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PYP Programme

Picture of students and teacher at the international school of älmhult
picture of students and teachers during sports lesson

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) External link., for students aged 3 to 12, focuses on the development of the whole child, in the classroom but also in the world outside, through other environments where children learn. It offers a framework that meets children's several needs: academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural.

The PYP serves as an excellent introduction to the Middle Years Programme, but it is not a prerequisite for this or for the Diploma Programme.

The programme is a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning with an international curriculum model that provides:
- guidelines for what students should learn
- a teaching methodology
- assessment strategies

After consultation with the International Baccalaureate Organization, and provided certain conditions are met, schools enjoy much flexibility in terms of language of instruction and languages taught.

Teachers and students use key questions that are concept-based to structure the units of inquiry.

They acquire and apply transdisciplinary skills while developing an understanding of these important concepts. The development of explicit attitudes and the expectation of socially responsible behaviour are also essential elements of the programme.

View our parent induction presentation Powerpoint, 3.8 MB. (Powerpoint, 3.8 MB) for the PYP 1 parents.

PYP Program

The PYP defines the characteristics of students who are aware of and sensitive to the experiences of others. These create a profile of the PYP student, which helps teachers and students to establish goals, plan units of inquiry, and assess performance: 



Their natural curiosity has been nurtured. They have acquired the skills necessary to conduct purposeful, constructive research. They actively enjoy learning and their love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.



They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to make sound decisions and to solve complex problems. 



They receive and express ideas and information  confidently in more than one language, including the language of mathematical symbols.


Risk takers

They approach unfamiliar situations without anxiety and have the confidence and independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are courageous and articulate in defending those things in which they believe.



They have spent time in school exploring themes which have global relevance and importance. In doing so, they have acquired a critical mass of significant knowledge.



They have a sound grasp of the principles of moral reasoning. They have integrity, honesty and a sense of fairness and justice.



They show sensitivity towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a sense of personal commitment to action and service.



They respect the views, values and traditions of other individuals and cultures, and they are accustomed to seeking and considering a range of points of view.



They understand the importance of physical and mental balance and personal well-being.



They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and analyse their personal strengths and weaknesses in a constructive manner.

The curriculum

At the centre of the PYP curriculum are five essential elements: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and action. The aim of the programme is to help students acquire a holistic understanding of six main themes, shown on the outside of the curriculum model, through the interrelatedness of these essential elements. 

The PYP identifies a body of knowledge for all students in all cultures, in six subject areas:

  • language
  • social studies
  • mathematics
  • science and technology
  • arts
  • personal, social and physical education.

In the spirit of internationalism students are required to learn a second language in addition to the language of instruction of the school.


Six transdisciplinary themes

The essential elements at the centre of the curriculum model are developed and applied in a context defined by the six transdisciplinary themes:

  • 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 and students from the school assess student work; there are no examinations or external moderation of student work by the IBO. There are two types of assessment:



- Formative

This is interwoven with daily learning and helps teachers and students find out what the students already know in order to plan the next stage of learning. Formative assessment and teaching are directly linked; neither can function effectively or purposefully without the other.



- Summative

This happens at the end of the teaching and learning process. It gives the students opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned.


The PYP requires that individual portfolios of student achievement be kept, as an important mechanism for documenting progress. Students aged 10 to 12, in the final year of the programme, are expected to participate in a culminating project, the PYP exhibition. This is designed to demonstrate their proficiencies in all areas of the programme.

Please see a detailed version of our PYP assessment policy here. Pdf, 496.3 kB. (Pdf, 496.3 kB)

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