International Baccalaureate | PYP Program

The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (‘PYP’) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.


The PYP encourages students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.  


The PYP is a transdisciplinary, inquiry-based and student-centred education with responsible action at its core.


The PYP curriculum framework begins with the premise that PYP students are agents of their own learning and partners in the learning process. They have innate potential to inquire, question, wonder and theorize about themselves, others, and the world around them. When learning communities recognize children’s emergent identities and competencies, they create an educational context that values children both for who they are in the present and who they will become in the future. 


This understanding of how students learn is foundational to the inquiry-based and concept-driven transdisciplinary model of learning and teaching. Through engaging with the programme of inquiry and reflecting on their learning, PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and the attributes of the IB Learner profile to make a difference in their own lives, their communities, and beyond. They demonstrate the agility and imagination to respond to new and unexpected challenges and opportunities and to take actions for a better and more peaceful world.



A Transdisciplinary Curriculum Framework


The PYP curriculum framework centres on transdisciplinary learning as the curriculum organizer for students to experience learning between, across and beyond traditional subject boundaries. It is an in-depth guide to authentic inquiry-based learning and teaching that is engaging, significant, challenging and relevant. Teachers plan for opportunities to incorporate traditional disciplines, such as Maths and English, to be taught authentically through the programme of inquiry.


Conceptual Understanding 


Concept-based inquiry is a powerful vehicle for learning that promotes meaning and understanding, and challenges students to engage with significant ideas. This is central to the Primary Years Programme (PYP) philosophy. A concept-driven curriculum is the means through which students develop their conceptual understandings. Students co-construct beliefs and mental models about how the world works based on their experiences and prior learning. They integrate new knowledge with their existing knowledge and apply these understandings in a variety of new contexts. They learn to recognize patterns and see the connections between discrete examples to strengthen conceptual understandings.  When constructing a Unit of Inquiry, teachers consider which of the PYP concepts will connect with the unit to enable students to continue to develop their conceptual understanding.  Students at Milgate are given opportunities to consider the PYP concepts in all areas of the curriculum.


Programme of Inquiry


Students undertake six units of inquiry each academic year. The units of inquiry are undertaken under the transdisciplinary themes of: 

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organise ourselves 
  • Sharing the planet

The themes capture human commonalities that are significant and relevant across cultures, geographic regions and student learning stages.  


Each unit of inquiry is created with a central idea, lines of inquiry 

  • a central idea— the primary conceptual lens that frames the transdisciplinary unit of inquiry and support students’ conceptual understandings of the transdisciplinary theme under which it is situated
  • concepts—key and related concepts that support higher-order thinking and provide lenses for considering knowledge related to the central idea in a range of ways
  • lines of inquiry—statements that define the potential scope of an inquiry.

Traditional subjects play an important role in planning transdisciplinary units of inquiry. They can determine, support, enrich and connect learning.


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The Learner - The Learner Profile


The aim of all IB programmes is for students to develop and demonstrate international-mindedness. It is a multifaceted concept that captures a way of thinking, being and acting. Internationally minded students are open to others and to the world, and are cognizant of our deep interconnectedness (IB 2017).


The attributes of the learner profile represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that encompass intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth. The development and demonstration of these attributes are foundational to students becoming internationally minded, active and caring community members who respect themselves, others and the world around them.



Year 6 Exhibition

Learning in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) provides many formal and informal opportunities for students to demonstrate how they have developed and applied their knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and learner profile attributes through the inquiries they undertake. 


In the PYP exhibition, students demonstrate their understanding of an issue or opportunity they have chosen to explore. They undertake their investigation both individually and with their peers, together with the guidance of a mentor. Through the exhibition, students demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their learning—and their capacity to take action—as they are actively engaged in planning, presenting and assessing learning.


The exhibition is a powerful demonstration of student agency, as well as the agency of the community that has nurtured them through their years in the PYP. The learning community participates in the exhibition, supporting and celebrating the development of internationally minded students who make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.


(The information provided here was sourced from


If you would like further information:


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