Photo of teacher and  ib primary years students in dar es salaam


Primary Years Programme

From Early Childhood (age 3) to Grade 5, students follow the inquiry-based, concept-driven Primary Years Programme (PYP) from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). IST has been authorized since May 2000 to offer the PYP.

Our goal is to create an environment where young students understand the interconnectedness (transdisciplinary aspect) of big ideas while grasping the essential elements (concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes, action) that will form the foundation for future learning.



Primary Years Programme Curriculum

The PYP stresses the importance of determining the existing knowledge that students bring to new experiences in order to allow children the opportunity to make connections between their previous and current perceptions.

An overview of the IST Elementary curriculum is provided in the Parent Handbook.

Primary Years Programme logo

Five Essential Elements

The five essential elements—concepts, knowledge, skills, attitudes, action—are incorporated into the PYP framework, so that students are given the opportunity to:

  • Gain knowledge that is relevant and of global significance
  • Develop an understanding of concepts, which allows them to make connections throughout their learning
  • Acquire transdisciplinary and disciplinary skills
  • Develop attitudes that will lead to international-mindedness
  • Take action as a consequence of their learning


Children in the Primary Years Programme
primary years programme students holding up children's books


Primary Years Programme Curriculum

The PYP curriculum stresses the importance of determining the existing knowledge that students bring to new experiences in order to allow children the opportunity to make connections between their previous and current perceptions.

The Programme of Inquiry

The subject areas within the PYP curriculum consist of mathematics, language, science, social studies, arts and personal, social and physical education and are organized under six transdisciplinary themes. These themes provide IST with the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues into the PYP curriculum and effectively allow students to “step up” beyond the confines of learning within subject areas. The six transdisciplinary themes within the PYP curriculum are: who are we, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organize ourselves and sharing the planet.

Who we are
  • An inquiry into the nature of the self 
  • Beliefs and values
  • Person, 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
  • Homes and journeys
  • The discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind
  • The relationship 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 other living things
  • Communities and the relationship within and between them
  • Access to equal opportunities
  • Peace and conflict resolution

The Exhibition

The Exhibition is an important part of the PYP curriculum for all students. In the final year of the programme, students undertake a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems. As the culminating experience of the PYP curriculum, the Exhibition offers students an exciting opportunity to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their own learning.


Interested in learning more about the Primary Years Programme at IST?
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