International School of Ticino



The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a transdisciplinary curriculum framework with an inquiry approach to conceptual learning and teaching. It is taught in over 100 countries of the world. For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit

The learner, and the learning community, is at the centre of learning and teaching. Through the embodiment of the attributes of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile the programme strives to build cultural understanding and internationally minded young people.

Throughout an academic year, student inquiry is guided by conceptual ideas that are connected to six transdisciplinary themes of global significance. Bridges between subject disciplines are fostered and developed to build transferable knowledge, understanding and skills. The PYP has five Essential Elements which are outlined below.



We encourage the children to see their learning as valuable experiences that, as well as forming their intellectual development, should guide how they act. Therefore, learning should be demonstrated by positive action and service. The children are encouraged to reflect, choose wisely and to act responsibly with their peers, school staff and in the wider community. All children also have the opportunity to contribute to the student council.

Alongside the Learner Profile, PYP teachers aim to foster a set of attitudes in our children, which are discussed, modelled and reflected upon through the units of inquiry. These twelve attitudes help towards students being life-long learners on the global stage.

Thinking conceptually through a unit of inquiry
helps the children to view topics and issues through various lenses. The PYP is built around eight key concepts which are used across all subject areas.

These concepts are:

Form: What does it look like?
Function: How does it work?
Causation: Why is it this way?
Change: How does it change over time?
Connection: How is it connected to other things?
Perspective: What are the points of view?
Responsibility: What is our responsibility?
Reflection: How do we know?

What we teach is based on the themes of the PYP, current research and the needs of our school community.

At the beginning of each unit parents receive a Unit Newsletter which outlines the objectives for the unit and how parents can support their child to develop their understanding. There are clear assessment tools and strategies and standards which align with those outlined by the IB.

As well as learning specific subjects skills, there are many transdisciplinary skills that our students should develop that transcend subject areas and are not limited to one subject. These ‘Approaches to Learning’ are developed throughout the units of inquiry.