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Essential Elements of the PYP

When we think of school, we often think of subjects like math, science, or reading. These subjects all a part of the PYP model, but the focus moves beyond just content to building well-rounded individuals who can contribute to their local and global communities.  The key components of the PYP curriculum framework are Knowledge (through the subjects), Conceptual Understandings, Skills (Approaches to Learning), and Action and Engagement.


There are six transdisciplinary themes students will investigate throughout the school year. These themes are globally significant and cover concepts that are interconnected, can be addressed in all disciplines (subjects), and can be applied to real life.

  • 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

Key Concepts

There are seven key concepts that drive instructions through inquiry, questions, and investigation.

  • ​​Form - What is it like?

  • Function - How does it work?

  • Causation - Why is it how it is?

  • Change - How is it transforming?

  • Connection - How is it linked to other things?

  • Perspective – What are the points of view?

  • Responsibility – What are our obligations?

Skills (Approaches to Learning)

There are five transdisciplinary skills and associated subskills students develop as they involve themselves in the learning environment:

  • Thinking Skills

  • Research Skills

  • Self-management Skills

  • Communication Skills

  • Social Skills

Action and Engagement

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 exploring and learning about themselves and the world in which they live. Demonstrations of action include participation, advocacy, social justice,
social entrepreneurship, or lifestyle choices.

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