Primary Years Programme

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is the curriculum framework used to provide an educational approach for the youngest learners at MIS from Early Years 1, (three years old) to P5, (ten to eleven year olds). The PYP is a separately authorized section of MIS by the International Baccalaureate Organisation, which is dedicated to providing a world-wide international education for students of all ages. It is the first part of the IB continuum.

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a concept based, inquiry-driven curriculum framework. The PYP strives for a balance between the search for understanding, the acquisition of essential knowledge and approaches to learning (skills), the development of positive attitudes and the opportunity for impactful action.

In terms of achieving this balance, the PYP emphasizes four components:

  • Concepts – Powerful ideas which have relevance within and across the disciplines and which learners must explore and re-explore in order to deepen understanding
  • Approaches to learning – Skills the learners need to be able to succeed in a changing, challenging world such as thinking, research, social, communication and self-management skills.
  • Knowledge – Significant, relevant, subject matter.
  • Action – Taking positive action within and beyond our community.

The PYP programme model shows all the elements that combine to form the coherent curriculum framework.



Agency is developing the capacity through skills and mindset to make a difference. At MIS, we unleash student agency through providing choices in their learning engagements, ensuring their voice is heard and incorporated in designing their learning pathways, and setting and tracking personal learning goals to develop ownership of their learning journey.

Central to all 3 IB programmes and part of the MIS guiding statements, the 10 attributes of the Learner Profile guide and shape our community’s culture.

Learner Profile Attributes

Approaches to learning

The Approaches to Learning (ATL) or skills are the building blocks of learning. They support purposeful inquiry and result in life- long learning.

The PYP has an approach to learning where all the subjects are utilized as tools to build in-depth conceptual understandings and gain knowledge. It affords learners at MIS a broad, balanced, conceptual, and connected learning experience.

The PYP is delivered through Units of Inquiry. All the Units of Inquiry at all grade levels make up the Programme of Inquiry (POI). See the MIS 2023-24 Programme of Inquiry. They draw together elements of different disciplines into a meaningful whole. Key concepts drive this inquiry. The PYP also identifies the range of transdisciplinary themes learners need to explore.

Transdisciplinary learning

Transdisciplinary themes

Defined by the IB, the 6 PYP transdisciplinary themes provide an authentic context for students to learn increasingly complex ideas about themselves and the world around them. We explore units of inquiry through these themes.

An overarching statement that frames our Unit of Inquiry. It is a big idea/concept that is not bound by time or location and has relevance to the life of our learners and invites inquiry.

Central idea

Lines of inquiry

These guide the learners as they explore the central idea and provide opportunities to explore multiple perspectives.

By combining ATL and the attributes of the learner profile, MIS students become self-regulated learners. Self-regulated learners are agents of their own learning. At MIS, we use an inquiry-based philosophy, where learners ask questions that drive their learning. They are encouraged to explore multi-pathways to find answers to their wonderings. There is a strong emphasis on developing a growth mindset and understanding that our mistakes are opportunities for growth.

Self-regulated learners


MIS firmly believes that meaningful learning leads to authentic and mindful action. It is strongly linked to agency and happens within and beyond the school.

Action includes:
• Participation – working collaboratively
• Advocacy – supporting peers in the learning community
• Social Justice – exploring issue from different perspectives
• Social entrepreneurship – designing projects that address a local or global issue  Lifestyle choice – engaging in responsible and  sustainable consumption

Language is a tool through which we interact with our world and develop our conceptual understandings.

MIS is committed to developing confident communicators who can express themselves in more than one language. We promote the use of translanguaging to allow students to access concepts in their first language and deepen their understanding.

Language learning

Central Features of the Early Years

The early years environment at MIS is driven by a firm commitment to play-based learning. We incorporate aspects of Reggio Emilia ensuring our young learners have the time and resources to explore their ideas and develop their conceptual understandings.

View our MIS e-picture book to further explore the early years.

Our Early Years is committed to play-based, personal inquiries. We maximise the use of our campus by promoting outdoor learning and connections with nature. The EY teachers are all specialists in early years education and have many years of experience.

Early learning spaces

Play as inquiry

Research in recent years has further confirmed that PLAY is not only the natural way in which we learn but also the most effective and efficient.
Play is the work of young learners, and they explore, test, reevaluate, and re-test their conceptual understandings in a personalised environment.

Although our subjects are transdisciplinary and integrate through units of inquiry, we offer the following subjects in the PYP at MIS.


Programme of Inquiry.

How is the Curriculum structured?

The PYP is delivered through Units of Inquiry. All the Units of Inquiry at all grade levels make up the Programme of Inquiry (POI). See the MIS 2022-23 Programme of Inquiry. They draw together elements of different disciplines into a meaningful whole. Key concepts drive this inquiry. The PYP also identifies the range of transdisciplinary themes learners need to explore.

Transdisciplinary Themes

  • Who we are

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

  • Where we are in place and time

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; then relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

  • How we express ourselves

An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

  • How the world works

An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

  • How we organise ourselves

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

  • Sharing the planet

An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

In the Early Years, students have 4 Units of Inquiry per year.

In P1 to P5, they have all 6 Units of Inquiry each year.


“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. Purposeful inquiry is supported by a concept-based curriculum.” (IBO, 2018)

The Concepts underpin student inquiries and can be applied and adopted as learners deepen and develop their understandings during the units.



The Key Concepts

  • 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?

Approaches to Learning (ATL) – When learning about and through subject areas, learners acquire particular skills that define the disciplines. For example, when developing math and language knowledge, concepts and skills are essential as these underpin successful inquiry.

The following are the broad skill headings, which are underpinned with further sub-skills:

  • Thinking skills
  • Social skills
  • Communication skills
  • Self-management skills
  • Research skills


The PYP and MIS believes that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitude but also thoughtful and appropriate action.

In our school, it is believed that every learner, in every year group, has the right and should have the opportunity to be involved in voluntary, purposeful and beneficial action. This action can be taken by an individual learner or by a group of learners working collaboratively and will clearly look different within each age range.

Therefore we endeavour to offer all our learners the opportunity and the power to choose to act, and to decide on their actions in order to make a difference to a local, national or global issue. The PYP recognizes that action takes many forms which include, but are not limited to participation, advocacy, social justice, social entrepreneurship and lifestyle choices. In addition, action can be teacher-led, driven by student’s ideas, the entire class taking the same action or all learners taking different actions.

More often than not, action may not be witnessed by the teacher in school, but rather happens beyond the classroom.

An example: Action beyond the classroom

A parent reports to a teacher that her 4-year-old child has taken action at home after having been on a school excursion to a recycling station/sewage treatment plant/centre.

Parent: On your trip did the children learn about water conservation?

Teacher: It was one component of our investigations. Why do you ask?

Parent: Because during the weekend I was starting the shower for my son. He ran out of the room and came back with a bucket and put it in the shower. When I asked him what he was doing, he replied, “I’m catching the water that is not hot enough yet for my shower, so I can save it and give the garden a drink after my shower.”

Teacher: That’s really interesting. He is taking action as a result of what he learned. Please let me know if this continues and if you notice anything else.

For every Unit of Inquiry, parents and guardians receive a unit flyer that contains the main elements of the unit. It also includes details on any integrated or stand-alone subjects as well as suggestions to extend learning beyond the classroom to home with resources and ideas to support the unit.


Through both Units of Inquiry and through stand-along specialist subjects, learners engage with learning in the following subject areas. Click on each one to find out more about learning in that area.  

Social Studies




The Arts

Physical Education

Information and Communication Technology



The PYP Exhibition represents a significant event in the life of a PYP student, the PYP school and our entire learning community.

In the student’s final year of the PYP at MIS (P5), the learners have 5 Units of Inquiry and the Exhibition. The Exhibition unit can take place under any transdisciplinary theme and at MIS this is decided on by the PYP teaching team and P5 learners.

Our learners are required to engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems. As the IB states, “The exhibition is an authentic process for learners to explore, document and share their understanding of an issue or opportunity of personal significance.” (IBO, 2018)

As a culminating experience, it is an opportunity for our learners to exhibit their understanding of the programme, including the role of the IB Learner Profile attributes. The PYP Exhibition is the first in a series of culminating tasks for each of the three IB Programmes, followed by the Middle Years Personal Project and the Diploma Extended Essay.


This is the culmination of the PYP learning journey in P5. The learners draw on all their ATL skills, LP, conceptual understandings and knowledge to pursue a personal inquiry that includes action and to present it to the MIS community.

Please see the video announcing the 2022-23 Exhibition.


The PYP exhibition has a number of key purposes:

  • for learners to engage in an in-depth, collaborative inquiry
  • to provide learners with an opportunity to demonstrate agency and responsibility for their learning
  • to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate the attributes of the learner profile in authentic contexts
  • to provide learners with an opportunity to explore multiple perspectives
  • to provide an authentic process for students to monitor, document and present their learning
  • to provide students with an opportunity to synthesize and apply their learning
  • for students to take action as a result of their learning




  • to unite the students, teachers and other members of the learning community in a collaborative experience
  • to provide an authentic context for students to reflect on their PYP education
  • to support the well-being of students by celebrating their transition to the next stages of their education
  • to provide an authentic task for the community to evaluate its implementation of the PYP
  • to provide students with an opportunity to engage with the broader learning community and celebrate their achievements. (IBO, 2018)

The following IB PYP image depicts what students have been practicing throughout their PYP journey and what they will demonstrate through the Exhibition process, the culminating learning experience of the PYP.

Further information on the curriculum can be found in the  Student-parent Handbook

Works Cited:

  • International Baccalaureate Organization. 5 Ways You Could Support Your Child as a PYP Parent. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2020,
  • International Baccalaureate Organization. “Digital Toolkit.” International Baccalaureate, n.d.,
  • “PYP: From Principles into Practice.”, International Baccalaureate Organization, Oct. 2019,
  • “The Early Years in the PYP: Early Learning and Teaching.”, International Baccalaureate Organization, Oct. 2021,