The Primary Years Programme (PYP) covers grades 1 to 4.
At the heart of the PYP is the learner profile. This profile provides us with a definition of international mindedness and clear learning aims both for lesson times and other times at school.
The PYP is a "programme of international education designed to foster the development of the whole child. (www.ibo.org/pyp) It is the curriculum framework for all of the work which we do in Grades 1 to 4. We learn the subject specific requirements of the Finnish curriculum within the PYP's framework of the essential elements of knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action.
In the PYP, knowledge is primarily taught in a holistic way. We learn knowledge through our units of inquiry where different subjects are used to help us better understand central ideas found in our units. Knowledge, however, is also taught through the study of individual subjects.
We teach a concept driven curriculum in the PYP. Concepts are taught through the use of both teacher and student questions. At the beginning of a unit of inquiry teacher questions such as, "How does this work?" or "What is my responsibility?" are asked with the children as a way of allowing children themselves to ask questions related to their unit. Such questions then form the basis for further learning for children and often for teachers as well! Children are encouraged to work on their questions at home as well as at school.
Skills in the PYP are those which allow children to better conduct inquiry. They include, for example, learning how to communicate, how to research and how to manage time. The skills which children develop in school are ones that will help their learning within units of inquiry, within individual subjects and hopefully in their life beyond school.
We aim to develop different attitudes in the children such as appreciation and empathy. Many of these attitudes are developed through the work which we do in our units of inquiry. The attitudes which we aim to develop relate to people, the environment and to learning.
An important belief in the PYP is that from the things which the children learn about action can be taken. The aim is that action will come from the children themselves rather than being imposed on them from outside. In this way action is likely to genuine and long lasting. An example of action which children took as a result of a Grade 2 unit of inquiry is that they reduced the amount of waste which they produced at school. Since action which children take may occur outside of the school, teachers would love to hear from parents of any action which has been taken by children as a result of the learning within the school.