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IB Primary Years Programme

The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme

At Notre Dame Academy, the Primary Years Programme (PYP):

  • is for students from Pre-K to Grade 5
  • promotes in-depth guided inquiry in teaching and learning by building on stu­dents’ own knowledge and interests
  • explores the construction of knowledge through personal experience
  • is transdisciplinary, in that it fosters the development of the whole child, addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs
  • gives children a strong foundation in all of the major areas of knowledge: mathematics, social studies, drama, language, music, visual arts, science, personal and social education, and physical education
  • strives to help children develop an international perspective - to become aware of the points of view of people in other parts of the world
  • allows students to study a second language (Spanish) and gain an understanding of the cultures in which the language is spoken
  • develops attitudes that are socially responsible and that are positive learning experiences

primary years programme (PYP) students

PYP Curriculum

The PYP definition of curriculum is comprised of three interrelated components. In keeping with the PYP commitment to inquiry, these three components are expressed in the form of the following three open-ended questions, each of which compels teachers to think deeply about their own practice with regard to student learning.

  • What do we want to learn? The written curriculum: the identification of a framework of what's worth knowing
  • How best will we learn? The taught curriculum: the theory and application of good classroom practice
  • How will we know what we have learned? The assessed curriculum: the theory and application of effective assessment

Essential Elements

The PYP strives for a balance between the search for understanding the acquisition of knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive action.

Knowledge: Significant, relevant content that we wish the students to explore and know about, taking into consideration their prior experience and understanding.

Concepts: Powerful ideas that have relevance within the subject areas but also transcend them and that students must explore and re-explore in order to develop a coherent, in-depth understanding.

Skills: Those capabilities that the students need to demonstrate to succeed in a changing, challenging world, which may be disciplinary or transdisciplinary in nature.

Attitudes: Dispositions that are expressions of fundamental values, beliefs and feelings about learning, the environment and people.

Action: Demonstrations of deeper learning in responsible behavior through responsible action; a manifestation in practice of the other essential elements.

Transdisciplinary Themes

Who We Are
An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Where We Are In Time And Place
An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journey; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

How We Express Ourselves
An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs, and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

How The World Works
An inquiry into the nature world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

How We Organize Ourselves
An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Sharing The Planet
An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

Key Concepts

A set of eight concepts was drawn up, each of which, it is felt, is of major importance in the design of a transdisciplinary curriculum.

The concepts are:

  • Form
  • Function
  • Causation
  • Change
  • Connection
  • Perspective
  • Responsibility
  • Reflection

Transdisciplinary Skills

The PYP position is that, in order to conduct purposeful inquiry and in order to be well prepared for further education and for life beyond school, students needs to master a whole range of skills beyond those normally referred to as basic. These include skills which transcend the individual disciplines:

  • Social Skills: accepting responsibility; respecting others, cooperating, resolving conflict, group decision making, adopting a wide variety of group roles.
  • Research Skills: formulating questions, observing, planning, collecting data, recording data, organizing data, interpreting data, presenting research findings.
  • Thinking Skills: acquisition of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, dialectical thought, metacognition.
  • Communication Skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, non-verbal communication.
  • Self-Management Skills: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, spatial awareness, organization, time management, safety, healthy lifestyles, codes of behavior, informed choices.

Learner Profile

The aim of all IB programs 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.

IB learners strive to be:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-Takers/Courageous
  • Reflective
  • Well Balanced
  • Communicators


While recognizing the importance of knowledge, concepts, and skills, these alone do not make an internationally minded person. It is vital that there is also focus on the development of personal attitudes towards people, toward the environment and towards learning, attitudes that contribute to the well-being of the individual and of the group.

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

Mrs. Tracy Roome
PYP Coordinator - EYC

10 Reasons - PYP

Learner Profile