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IB and PYP Terms for Parents

IB – International Baccalaureate (formally known as IBO): A global network of schools, educators, students and parents whose mission is “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who can help create a better world through intercultural understanding and respect.”


PYP – Primary Years Program: A transdiciplinary framework of international education for students ages 3-12 designed to foster the development of the whole child.


POI: Program of Inquiry: A collaboratively-developed framework for inquiry, with the purpose of allowing students to explore six universal themes of knowledge, which forms the core of a school’s curriculum. Those themes are: Who We Are, Where We Are In Place and Time, How the World Works, How We Express Ourselves, How We Organize Ourselves and Sharing the Planet.


Curriculum: In an IB school “curriculum is all those student activities, academic and non-academic, for which a school takes responsibility, since they all have an impact on student learning.” The curriculum of an IB school consists of three interrelated parts: the written, learned and taught curriculum.”


Units of Inquiry: Units of study, structured around a conceptual “central idea”.


Central Idea: An enduring understanding that integrates conceptual understanding and factual knowledge. Example: The survival of living things relies on understanding and maintaining a reciprocal relationship between living and non-living things.


Lines of Inquiry: These clarify the central idea and define the scope of a PYP unit of inquiry.


PYP Planner: A document, provided by the IB, that teachers must use to collaboratively plan and reflect upon PYP units of inquiry.


Learner Profile: A set of attributes with universal value across cultures, which define an internationally-minded student and graduate of an IB school.


Essential Elements of the PYP:  Knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action that foster development of the whole child and form the PYP written curriculum.


Concepts: Mental constructs or “frames of mind” that is universal, timeless, abstract and transferable. These powerful ideas must be explored and re-explored in order to develop deep understanding. Form, function, causation, connection, change, perspective, responsibility and reflection are the key concepts.


Related Concepts: Concepts which are contained under the PYP Key Concepts and are more specific to certain subject areas. They include things such as systems, innovation, freedom, patterns, design, to name just a few.


Transdiciplinary: Broad knowledge, skills, and understanding that transcend the boundaries of traditional subject areas and yet can be applied to learning within any of them.


Transdiciplinary Skills: Broad groups of skills which can be applied within and across all subject areas. These include thinking skills, research skills, communication skills, self management skills, and social skills.


Transdiciplinary Themes: Universal themes, with relevance within and across the traditional subject areas, and within and across cultures that define the body of lasting knowledge valued in a PYP school.



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