Essential Elements


There are 6 transdisciplinary themes in the Primary Years Programme.  These unit themes organize the academic content and take into consideration the students' prior learning and experience.

The 6 transdisciplinary themes are:

  • 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


A concept-driven curriculum promotes meaning and understanding, and challenges students to engage with significant ideas using critical thinking skills. The following eight key concepts structure our inquiry based units:

  • 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 points of view?
  • Responsibility:  What is our responsibility?
  • Reflection:  How do we know?


Approaches to Learning

Skills development is an integral component to the Primary Years Programme.  Skills within the following five categories are embedded into our units of inquiry:

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


Our curriculum incorporates the development of personal attitudes toward self, others, and the environment.  In Pyp schools, students develop and demonstrate:

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



In the PYP, we believe that education must extend beyond academics and include not only responsible attitudes, but appropriate and thoughtful action as an extension of their learning.  Action may take many forms, including wanting to learn more about a topic, sharing their learning with someone at home, changing a behavior or habit, designing something new, or helping others.