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November 2017

PYP Written Curriculum

In the Primary Years Programme, the written curriculum incorporates five essential elements.  Knowledge: What do we want students to know?

Key Concepts: What big ideas do we want students to understand?

Approaches to Learning: What do we want students to be able to do?

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

Action: How do we want students to act in response to their learning?


Knowledge (from Making the PYP Happen)

The written curriculum includes both the traditional subject areas (languages, social studies, math, science and technology, personal, social, and physical education, and the arts) and inquiries into transdisciplinary, globally significant issues.  The PYP acknowledges the importance of traditional subject areas, but also recognizes that it is important to acquire skills in context and explore content that transcends traditional subject areas.  “To be truly educated, a student must also make connections across the disciplines, discover ways to integrate the separate subjects, and ultimately relate what they learn to life” (Boyer, 1995).  To this end, six transdisciplinary themes have been selected for the PYP, and students inquire into and learn about globally significant issues in the context of units of inquiry.  The six themes have global significance for all students in all cultures and offer students the opportunity to explore the commonalities of human experience.  The school’s programme of inquiry is developed so students explore every aspect of the theme descriptors during their time in 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; home 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 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.



For the month of November, we are focusing on the learner trait communicator.  Communicators share their thoughts and ideas, listen to others, and ask questions.  They express themselves “confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways.  They collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups." (  Communication skills are also one of the five sets of skills described in the approaches to learning.


At Southlands, we aim for students to be good communicators through the development of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and non-verbal communication skills.  We want students to learn to:

·       listen to directions, to others, and to information

·       speak clearly, express their ideas logically, and share their opinions

·       read and understand a variety of sources for information and pleasure, make inferences, and draw conclusions

·       record information and observations, and present their ideas and information in a variety of formats

·       understand the meaning of non-verbal communication, including body language and facial expressions


Ask your child about the variety of formats we use at school to communicate knowledge and conceptual understanding, and you will hear about written reports, oral presentations, artwork, music, video productions, skits, and much more.  You will also discover that all students are learning French, in order to be able to communicate in more than one language.  Second language instruction is  requirement of all PYP schools.


Here are some ways you can encourage your child’s growth as a communicator:

1.  Stay in touch with relatives and friends who live elsewhere by writing letters, using the phone, or sending emails.

2.  Have your child to explain them math answers to you orally or by drawing a picture.

3.  Ask your child thought provoking questions and encourage them to discuss them with you.

4.  Work with your child to improve their listening skills, by taking turns during family discussions and responding specifically to what others have said.