The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework for young learners aged 3–12 designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB). Founded on a philosophy that recognizes a child’s natural curiosity, creativity and ability to reflect, the PYP generates a stimulating, challenging learning environment to nurture those assets and foster a lifelong love of learning in every child. The PYP, like all IB programmes, is transdisciplinary, meaning students learn across subject areas while investigating big ideas.


In the PYP, students learn about significant concepts through units of inquiry. The six transdisciplinary themes that guide units of inquiry and compose a year of study 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.

Units of inquiry interweave subject areas such as mathematics, language arts, science and social studies. This approach encourages students to make their own connections between what they learn in core subject areas and how it relates to the world around them. The Units of Inquiry are further enhanced by Arts and PSPE (Personal, social and physical education) through mastering transferable skills, promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development.


  1. It encourages students to inquire. The PYP fosters natural curiosity and learning in creative, supportive and collaborative environments.
  2. Understanding a complex and interdependent world. PYP students create meaning for themselves and build understanding through exploring real-world issues.
  3. PYP students are confident communicators. They learn to communicate in a variety of ways in more than one language.
  4. Learning how to learn. PYP students work collaboratively with teachers and other students to plan, present and assess their own learning.
  5. It encourages international-mindedness. Collaboration and understanding of their own and other cultures are an important focus of the PYP – students learn how to be respectful and open-minded.
  6. Seeing things from different perspectives. PYP students use critical and creative thinking to develop knowledge, understanding and skills within and across subject areas.
  7. Students take action. PYP students believe they are able to grow and succeed. They make appropriate choices and take responsibility for their actions.
  8. Thinking about issues. Creative learning gives students the agility and imagination to respond to new and unexpected challenges and opportunities in an increasingly globalized and uncertain world.
  9. It involves the whole school learning community. Together we celebrate our common humanity and the belief that education can help to build a better and more peaceful world.
  10. Caring and responsible citizens. Students can express ideas and opinions, and they can propose solutions that make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.


Action, the core of student agency, is integral to the Primary Years Programme (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.

Students taking action in response to their inquiries lays a foundation for community service in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and creativity, activity, service (CAS) in the Diploma Programme (DP). Action is a means for students to show that they have linked their learning to real-life issues and opportunities, and that they are developing responsible dispositions and behaviours towards social and physical environments and to the community within and beyond school. Through action, students develop a sense of belonging to local and global communities. They understand and recognize the interconnectedness and interdependence of issues, and consider these from multiple perspectives.


All IB programmes include a culminating or consolidating learning experience in their final year: the exhibition in the PYP; the personal project in the Middle Years Programme (MYP); the extended essay in the Diploma Programme (DP); and the reflective project in the Career-related Programme (CP).

In the PYP exhibition, students demonstrate their understanding of an issue or opportunity they have chosen to explore. They undertake their investigation both individually and with their peers, together with the guidance of a mentor. Through the exhibition, students demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their learning—and their capacity to take action—as they are actively engaged in planning, presenting and assessing learning.

The exhibition is a powerful demonstration of student agency, as well as the agency of the community that has nurtured them through their years in the PYP. The learning community participates in the exhibition, supporting and celebrating the development of internationally minded students who make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.

* Taken from ibo.org