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Al-Rayan International School Primary Years Programme: Information for Parents

PYP Playlist a Parent Resource 

What is the International Baccalaureate?
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is a non-profit educational and non-governmental (NGO) organization that was established in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland. The IBO offers four programmes of international education for students aged 3 – 19 years:

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) for 3–11 year olds
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) for 12–15 year olds
The Diploma Programme (DP) for 16–19 year olds
The Career-related Programme (CP), also for 16–19 year olds.

What is an IB PYP School?

Regardless of location, size, or make-up, an IB PYP school strives to develop an internationally-minded person. The mission of the IBO is to:
• develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people
• create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect
• work with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessments
• encourage students worldwide to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

What are the Learner Profile qualities or attributes that produce internationally-minded students?

• Inquirer—I am naturally curious and know how to find answers to many of my questions. I love to learn.
• Knowledgeable—I explore ideas and issues that are important. I am developing an in-depth knowledge across a broad range of subjects.
• Thinker—I use my thinking skills creatively to understand problems and solve them.
• Communicator—I understand and can share ideas in more than one language.
• Principled—I am fair and honest. I can make responsible decisions about what I think is right and wrong.
• Open-minded—I am comfortable with differences. I welcome and respect other people’s points of view and ways of doing things.
• Caring—I am concerned about other people’s needs and feelings. I believe it is important to help others.
• Risk-taker—I like to try new things independently, using my common sense, and to have the courage to defend what I believe.
• Balanced—I understand the importance of balance between mind, body, and feelings.
• Reflective—I think about my learning and experience, and appreciate my own strengths and limitations.

What will my child learn at ARIS?

ARIS is a PYP school. We are therefore committed to student agency, voice, choice, and ownership of their own inquiry as the vehicle for learning. The Primary Years Programme reflects a transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, thus promoting understanding of the real world.
Six transdisciplinary themes provide the framework for the exploration and construction of knowledge. Teachers and students are guided by these transdisciplinary themes—as they design Units of Inquiry for exploration and study. Through this process, students develop an understanding of important concepts, acquire approaches to learning skills, develop particular profiles and learn to take socially responsible actions.
We believe in the holistic development of children, tapping their potential curiosity and innate talents to bring out well balanced, confident individuals, and lifelong, independent learners.
At ARIS we strive to develop global citizens who respect cultures, who open-mindedly nurture the diversity found around them, and who endeavour to inspire, empower, and transform for a better world.
We also develop attitudes that make our learners caring and empathetic towards those less privileged than themselves and enable them to realise that they have the power to make a change.

The Enhanced PYP
• The Learner
• Learning and Teaching
• The Learning Community

The enhanced PYP is better for students, easier for teachers to implement and is more flexible for schools. Agency, is applicable to all 3, as aforementioned – the Learner, Learning and Teaching and the Learning Community, and not restricted to the learner inside the classroom. “There is Voice, Choice, and Ownership of Learning in Agency.”

What does transdisciplinary mean?

The word transdisciplinary refers to connections that transcend individual disciplines. Transdisciplinary study involves the links or interconnections across disciplines. It is a reflection of the reality in which we live. A transdisciplinary concept may reach across disciplines such as Mathematics, Science, English and Social Studies, and link them all together.
By definition, a transdisciplinary concept is not confined to one subject. For example, the concept of 'change' may feature in Mathematics, Science, English, and Geography. Thus ‘change’ can then be studied through the lenses of these different disciplines.


Knowledge—The PYP recognises that in an international community of learners it is inappropriate to dictate what every child should know. The PYP has identified themes, or areas of knowledge, which are used to organize the six Units of Inquiry, taught from Nursery through Year 6. These Units of Inquiry provide the framework for a wide variety of resources to be explored.

Six Transdisciplinary Themes:
Who We Are: An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, 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 relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilisations, 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 aesthetic appreciation.
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 with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

Concepts—These are the seven fundamental concepts expressed as key questions, to propel the process of inquiry.
• Form: What is it like?
• Function: How does it work?
• Causation: Why is it like it is?
• Change: How is it changing?
• Connection: How is it connected to other things?
• Perspective: What are the different points of view?
• Responsibility: What is our responsibility?

ATL Skills—There are five sets of transdisciplinary ATL Skills acquired in the process of structured inquiry. These are:
• Thinking
• Communication
• Social
• Research
• Self-management

Action—The PYP encourages students to reflect, to make informed choices and to take positive actions that will help their peers and the community. Students demonstrate a deeper sense of learning, by applying their knowledge to service and positive action.

PYP Exhibition— What is it all about?
The exhibition is a culminating experience to reflect all the major features of the PYP. It offers the students the opportunity to explore knowledge conceptually, which is significant and relevant, to reflect on and apply their learning, to choose appropriate courses of action and to display appropriate attitudes. In ARIS the Exhibition is incorporated into the Year 6 Class, and it is done outside of the Programme of Inquiry (POI).

The PYP student is required to engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry that involves identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems.

The PYP exhibition has a number of key purposes:
• To provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their own learning
• To provide the students with an opportunity to explore multiple perspectives
• To apply and reflect on learning
• To demonstrate how one can take action as a result of learning
• To unite teachers, parents and other members of the school community in a collaborative experience that incorporates the essential elements of the PYP
• To celebrate the transition from Primary to Middle School.


Where to look for further information: