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Home » Primary Years Programme » Essential Elements

Essential Elements

In the PYP a balance is sought between acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, development of conceptual understanding, demonstration of positive attitudes, and taking of responsible action.

  1. KNOWLEDGE: Significant, relevant subject matter that we wish students to explore and know about
  2. CONCEPTS: powerful ideas that are relevant across the disciplines and which students must explore and re-explore in order to develop understanding
  3. SKILLS: Those things the students need to be able to to do to succeed in a challenging world.
  4. ATTITUDES: expressions of fundamental values, beliefs, and feeling about learning, the environment, and people
  5. ACTION: Demonstrations of deeper learning in responsible behavior through positive action and service; a manifestation in practice on the other essential elements

The PYP Skills

As well as ensuring students are knowledgeable in all subject areas, the PYP also incorporates skills. These skills are organized into five key areas and are seen as essential for the development of life-long learners as they are part of the Approaches to learning continuum:
Skill clusters are:

  • Social Skills - including accepting responsibility, respecting others, cooperation, resolving conflict, decision making and adopting a variety of group roles.
  • Communication Skills – including listening, speaking, reading, writing and non verbal communication skills.
  • Thinking Skills – including acquiring knowledge, comprehending, application analysis, synthesis, evaluation, thinking about different points of view and thinking about how we learn.
  • Research Skills – including formulating questions, observing, planning, collecting, organizing, recording and interpreting data, and presenting findings.
  • Self Management Skills – including gross and fine motor skills, special awareness, organization, time management, safety, healthy lifestyles, codes of behaviour and making informed decisions.

The PYP Key Concepts

The PYP includes a set of eight concepts that help to drive the programme and structure inquiry in the transdisciplinary curriculum. They are central to the curriculum and are presented in the form of key questions. It is these questions that shape the unit of inquiry giving it direction and purpose. The concepts have been carefully developed to encourage students to develop further open ended questions and think more broadly and deeply as they develop their inquiries and understandings.

These concepts are:

  • form
  • function
  • causation
  • change
  • connection
  • perspective
  • responsibility
  • reflection

The PYP Action

Taking action is a core component of the programme. Students apply their knowledge to the real world and further develop their sense of commitment, demonstrating they have the power to affect change. Student action can manifest itself in many ways, showing that the children have understood and want to further involve themselves in the learning. Action can be individual, group or class oriented and can take the form of small acts or larger group initiated activities. At KIS PYP students are also involved in many community projects such as SCAD, Plant-a Tree-Foundation and Disaster Relief; they take part in school assemblies and exhibitions. They take learning from inside and outside the classroom, apply it to the real world and share it with others.

The PYP Attitudes

Along with a strong academic programme, the IB PYP (and all other IB programmes) promotes positive attitudes towards learning. We emphasize traits such as respect, tolerance, integrity and confidence and encourage students to reflect, choose wisely and act responsibly with other children and their teachers, as well as the wider community. The IB Learner profile helps students develop these attitudes.

So what does this look like?

There are many different ways of learning and teaching, but what is the best international school in Bangkok for your family's style of learning? To help illustrate what KIS offers, here's an example of what one of our themes looks like. In the theme "How We Organize Ourselves", Grade 3 students may investigate a unit of inquiry relating to The Marketplace. The unit is based around a central idea: "Marketplaces depend on the ability to produce goods and supply services that can be exchanged". Students use the key concepts (in this case function and connection) to develop and ask questions and their skills to inquire and develop understanding. In order to learn about how marketplaces work the students will be required to investigate and research the social, scientific and historical aspects using their library and IT skills. They will need to use their language and communication skills to share their ideas and to record their thoughts. They may be required to use their mathematical skills to create maps, collect data, or make graphs relating to their findings about their community and IT may be used as a means of representing their data. The Arts play a role as students express what they have learned through drama, music and visual expression.  A field trip to an actual marketplace may offer additional understanding and information about the topic. Learning moves across the subject areas and is structured in a way that teaching and learning experiences are significant, relevant, challenging, and purposeful.  The purpose of the units of study is to encourage students to think broadly and deeply as they acquire knowledge. In addition, by focusing their learning on the experiences and challenges shared by others, students are able to develop positive learning attitudes, interact with the world around them and take meaningful action as they develop a deeper understanding and a sense of personal responsibility.

The PYP Exhibition

As part of the Primary Years Programme the students in Grade 5, their final year of the PYP at KIS, are required to organize an exhibition of their learning. The PYP Exhibition is an extended collaborative unit of inquiry which unites the school, teachers, parents and learners in a topic that captures the essence of the IB-PYP.  The subject of the inquiry is related to a real-world issue or problem; it can be local and/or global; it must be sufficient in scope, and significant enough that it warrants an extended investigation.  The students generate relevant and realistic proposals for action and solutions to the issue and in so doing, apply their learning over previous years. The PYP Exhibition is a demanding project that can extend over the year and provides our students with a chance to utilize and demonstrate the PYP skills they have gained over the years at KIS.  The Exhibition is a significant event in the life of the PYP student and the school, and is seen as a rite of passage from Primary into the Middle Years programme; the entire KIS community is encouraged to come and participate in this event and celebrate the students’ success.