PYP Curriculum framework

Inquiry Based Learning

The leading pedagogical approach of the PYP is recognized as allowing students to be actively involved in their own learning and to take responsibility for that learning. Inquiry is the process that moves the student to a new and deeper level of understanding. It involves the synthesis, analysis and manipulation of knowledge, whether through play or through more formally structured learning. Inquiry can take many forms including:

  • Exploring, wondering and questioning

  • Making connections between previous learning and current learning

  • Collecting data and reporting findings

  • Making and testing theories

  • Deepening understanding through the application of a concept

  • Researching and seeking information

  • Taking and defending a position

  • Solving problems in a variety of ways


Knowledge - What do we want students to know?

While the PYP acknowledges the importance of traditional subject areas (language, mathematics, social studies, science, personal, social and physical education, and arts), it also recognizes the importance of acquiring a set of skills in context and of exploring content which transcends the boundaries of the traditional subjects and is relevant to students. The PYP has six transdisciplinary themes that provide the framework for learning. These themes are globally significant and support the acquisition of knowledge, concepts and skills of the traditional subjects.

The PYP 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; the 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 organize 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 of 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 relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.


* Only four transdisciplinary themes (Units of Inquiry) need to be addressed during the year for 3–5 year olds (early childhood)

Concepts - What do we want students to understand?

PYP there is a commitment to a concept-driven curriculum as a means of supporting that inquiry. The following key concepts are used to support and structure the inquiries. The exploration of concepts leads to a deeper understanding and allows students to transfer knowledge learned in one area of the curriculum to another.

Form: What is it like?

Connection: How is it connected to other things?

Function: How does it work?

Perspective: What are the points of view?

Causation: Why is it like it is?

Responsibility: What is our responsibility?

Change: How is it changing?

Reflection: How do we know?


Attitudes - What do we want students to feel, value, and demonstrate?

Highly congruent with the IB Learner Profile is a particular set of attitudes. These attitudes deeply affect the learning environments and the personal interactions that occur within them:


Appreciating the wonder and beauty of the world and its people.


Being committed to their own learning, persevering and showing self-discipline

and responsibility.


Feeling confident in their ability as learners, having the courage to take risks, applying what they have learned and making appropriate decisions and choices.


Cooperating, collaborating, and leading or following as the situation demands.


Being creative and imaginative in their thinking and in their approach to

problems and dilemmas.


Being curious about the nature of learning, about the world, its people and cultures.


Imagining themselves in another’s situation in order to understand his or

her reasoning and emotions, so as to be open-minded and reflective about

the perspectives of others.


Enjoying learning and willingly putting the effort into the process.


Thinking and acting independently, making their own judgments based on

reasoned argument, and being able to defend their judgments.


Being honest and demonstrating a considered sense of fairness.


Respecting themselves, others and the world around them.


Being sensitive about differences and diversity in the world and being

responsive to the needs of others.


Transdisciplinary skills - What do we want students to be able to do?

Throughout their learning in the PYP, students acquire and apply a set of skills which are valuable not only for the teaching and learning that goes on within classroom but also in life outside the school. The PYP identifies five sets of transdisciplinary skills, or approaches to learning:

  • Thinking skills

  • Self-management skills

  • Social skills

  • Research skills

  • Communication skills


Action - How do we want the students to act?

We encourage students at Hamilton Hill to take action as a result of their learning. Action can be a demonstration of a sense of responsibility and respect for themselves, others and the environment. Action usually begins in a small way but arises from genuine concern and commitment. Action as a result of learning often happens beyond the classroom, and teachers at Hamilton Hill are always keen to know about action that the students take outside of school.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers a continuum of international education.  The programme encourages both personal and academic achievement, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal development. Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten is committed to follow and further develop the IB Primary Year Programme (PYP).

Please feel free to approach us and find out more about the IB curriculum and how we  apply it to learning here at Hamilton Hill.