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IB Primary Years Programme

Students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 study the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP).

This curriculum framework is the foundational programme in the IB continuum and is appropriate for a range of learning styles. Teachers examine local and global issues with students, as children are prepared for the challenges of the future.

In each grade level, the framework is organized around six transdisciplinary themes which allow teachers to develop a rigorous and relevant programme of inquiry. The themes inform instructional design and build a continuum of inquiry about the world from grade to grade. Students are actively engaged in co-creating these units of inquiry.

PYP 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

Students also have significant input in this process.

At the end of the programme, students present their work in the PYP Showcase, a collaborative project where they choose issues to explore and share their understanding.

The earlier students begin studying the IB the better; however, they can enter at any point in their school career.


The final year of the PYP ends with a student-initiated exhibition where students showcase their work. The collaborative design process leading up to this event is one that allows students to explore, document and share their understanding of an issue of personal significance.

Previous exhibition topics include:

  • The housing crisis
  • Waste and recycling 
  • Rising sea levels
  • Global population trends
  • Emerging infectious diseases 
  • Invasive species

    Through the PYP Exhibition, students demonstrate their agency as learners while collaboratively exploring issues of global significance.

    — Marcie Lewis ’03, PYP Coordinator