The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a comprehensive international education framework designed by the International Baccalaureate® Organization (IB) for kindergarten and primary school children (aged 3-12 years).
The code of values of a PYP school should reflect the IB Mission Statement for the creation of a better and more peaceful world, through teaching approaches designed and implemented according to IB standards and practices.
The Programme runs in over 150 countries around the globe, both in international schools and schools that implement their country’s national curriculum. By providing a general framework for learning, PYP enables schools to align the objectives of their national curricula with the educational philosophy of IB programmes. Thus, schools are able to adopt common principles on the one hand, while maintaining their unique identity on the other.
The IB programme does not differentiate the respective state education systems. Instead, it reshapes the teaching approach and the way knowledge is cultivated in students. Hence, children are able to deepen their knowledge by participating actively and experientially in lessons. At the same time, it helps them to develop judgement-critical thinking.
The PYP actively contributes to a holistic educational experience. Through inquiry and discovery, students, teachers and the school community collaborate and connect old experiences with new ones, deepen knowledge, broaden perceptions and improve the way they understand the social and natural world.
Based on the premise that children are innately curious and creative, with the ability to think critically and reflect, the PYP provides an interesting learning environment, full of opportunities for reflection, inquiry and discovery, linking knowledge with life experiences and connecting it to the surrounding world.
Using prior knowledge and acknowledging each child’s unique traits, the Programme contributes to the holistic development their individual personalities.
For this reason, the essence of all International Baccalaureate® (IB) Programmes centers on the Learner Profile, which is comprised of ten attributes aimed at embracing a lifelong love of learning and the all-round development of the student through the reinforcement of specific approaches to learning skills.
Specifically, children are invited to gradually cultivate a range of social skills, communication skills, thinking skills, research skills, and self-management skills.
Students at a PYP school discover intrinsic motives for learning and are constantly encouraged to expand and enrich their knowledge, to gradually develop the aforementioned skills, and to adopt responsible life attitudes. These three dimensions, after all, reflect the demands of the 21st century. To be able to approach knowledge in an exploratory and interdisciplinary way, to cultivate skills, to develop attitudes, and raise awareness as global citizens.
Actions in which students are involved make them realize and exploit their potential, but also make them feel the need to transform into practice what they have learned. Moreover, students have an opportunity to make choices, have their own voice and gradually take ownership in the learning process.
Thus, the pedagogical process targets and fulfills both the academic and socio-emotional needs of students. Additionally, the benefits of this balanced learning practice ensure a seamless transition to secondary education.
The ultimate goal of the whole process is for students, as critical thinkers and sensitized citizens, to exercise their agency and take responsible action for the benefit of society. To respond effectively in an international environment both now and in the future.
PYP Curriculum Framework
The PYP, like all IB programmes, is based on transdisciplinary education and research, which means that students explore important concepts across all subject areas.
Through a cross-thematic and interdisciplinary approach to the curriculum, the PYP encourages students to discover themselves and their particular skills. It also encourages them to perceive and understand the world around them based on their knowledge and their interests.
This goal is achieved through a programme of inquiry surrounding six transdisciplinary themes listed below. These themes are the prism through which students approach knowledge.
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
Teachers restructure the national curriculum by incorporating these specific cross-thematic units in order to make learning relevant to the real world. Through these transdisciplinary units, students participate effectively in the learning process, work collaboratively, propose and develop ideas, assimilate material empirically, and learn to evaluate situations using judgement and self-assessment.
The transdisciplinary themes organize the body of knowledge into six (6) Transdisciplinary Units of Inquiry per grade level. The selection of topics that students will cover is based on their age-level needs, their interests, and fulfillment of subject matter requirements as defined by the National Curriculum.
The selection of topics and planning involve all teachers of the same grade level. The study of each unit takes anywhere from four to six weeks.
At each grade level, different modules have been selected for implementation according to the planning of each section. The Transdisciplinary Units of Inquiry are incorporated into all subject areas: Greek and English Language, Mathematics, Natural and Social Science, Arts (Theater, Play, Music), Personal and Social Development/Physical Education.
The basic structure of each Unit of Inquiry follows the concept-based learning approach, which is as follows:
Lines of inquiry
Through the above, students are suitably guided to organize knowledge in their own unique way, to discover patterns, common principles, and processes, and to reflect on what they already know and connect it to new situations. Hence, they are better able to understand the every-changing facts and information of the modern world.They develop and share ideas, explore and connect knowledge with real life, and cultivate skills that make them the focus of the learning process. Their role is active and catalytic, thus transforming them into protagonists in the journey of knowledge.