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St. Paul


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Essential Elements in IB Curriculium

In the PYP a balance is sought between acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, development of conceptual understanding, demonstration of positive attitudes, and taking of responsible action. In terms of achieving this balance, the five essential elements of the written curriculum are emphasized. They are as stated:


Significant, relevant context that we wish the students too explore and know about, taking into consideration their prior experience and understanding.


Powerful ideas that have relevance within the subject areas but also transcend them and that students must explore and re-explore in order to develop a coherent, in-depth understanding.


Those capabilities that the students need to demonstrate to succeed in a changing, challenging world, which ma be disciplinary or transdisciplinary in nature.


Dispositions that are expressions of fundamental values, beliefs and feelings about learning, the environment and people.


Demonstrations of deeper learning in responsible behavior through responsible action; a manifestation in practice of the other essential elements.

Home > IB PROGRAM > Five Essential Elements > 1. Concepts


The PYP has constructed a set of eight concepts which answer the question: What do we want the students to learn? Questions in each unit of inquiry can fit into one of these concepts:

  • Form
  • Function
  • Causation
  • Change
  • Connection
  • Perspective
  • Responsibility
  • Reflection

The Programme of Inquiry:

Who We Are
An exploration of the nature of the self; of our beliefs and values; of personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; of our families, friends, communities and cultures; of our rights and responsibilities; of what it means to be human.

Where We Are In Time and Place
An exploration of our orientation in place and time; of our personal histories; of history and geography from local and global perspectives; of our homes and journeys; of the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; of the contributions of individuals and civilizations.

How We Express Ourselves
An exploration of the ways in which we discover and express our nature, ideas, feelings, beliefs and values through language and the arts.

How the World Works
An exploration of the physical and material world; of natural and human-made phenomena; of the world of science and technology.

How We Organize Ourselves
An exploration of human systems and communities; of the world of work, its nature and its value; of employment and unemployment and their impact.

How We Share the Planet
An exploration of our rights and responsibilities as we try to share finite resources with other people, with other living things; of communities and of the relationships within and between them.