referred to by its acronym, the PYP. This programme serves all Notre Dame Academy students from kindergarten  to 5th grade. In the PYP, all learning takes place within a transdisciplinary framework which transcends or goes across all disciplines to encourage and challenge students to connect their learning to all 6 subject areas and into the real world, both locally and globally. Students are much more likely to retain information as it is placed in a context that helps them make meaningful connections and they are guided to see the broader concepts on which their learning is based. 

This could look like students at Notre Dame Academy learning under the PYP transdisciplinary theme of “Who we are” with a central idea that members of a free market have economic and social responsibilities. Learning engagements might include math where students find the cost of a certain selection of menu items and the change they would give if a customer gave cash for those items. Students may write business plans for a chosen business with others, deciding on and designing advertisements and logos in art class, performing and writing jingles in music, and making products targeted to a specific target group after reading and researching about the purposes and effects of advertising. This learning in the classroom often extends out into the community as action where learners may become more informed consumers and inquire into where the items they buy come from and who is benefiting from their production for instance. 

The PYP is designed to be inclusive and engages students with a variety of learning needs. Learning experiences are carefully crafted to support student academic, personal, and social learning. Teachers and students are asked to reflect on their learning prior to, during, and after a unit of inquiry to ensure quality instruction, and optimization of learning opportunities and agency for future learning.

List of 3 items.

  • Information from the IB

    The IBO provides valuable information in reader friendly ways. In this section you will find materials such as FAQs on the Primary Years Programme, or reasons to choose a PYP school.
  • Exhibition

    The Exhibition is a culminating project for all 5th grade students. This project highlights their skills in collaboration, critical thinking, and action for the future. Students are asked to develop their own learning goals and product then work to create this product and reflect on their success. Projects vary greatly as they reflect the student’s personal interest. This is a chance for students to take true ownership of their learning and create something meaningful. 

    Example projects
    • A student learned about GMO, or genetically modified organisms, and their effects both positive and negative on humans world wide. They also created a brochure for adults to take after the presentation which listed out some of the effects of GMOs on humans and animals and how to identify and locate certified non-GMO products. 
    • A student learned about bees and how important they are to our food supply and the natural world. They planted some butterfly bushes in front of Schroeder Hall to help support the bee population and gave adults packets of seeds which they had created as a takeaway from their presentation so more flowering plants that attract bees can be grown locally.
    • A student studied concussions and the impact on the brain, especially in sports. After researching and interviewing a local neuroscientist, they took action locally. They helped to ensure a safe environment for young athletes both on and off the field, by reaching out and informing coaches at NDA and local sports teams about the dangers and symptoms of concussions.
    • For more information about the PYP Exhibition, see the brochure to the right.
  • Assessment at Notre Dame Academy in the PYP

    Each student in the PYP Programme (years K- 5) will participate in transdisciplinary units that fall under 6 different themes, which connect concepts across subject areas. Within each theme the PYP focuses on 3 types of assessments. 
    • Assessment for learning, known as formative assessments that inform teaching and promote learning. At ND Academy these will take a variety of forms including classwork, participation in discussions and collaborative activities. 
    • Assessment as learning, known as summative assessment with its goal to certify and report on learning. Each unit of Inquiry will have at least one summative assessment, often graded with a rubric with criteria that was collaboratively decided upon by both the teacher and the students. 
    • Assessment of learning, which supports students in learning how to become self regulated life long learners. This would include reflection of the learning process, reflection on students as learners and reflection on the goals set prior to learning. 
    A balance of all three types of assessments are a part of the learning process at ND Academy. Assessment is seen as an ongoing collaborative process and a continual cycle of monitoring, documenting, providing feedback and adjusting learning goals.

    For more information about Assessment in the PYP please take a look at the assessment document to the right.
There are six subject areas within the IB Primary Years Programme curriculum:
  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Arts
  • Personal, Social, and Physical Education
The Primary Years Programme: preparing students to be active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.