IB PYP Curriculum

Listening and speaking are natural, developmental processes that infants and young children are immersed in from their earliest experiences. Almost all children arrive at school with an impressive command of their mother-tongue language. However, the expectations and approach to language development in school is often very different from the successful learning environment the child has previously experienced.

In the transition from home to school, or from one school to another, it is important to acknowledge the language profile of the individual and build on previous learning in ways that are positive and productive.Oral language encompasses all aspects of listening and speaking—skills that are essential for ongoing language development, for learning and for relating to others.

Listening (the receptive mode) and speaking (the expressive mode) work together in a transactional process between listeners and speakers. A balanced programme will provide meaningful and well-planned opportunities for learners to participate as listeners as well as speakers. Listening involves more than just hearing sounds. It requires active and conscious attention in order to make sense of what is heard. Purposeful talk enables learners to articulate thoughts as they construct and reconstruct meaning to understand the world around them.

Oral language involves recognizing and using certain types of language according to the audience and purposes (for example, the language used at home, the language of the classroom, the language of play, the language of inquiry, conversations with peers, giving instructions, interpreting creative texts, the language of fantasy, the language of different generations, of different times and places).

In an inquiry-based learning environment, oral language exposes the thinking of the learner. It is a means by which “inner speech” (Vygotsky 1999) can be communicated and shared to negotiate and construct meaning and develop deeper levels of understanding.

Viewing and presenting are fundamental processes that are historically and universally powerful and significant. The receptive processes (viewing) and expressive processes (presenting) are connected and allow for reciprocal growth in understanding; neither process has meaning except in relation to the other. It is important to provide a balanced programme with opportunities for students to experience both viewing and presenting.

These processes involve interpreting, using and constructing visuals and multimedia in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes and audiences. They allow students to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs.

Visual texts may be paper, electronic or live, observable forms of communication that are consciously constructed to convey meaning and immediately engage viewers, allowing them instant access to data. Examples of visual texts are: advertisements, brochures, computer games and programs, websites, movies, posters, signs, logos, flags, maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, graphic organizers, cartoons and comics. Learning to interpret this data, and to understand and use different media, are invaluable life skills.

Acquiring skills related to information and communication technology (ICT) and visual texts is significant because of their persuasive influence in society. It is important to learn how visual images influence meaning and produce powerful associations that shape the way we think and feel.

Opportunities that invite students to explore the function and construction of images facilitate the process of critically analysing a range of visual texts. Learning to understand and use different visual texts expands the sources of information and expressive abilities of students.

Reading is a developmental process that involves constructing meaning from text. The process is interactive and involves the reader’s purpose for reading, the reader’s prior knowledge and experience, and the text itself. It begins to happen when the young learner realizes that print conveys meaning and becomes concerned with trying to make sense of the marks on the page. The most significant contribution parents and teachers can make to success in reading is to provide a captivating range of picture books and other illustrated materials to share with beginning readers.

Enthusiasm and curiosity are essential ingredients in promoting the desire to read. Children of all ages need to experience and enjoy a wide variety of interesting, informative, intriguing and creative reading materials.

Reading helps us to clarify our ideas, feelings, thoughts and opinions. Literature offers us a means of understanding ourselves and others, and has the power to influence and structure thinking. Well-written fiction provides opportunities for learners to imagine themselves in another’s situation, reflecting on feelings and actions, and developing empathy.

The ability to read and comprehend non-fiction is essential for the process of inquiry. As inquirers, learners need to be able to identify, synthesize and apply useful and relevant information from text. Teachers should provide a balance between fiction and non-fiction, to meet the range of learning needs and interests of their students.

Children learn to read by reading. In order to develop lifelong reading habits, learners need to have extended periods of time to read for pleasure, interest, and information, experiencing an extensive range of quality fiction and non-fiction texts.

As learners engage with interesting and appealing texts, appropriate to their experiences and developmental phase, they acquire the skills, strategies and conceptual understanding necessary to become competent, motivated, independent readers.

Writing is a way of expressing ourselves. It is a personal act that grows and develops with the individual. From the earliest lines and marks of young learners to the expression of mature writers, it allows us to organize and communicate thoughts, ideas and information in a visible and tangible way. Writing is primarily concerned with communicating meaning and intention. When children are encouraged to express themselves and reveal their own “voice”, writing is a genuine expression of the individual.

The quality of expression lies in the authenticity of the message and the desire to communicate. If the writer has shared his or her message in such a way that others can appreciate it, the writer’s intention has been achieved. Over time, writing involves developing a variety of structures, strategies and literary techniques (spelling, grammar, plot, character, punctuation, voice) and applying them with increasing skill and effectiveness. However, the writer’s ability to communicate his or her intention and share meaning takes precedence over accuracy and the application of skills.

Accuracy and skills grow out of the process of producing meaningful communication. Children learn to write by writing. Acquiring a set of isolated skills will not turn them into writers. It is only in the process of sharing their ideas in written form that skills are developed, applied and refined to produce increasingly effective written communication.


Students acquire mathematical understanding by developing their own conceptual understanding through high level thinking skills. Since mathematics is to be used in real-life situations, mathematics needs to be taught in authentic contexts, instead of by directly teaching knowledge to students. Students investigate the following 5 strands to develop their conceptual and practical understanding:

  • Number
  • Shape and Space
  • Pattern and Function
  • Measurement
  • Data handling

Students will discuss, compare and create sets that have subsets; design a survey; and process and interpret the data on a bar graph where the scale represents larger quantities. They will manipulate information in a database. They will find, describe and explain the mode in a set of data and will use probability to determine the outcome of mathematically fair and unfair games.

Students will estimate, measure, label and compare length, mass, time and temperature using formal methods and standard units of measurement. They will determine appropriate tools and units of measurement including the use of small units of measurement for precision (cm, mm, ºC). They will also estimate, measure, label and compare perimeter and area, using non-standard units of measurement. Students will model the addition and subtraction of money and be able to read and write time to the minute and second.

Students will sort, describe and model regular and irregular polygons, including identifying congruency in 2-D shapes. They will combine and transfer 2-D shapes to create another shape. They will identify lines and axes of reflective and rotational symmetry, understand angles as a measure of rotation and locate features on a grid using coordinates.

Students will recognize, describe and analyze patterns in number systems. They will identify patterns and rules for multiplication and division, together with their relationship with addition and subtraction. They will model multiplication as an array and use number patterns to solve problems.

Students will read, write, estimate, count, compare and order numbers to 1000, extending understanding of the base 10 system to the thousands. They will read, write and model multiplication and division problems. They will use and describe multiple strategies to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems, reasonably estimating the answers. They will compare fractions using manipulative, and develop appropriate mathematical vocabulary.

Social Studies

In the PYP, social studies are considered as the study of people in relation to their past, present and future; their environment and society. It triggers curiosity and develops an understanding of a rapidly changing world. Students develop their individual and socio-cultural identities through social studies, as well as the skills and knowledge required to participate actively in their classroom, SIS Community and the world. Our purpose is to provide students with authentic learning tasks to understand the world around them, historical and geographical influences and the changing role of individuals in different contexts.

Human systems and economic activitiesThe study of how and why people construct organizations and systems; the ways in which people connect locally and globally; the distribution of power and authority.
Social organization and cultureThe study of people, communities, cultures and societies; the ways in which individuals, groups and societies interact with each other.
Continuity and change through timeThe study of the relationships between people and events through time; the past, its influences on the present and its implications for the future; people who have shaped the future through their actions.
Human and natural environmentsThe study of the distinctive features that give a place its identity; how people adapt to and alter their environment; how people experience and represent place; the impact of natural disasters on people and the built environment.
Resources and the environmentThe interaction between people and the environment; the study of how humans allocate and manage resources; the positive and negative effects of this management; the impact of scientific and technological developments on the environment.


Students develop approaches to learning in all subjects in PYP. Science also provides opportunities for students to develop their scientific skills and processes listed below.

  • Observe carefully to gather data.
  • Use a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately.
  • Use scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences.
  • Identify or generate a question to identify problem to be explored.
  • Plan and carry out systematic investigations, manipulate variables as necessary.
  • Make and test predictions.
  • Interpret and evaluate data collected in order to draw conclusions.
  • Consider scientific models and applications of these models(including their limitation.
Living thingsThe study of the characteristics, systems and behaviours of humans and other animals, and of plants; the interactions and relationships between and among them, and with their environment.
Earth and spaceThe study of planet Earth and its position in the universe, particularly its relationship with the sun; the natural phenomena and systems that shape the planet and the distinctive features that identify it; the infinite and finite resources of the planet.
Materials and matterThe study of the properties, behaviours and uses of materials, both natural and human-made; the origins of human-made materials and how they are manipulated to suit a purpose.
Forces and energyThe study of energy, its origins, storage and transfer, and the work it can do; the study of forces; the application of scientific understanding through inventions and machines.


In the PYP, arts encompass dance, drama, music and visual arts. Students are encouraged to consider the arts as a means of communication and as an expressive language. PYP believes that learning about and through arts is fundamental to the development of the whole child, promoting creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and social interaction. The arts develop innovative thinking and creative use of technologies, and in so doing prepare students to participate fully in this multifaceted world.

  • Responding
  • Creating

Personal, Social and Physical Education

PSPE in the PYP is concerned with the individual’s well-being through development of concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills. Well-being is related to all aspects of a student’s experience at school and beyond. It involves physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development, and contributes to an understanding of self, to developing and carrying out relationships with others, and to participation in an active, healthy lifestyle.

Physical education in a PYP school should be more than just student participation in sports and games. Its purpose should be to develop a combination of transferable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development; to encourage present and future choices that contribute to long-term healthy living; and to understand the cultural significance of physical activities for individuals and communities. Therefore, in the PYP, there should be specific opportunities for learning about movement and through movement in a range of contexts.

Personal and Social Education (PSE) in the PYP provides the models, processes and values for handling social and personal issues and ensuring health and well-being. Through PSE, students will develop their self-identity, use appropriate social skills when interacting with others in a range of situations, and learn to communicate and manage their feelings, emotions and opinions. PSE is integrated into all areas of the curriculum and helps students develop positive attitudes and behaviors in order to meet challenges, make healthy lifestyle choices and serve as responsible, respectful members of society.