PYP Curriculum Framework

PYP Curriculum Framework

The aim of the PYP, to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant, is achieved through structured inquiry and the development of five essential elements: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action.

To achieve a balance in learning, the PYP emphasizes the five parts of the curriculum, known as the Essential Elements of the curriculum. These five elements are KNOWLEDGE, CONCEPTS, SKILLS, ATTITUDES and ACTION.

Knowledge: What do we want our students to know?

While the PYP acknowledges the importance of traditional subject areas (language, mathematics, social studies, science, personal, social and physical education, and arts), it also recognizes the importance of acquiring a set of skills in context and of exploring content which transcends the boundaries of the traditional subjects and is relevant to students. The PYP has six transdisciplinary themes that provide the framework for learning. These themes are globally significant and support acquiring traditional subjects' knowledge, concepts and skills. They are revisited throughout the student’s time in the PYP.

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 cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Where we are in place and time

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and 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 natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; 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.

Concepts: What do we want our students to understand?

PYP is committed to a concept-driven curriculum as a means of supporting inquiry, learning and teaching. The key concepts are taught explicitly and implicitly through the unit of inquiry and are assessed throughout the unit to ensure students develop their understanding of each concept.


What is it like? The understanding that everything has a form with recognizable features that can be observed, identified, described and categorized.


How does it work? The understanding that everything has a purpose, a role or a way of behaving that can be investigated.


Why is it like it is? The understanding that things do not just happen, that there are causal relationships at work and that actions have consequences.


How is it changing? The understanding that change is the process of movement from one state to another. It is universal and inevitable.


How is it connected to other things? The understanding that we live in a world of interacting systems in which the actions of any individual element affect others.


What are the points of view? The understanding that knowledge is moderated by perspectives; different perspectives lead to different interpretations, understandings and findings; perspectives may be individual, group, cultural or disciplinary


What is our responsibility? The understanding that people make choices based on their understandings, and the actions they take as a result do make a difference.


How do we know? The understanding that there are different ways of knowing and that it is important to reflect on our conclusions, to consider our methods of reasoning and the quality and reliability of the evidence we have considered.

In addition to the above key concepts, children will inquire into related concepts in all curriculum areas. Instead of simply gaining knowledge and skills in mathematics, they will deepen their understanding of concepts such as pattern, multiplication, and place value.

Skills: What do we want students to be able to do?

The approaches to learning develop cognitive and metacognitive skills, which are transferable to different types of learning and school contexts. When combined with the learner profile, the development of the approaches to learning will help students learn how to learn and become self-regulated, active, and agentic learners. ARIS believes that future education is dependent on building skills that students can use within and outside the classroom regardless of the content area they are exploring. The ATL skills are 5 categories of interrelated skills and associated subskills that support students of all ages to become self-regulated learners. The five ATL skill categories are:



Thinking skills

Critical thinking, creative thinking, information transfer, reflection, and metacognition

Social skills 

Collaboration, social and emotional intelligence

Communication skills 

Literacy, exchanging information, ICT

Self-management skills 

Organization, self-awareness

Research skills

Information literacy, media, digital literacy and digital citizenship

Attitudes: What do we want students to feel, value, and demonstrate?

The Primary School encourages attitudes and behaviours that contribute to the well-being of the individual and of the group. Students develop personal attitudes towards people, the environment and learning. At ARIS we encourage appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance.


Action: How do we want the students to act?

Students at ARIS  are encouraged to take action as a result of their learning. Action can be a demonstration of a sense of responsibility and respect for themselves, others and the environment. Action usually begins in a small way but arises from genuine concern and commitment. Action as a result of learning often happens beyond the classroom, and teachers at ISGR are always keen to know about actions that the students take outside of school!