PYP Social Studies

In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), social studies guide students towards a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and of their place in an increasingly global society. Learning social studies provides opportunities for students to look at and think about human behaviour and activity realistically, objectively, and with sensitivity. Exposure to and experience with social studies therefore opens doors to key questions about life and learning.

It is recognized that teaching and learning social studies as a subject, while necessary, is not sufficient. Of equal importance is the need to learn social studies in context, exploring content relevant to students, and transcending the boundaries of the traditional subject area.

Social studies strands

The knowledge component of social studies in the PYP is arranged into five strands: human systems and economic activities, social organization and culture, continuity and change through time, human and natural environments, and resources and the environment. These strands are concept-driven and are inextricably linked to each other. They also provide links to other subject areas of the PYP curriculum model.

  • Human systems and economic activities

    The study of how and why people construct organizations and systems; the ways in which people connect locally and globally; the distribution of power and authority.

  • Social organization and culture

    The study of people, communities, cultures and societies; the ways in which individuals, groups and societies interact with each other.

  • Continuity and change through time

    The study of the relationships between people and events through time; the past, its influences on the present and its implications for the future; people who have shaped the future through their actions.

  • Human and natural environments

    The study of the distinctive features that give a place its identity; how people adapt to and alter their environment; how people experience and represent place; the impact of natural disasters on people and the built environment.

  • Resources and the environment

    The interaction between people and the environment; the study of how humans allocate and manage resources; the positive and negative effects of this management; the impact of scientific and technological developments on the environment.