What Is the Primary Years Programme?

     The Primary Years Programme aims to synthesize the best research and practice from a range of national systems to create a transdisciplinary curriculum which is relevant, challenging and engaging for learners in the 3-12 age range. PYP explicitly states the need for the development of not only knowledge but also appropriate concepts, skills and attitudes. Rather than specifying areas of knowledge to be covered, it sets out to create an ethos where learners and teachers alike are actively engaged in inquiry; it strives towards developing an international person, a person who meets the following learning outcomes:


Student Learning Outcomes


In PYP, the school?s curriculum includes all the student activities, academic and non-academic, for which the school takes responsibility, since all they have an impact on student learning. PYP strives for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for positive action. In terms of achieving this balance, PYP emphasises five essential elements of the curriculum:

Essential Elements

  1. Concepts
  2. Knowledge
  3. Skills
  4. Attitudes
  5. Action

Concepts: What do we want the students to understand?
There is a set of eight concepts in the curriculum: These concepts are:


Knowledge: What do we want the students know about ?
Rather than designing a fixed syllabus, PYP has set out to identify themes - areas of knowledge- which:

have significance for all students, all cultures;
offer students the opportunity to explore knowledge which is of genuine importance in understanding the human condition;
address the fields of knowledge which form the traditional disciplines but present these in a way which transcends these disciplines, thus facilitating transdisciplinary planning and teaching;
will be revisited throughout the students? years of schooling, the end result being an articulated curriculum content, from pre-kindergarden to secondary school. These themes as well as the student learning outcomes, provide the organizing structure for the school?s framework of content, or programme of inquiry.

The ORGANIZING THEMES around which knowledge is organized in PYP are:

Who we are
An inquiry into: An exploration of the nature of the self; of our beliefs and values; of our personal health: physical, mental, social, spiritual; of our families, friends, communities and cultures; of our rights and responsibilities; of what it means to be human. Where we are in place and time
An inquiry into: An exploration of our orientation in place and time; of our personal histories and geographies; of history and geography from local and global perspectives; of our homes and journeys- actual and spiritual; of the greater journeys of humankind- the discoveries, explorations and migrations; of human achievements and the contributions of individuals and civilizations; of the descent and ascent of humankind; of the state of the race.

How we express ourselves
An inquiry into: An exploration of the ways in which we discover and express our nature, ideas, feelings, beliefs and values through language and arts.

How the world works
An inquiry into: An exploration of the physical and material world; of natural and human-made phenomena; of the world of science and technology.

How we organize ourselves
An inquiry into: An exploration of human systems and communities; of the world of work, its nature and its value; of employment and unemployment and their impact, both personal and global.

Sharing the planet
An inquiry into: An exploration of our rights and responsibilities as we strive to share finite resources with other people, with other species; of individuals and communities, human and animal; of the relationships within and among them.

Skills: What Do We Want The Students To Be Able To Do ?
The search for understanding is essential to the beliefs of PYP. However, the emphasis on the development of conceptual understanding does not preclude a recognition of the importance of developing skills. The construction of meaning and, therefore, understanding is complemented by the students? acquiring and applying a range of skills. These skills are best developed in the context of meaningful situations such as those offered by PYP?s units of inquiry.

In order to conduct purposeful inquiry and in order to be well prepared for further education and for life beyond school, students need to master a whole range of skills beyond those normally referred to as basic. These include skills which transcend the individual disciplines.


Social Skills

Accepting responsibility
Respecting others
Resolving conflict
Group decision making
Adopting a variety of group roles

Research Skills

Formulating questions
Collecting data
Recording data
Organising data
Interpreting data
Presenting research findings

Thinking Skills

Acquisition of knowledge
Dialectical thought

Communication Skills

Non-verbal communication

Self-Management Skills

Gross motor skills
Fine motor skills
Spatial awareness
Time management
Healthy life style
Codes of behavior
Informed choices

Attitudes: What Do We Want The Students To Feel ?
While recognising the importance of concepts, knowledge and skills, PYP believes that these alone do not make an internationally educated person. It is vital that we also focus on the development of positive attitudes towards the environment and towards learning. PYP does not believe it effective to rely on these attitudes? being fostered in an implicit way, as some form of hidden curriculum. It is essential that we address them consciously, professionally and explicitly within the written curriculum, that we design activities which promote positive attitudes and that we consider attitudes when we are designing assessment strategies.

What attitudes does PYP suggest that schools should encourage?

We want students to develop:


Action: How We Want The Students To Act ?
PYP believes that international education must extend beyond intellectual attainment to include not only responsible attitudes but also thoughtful and appropriate action. Schools can and should meet the challenge of offering all learners the opportunity and the power to choose their actions, to act and to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in and to the world.

PYP believes that very student, every year, has the right and the duty to be involved in such action.

At TAŞ Private Elementary School, the Primary Yeas Programme is taught with sensitivity to the framework of National Curriculum requirements. The fact that PYP is an international programme does not prevent us in any way from raising in a secular fashion young people who are in tune with their own language and culture.

Even though there is subject matter which is compulsory all the topics stipulated by the ministry are covered in a spirit of trans-disciplinary inquiry. Ministry units of work are woven into school?s programme of inquiry, around the six PYP themes to ensure that at all times our children are seeking the answers to the big questions in life rather than merely trying to memorize knowledge for its own sake.

In this way, Ministry of Education obligations are seen as the minimum requirement, upon which with the help of PYP a richer and stronger fabric of meaning can be woven.