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Primary Year Program

Primary Years Program PYP: Grades K-5

Elementary students’ learning is framed by six themes: who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organize ourselves, and sharing the planet. These six units are transdisciplinary, meaning that they connect the curriculum, linking math, language arts, science, social studies, art, and even PE, together into a cohesive unit. Each theme takes 5-6 weeks to cover and promotes in-depth investigation, critical thinking, and student engagement, as children explore their schoolwork and their world through these themes.

Even in elementary school, learning is inquiry-based and student-driven. For example, to kick off their unit on sharing the planet, kindergartners sort through pictures of animals, birds, insects, and fish, and work together to develop and articulate criteria that they then use to categorize and classify the pictures. Instead of the teacher lecturing students about the qualities that differentiate each group, students are pushed to think critically, experiment, explore, and then explain their thought process. Additional enrichment activities integrated into the curriculum including 30 weeks of introductory Spanish; a weekly hour of P.E.; six sessions of Art Masters per year; a semester of Primary Music for grades K-3; and 80 minutes per week of instrumental and choral music for grades 4-5.

For more information about the PYP, please go to


Program of Inquiry

The program of inquiry is a framework used to development inquiry-based units for each grade. Both primary and middle-level students explore six units of inquiry each year that last from 4-6 weeks.