Why Choose the PYP Primary School Curricula at OWIS?

Michelle Dickinson
Updated on
October 26, 2020

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework for children aged three to 11 that is designed to nurture and develop these young students into caring, active participants in a lifelong learning journey. Through the PYP’s inquiry-led, interdisciplinary framework, OWIS students become independent thinkers with a global mindset. With its emphasis on five core principles – knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and action – PYP is the ideal programme for international students in Singapore.


IB Personal Skill Goals: Awareness, Confidence, Independence, and Responsibility

Today, the PYP framework is implemented in 109 countries around the world. It is universally regarded as one of the most popular and effective primary education curricula currently available. For schools to offer the PYP curriculum, they must be formally recognised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) or have undertaken the process to become an IBO World School. OWIS has been an IBO World School since 2012.

At OWIS, we recognise the PYP as a powerful, transformative framework that molds young minds into inquisitive thinkers, passionate learners, and confident citizens. Parents, teachers and the entire community are considered to be important partners in the child’s learning process, actively contributing to a holistic educational experience. The inquiry-based learning process ensures children are active learners, not merely memorising facts, but engaging fully with the world around them. The PYP curriculum is considered to be “engaging, relevant, challenging and significant.” Most importantly, it is trans-disciplinary, which means it focuses on issues that transcend subject areas, reflecting the modern reality of our dynamic, interconnected global world.

Understanding the PYP Curriculum: 5 Essential Elements

PYP is organised around a written curriculum, taught curriculum and assessed curriculum. The written curriculum details what OWIS students will learn. The taught curriculum establishes clear standards for how OWIS educators will utilise the curriculum to teach our students. Finally, the assessed curriculum establishes the principles and practice for effective performance assessment.

In accordance with PYP written curriculum principles, OWIS follows five essential elements:

  1. Knowledge, which is both disciplinary, represented by traditional subject areas (language, maths, science, social studies, arts, PSPE) and trans-disciplinary
  2. Concepts, which students explore through structured inquiry in order to develop coherent, in-depth understanding, and which have relevance both within and beyond subject areas
  3. Skills, which are the broad capabilities students develop and apply during learning and in life beyond the classroom
  4. Attitudes, which contribute to international-mindedness and the wellbeing of individuals and learning communities, and connect directly to the IB learner profile
  5. Action, which is an expectation in the PYP that successful inquiry leads to responsible, thoughtful and appropriate action.

At OWIS we also underpin our curriculum with learning objectives from the English National Curriculum to ensure that our students are in-line with best global practice in education and ready for the IGCSE programme in secondary school.

After PYP Completion: What’s Next for My Child?

Students who successfully complete the PYP programme are equipped with the strong academic foundation and personal skill sets necessary to undertake rigorous secondary programmes of study. This includes the IGCSE and IB DP programmes currently offered at OWIS.

To know more about our programmes of study and how OWIS nurtures our students to become life-long learners, do take a school tour and get to know us better.

About Author

Michelle Dickinson

Head of School

Michelle has a BA (Hons) in History and South Asian Studies from North London University and PGCE from Middlesex University. She began teaching across all three primary key stages. Michelle began her school leadership career in 2002, when she became the Deputy Head Teacher of a large primary school in North London and spent four wonderful years there before relocating to India in 2005.

Her first international position was the Head of Primary of a local/international school in Bangalore in Southern India, where she introduced the Cambridge International Primary Programme and Checkpoint. Michelle then spent 6 years in China and 3 years in Ethiopia developing curriculum and assessment practices.

Michelle believes that children learn best when they are having fun and are engaged in practical, real life activities. While she recognises that outstanding academic achievement is the ultimate goal, she feels it is just as important to build self-esteem, instill character and encourage a global outlook in every child. Michelle believes that learning transcends the classroom environment and is passionate about educational visits and extra-curricular experiences.

Michelle is married with four children - Ana, Hindya, Bille and Markos. The Dickinson family have a sense of adventure and love of life. They particularly enjoy the outdoors, family holidays, making friends, good weather, camping and exploring and are delighted to be at OWIS.

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