There are five essential elements to the IB PYP curriculum. These are Concepts, Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes and Action. The table below introduces what each of them means.

Concepts What ideas do we want students to explore?
Skills What do students need to be able to succeed in a changing world?
Knowledge What significant relevant subjects matter do we want students to know?
Attitudes What fundamental values, feelings and beliefs do we want students to have?
Action How do we want students to act?

Source: Iborganization. "Written Curriculum." International Baccalaureate®, 2005,

The First Essential Element: Knowledge

The PYP has six transdisciplinary themes that students investigate throughout the school year. These themes are globally significant and support the acquisition of concepts that are interconnected. The themes can be addressed in all subject areas, and can be applied to real life. They capture human commonalities that are significant and relevant across cultures, geographic regions, and student learning stages.

Who We Are Inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; person, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; and human relationships.
Where We Are in Place and Time Inquiry into our orientation in place and time; personal histories; the discoveries and explorations of humankind; and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations.
How We Express Ourselves Inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values.
How We Organise Ourselves Inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; and their impact on humankind and the environment.
How the World Works Inquiry into the natural world and its laws, the interaction between the natural world and human societies; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
Sharing the Planet Inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and other living things; access to equal opportunities; and peace and conflict resolution.

Source: Iborganization. "PYP for Parents." International Baccalaureate®, 2005,

The Second Essential Element: Skills

The world in which we live is constantly changing and evolving. We, therefore, need to equip our students with sets of relevant skills that help them to thrive and adapt in any profession, challenges or situations they find themselves in.

The PYP identifies five categories of interrelated skills, that are referred to as Approaches To Learning (ATL), that aim to support the learning of students of all ages.

ATL supports the IB belief that a large influence on a student’s education is not only what you learn but also how you learn. They are intrinsically linked with the attributes of the IB learner profile, aiming to enhance student learning and assist student preparation for life after high school.

The Third Essential Element: Key Concepts

Concepts represent ideas that are broad, abstract, timeless and universal. The IB recognises eight key concepts that drive instructions through inquiry, questions, and investigation. The eight key concepts are as follows:

Form What is it like?
Function How does it work?
Change How is it changing?
Causation Why is it like this?
Connection How is it connected to other things?
Perceptive What are the points of view?
Responsibility What is our responsibility?
Reflection How do we know?

The Fourth Essential Element: Attitudes

There are twelve attitudes we want students to value and exhibit. They are interwoven throughout every aspect of the curriculum.

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

The Fifth Essential Element: Action

Students are encouraged to reflect, to make informed choices and to take action that will help their peers, school staff, and the wider community.

These are student initiated responses to what they are understanding and learning about themselves and the world in which they live.


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