The Early Years School and Primary School Curriculum (3-12 Years Old)

The Five Essential Elements of the PYP

1. Knowledge – The PYP has identified six transdisciplinary themes, which help to organize the six Units of Inquiry (UOI) at each grade level. These themes are overarching, from Nursery to Grade 5. The UOIs then define the more specific content to be explored under each theme at each grade level. Altogether, the units combined that make up the entire framework of units programme-wide is called the Programme of Inquiry (POI).

 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

2. Concepts – There are eight fundamental concepts expressed as key questions, which drive inquiry and research. They also have relevance within and across all subject areas (transdisciplinary).

  • What is it like? FORM
  • How does it work? FUNCTION
  • How is it connected to other things? CONNECTION
  • How is it connected to other things? PERSPECTIVE
  • What is our responsibility? RESPONSIBILITY
  • How do we know? REFLECTION
  • Why is it like this? CAUSATION
  • How is it changing? CHANGE

3. Skills – There are five sets of transdisciplinary skills acquired in the inquiry process, known as the Approaches to Learning (ATL). The IB ATLs refer to the skills students develop when they are learning how to learn and think effectively, and how to process information and manage their emotions. The intention of the ATLs is to develop self-regulated (self-managed, self-directed, independent) learners through skills based, process-focused teaching.


IB Approach to Learning

PYP Transdisciplinary Skills Set


Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, Viewing, Presenting, Non-Verbal Communication


Accepting Responsibility, Respecting Others, Cooperation, Resolving Conflict, Group decision-making, Adopting a variety of group roles.

Self Management

Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Spatial Awareness, Organization, Time Management, Safety, Health Lifestyle, Codes of Behavior, Informed Choices.


Formulating questions, Observations, Planning, Collecting Data, Recording Data, Organizing Data, Interpreting Data, Presenting Research findings.


Acquisition of Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation and Dialectical thought, Metacognition.

4. Attitudes
– The PYP promotes attitudes that we want our students to feel, value and demonstrate.

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


5. Action – IB includes action as an essential element because we believe that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include thoughtful and appropriate action. An expectation is that inquiry and the learning process will naturally lead a student to initiate principled, responsible action. As stated by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), “Effective action does not need to be grandiose. On the contrary, it begins at the most immediate and basic level: with the self; within the family; within the classroom, the hallways and on the playground. Effective action can be a demonstration of a sense of responsibility and respect for self, others and the environment” (Making the PYP Happen: A curricular framework for international education, p. 26). It must also be noted that our goal is to elicit authentic student action. Action that is truly student-initiated out of a sense of responsibility and respect mentioned above, than teacher guided.

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