What is the IB Primary Years Program (PYP)?
The PYP is a pedagogical framework and curriculum for learning during the primary or elementary phase of education. At ISC, students will experience the PYP in grades 1-5. The learning objectives of the ISC PYP will come from the Volkschule curriculum in grades 1-4 and the Neue Mittelschule curriculum in grade 5. To internationalize the curriculum, ISC will also supplement the Austrian curriculum with PYP learning objectives. As a rite of passage at the end of the PYP, grade 5 students will work on a long-term project and present it to the community in their PYP Exhibition.
What makes the PYP pedagogical approach unique?
The PYP is a holistic, student-centered program that relies on inquiry as the central approach to learning. Through structured units of inquiry, teachers will invite students to ask questions about concepts under inquiry and challenge them to answer those questions through a variety of different learning strategies with the ultimate goal of linking students’ preexisting knowledge with new and deeper knowledge about the world. During a unit of inquiry, students will follow the inquiry cycle and eventually take action as a result of the new understandings they have developed. This process will allow students to learn at their own pace and in their own unique way. It will also foster an independent approach to learning where students will take responsibility for their education. At ISC, English will be the primary language of instruction.
What will the PYP experience be like at ISC?
Teachers will continuously collaborate to develop ISC’s Program of Inquiry (POI). The POI is the organized scope and sequence of units of inquiry that students will experience from grades 1-5. What blends these units of inquiry together into a coherent curriculum is the concept-based, trans-disciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Students will be challenged to develop a significant understanding of what they learn in a unit of inquiry via the eight key trans-disciplinary concepts at the heart of the PYP:
- Form: What is it like?
- Function: How does it work?
- Causation: Why is it like it is?
- Change: How is it changing?
- Connection: How is it connected to other things?
- Perspective: What are the points of view?
- Responsibility: What is our responsibility?
In each grade level, students will experience six units of inquiry. Each unit of inquiry will have one or two key concepts as a focus to bring the learning to life through 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
The transdisciplinary themes and key concepts allow students to engage the curriculum from local, regional and global perspectives with the ultimate goal of developing international mindedness and a passion for learning.
Within the units of inquiry and in stand-alone units, students will also develop the crucial skills necessary to master the curriculum and be prepared for study in the secondary school. PYP students will experience all the subjects offered in the Austrian curriculum through our Program of Inquiry:
- Languages: English and German
- Social Studies and Religion
- Personal, Social and Physical Education
- Arts (Music, Dance and Visual Arts)
How will students be assessed in the PYP?
In the PYP, assessment is meant to be an opportunity to provide students’ feedback on their learning, not a reward or punishment. Students will engage in many forms of assessment throughout units of inquiry. Some of these will be more traditional summative assessments like written tests or quizzes, while others will be more authentic process-based or project-based assessments. Students will develop portfolios throughout the year to reflect on their own learning throughout the year. At strategic points in the year, parents will be invited to school to engage in student-led conferences where students will discuss their learning process, challenges and achievements. In their final year of PYP, students will develop an exhibition project that will give them the opportunity to complete their own transdisciplinary, inquiry-based exploration into a topic of interest and put all the knowledge, skills, processes and concepts that they have learned in the program to independent use. During the year, students will receive both Austrian-style and IB PYP reports.