Primary Years Programme

About the Primary Years Programme

,,Universa Via‘‘ International School in  Klaipėda has been acknowledged as a candidate school that wishes to be authorized to offer  the PYP since 26th of June, 2017.

The Primary Years Program, a curriculum framework for children ages three to twelve (age 4 to 11 at ,,Universa Via‘‘ International School), focuses on inquiry-based learning. By emphasizing knowledge, skills, critical thinking and the fostering and development of universal human values, the PYP is a powerful means of going beyond subject domains, asking students to use their knowledge and skills to solve real life problems. In doing so, students become responsible for their own learning and must work collaboratively with peers and build on each member's strength.

All of the IB programs are flexible enough to enable teachers to respond to local requirements; thus the curriculum of the ,,Universa Via‘‘ International School and the IB PYP Scope and Sequence (liet. ,,Ugdymo turinio apimtis ir plėtotė“) documents are aligned.

The PYP curriculum model is comprised of six academic areas surrounded by the learner profile, key concepts, transdisciplinary themes, approaches to learning and teaching, exhibition and action.  Together, these elements build an internationally-minded curriculum. Emphasis is intentionally placed on constructivism, concept-based and inquiry learning that are integrated throughout the teaching model.

The six subjects are:

  1. Language: English and Lithuania.
  2. Mathematics
  3. Social Studies
  4. Science
  5. Personal, Social, Physical Education
  6. Visual Arts and Music

Click here to learn more about the PYP.


Learner Profile


Approaches to Learning

PYP Approaches to Learning

In order to conduct purposeful inquiry and to be well prepared for lifelong learning, students need to master a range of skills beyond those normally referred to as basic. These skills are relevant to all the subject areas as they support the complexities in the lives of the students.  These skills are valuable, not only in the units of inquiry, but also for any teaching and learning that goes on within the classroom, and in life outside the school.  

Students demonstrate Social Skills as they accept responsibility, respect others, cooperate, resolve conflict, engage in group decision-making and adopt  a variety of group roles.

Thinking Skills include the ability to acquire new knowledge, comprehend, apply, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and engage in both dialectical thought and metacognition.

Listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, presenting, and non-verbal communication are all components of Communication Skills.

Students develop Self-management Skills in a variety of ways.  Gross motor and fine motor skills are exhibited, as well as spatial awareness, organization, time management, safety, healthy lifestyle, codes of behavior and the ability to make informed choices.

Lastly, Research Skills are used to approach learning in all areas of the school.  Students formulate questions, observe, plan, collect, record, organize, and interpret data.  At the end of this process, students present research findings effectively and appropriately.


Transdisciplinary Themes / Conceptual Learning / Inquiry Based Instruction

 „Universa Via“ international school demonstrates a commitment to the Primary Years Programme by delivering a curriculum framework that is grounded in constructivism, inquiry, and concept-based learning.  These approaches promote learning and teaching that develops critical-thinking skills.

Transdisciplinary learning:  

At the heart of transdisciplinary learning is the education of the whole child.  The PYP framework not only outlines the knowledge and concepts to be taught over time, but it also addresses the skills and attitudes to be developed across all subject disciplines.  As this is achieved, learning and teaching transcend departmentalized areas as conceptual development is emphasized through the lens of language, math, science, social studies, and personal, social, physical education.

Units of Inquiry:

The programme of inquiry consists of six units of inquiry—one for each transdisciplinary theme—at each year/grade level, with the exception of students who are 3–5 years, where the requirement is at least four units at each year/grade level, two of which must be under “Who we are” and “How we express ourselves”.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Conceptual Learning:

In the PYP, there are seven key concepts identified by the IB that are explored across all subject areas.  These key concepts are aligned throughout school year into 28 units of inquiry.

The seven PYP key concepts are:

Form - Function - Causation - Change - Connection - Perspective - Responsibility

The alignment of the key concepts is illustrated in the Programme of Inquiry, which is the matrix of each transdisciplinary theme taught at each grade level.

To view our Programme of Inquiry, click here.

Sources: International Baccalaureate Standards and Practices (2014).


PYP Assessment & Reporting

Assessment Objectives

The prime objective of assessment is to provide feedback on the learning process.  It identifies what students know, understand, can do, and feel at particular stages of learning.  Teachers take into account the diverse ways individuals construct meaning and apply understanding.  Formative assessment drives future learning, as it informs student understanding.  Summative assessment measures understanding at the culmination of the teaching and learning process.

Assessment is divided into three areas:

  • Assessing—how we discover what the students know and have learned.
  • Recording—how we choose to collect and analyze data.
  • Reporting—how we choose to communicate information.

Assessment in the classroom will include:

  • using representative examples of students’ work or performance to provide information about student learning;
  • collecting evidence of students’ understanding and thinking;
  • documenting learning processes of groups and individuals;
  • engaging students in reflecting on their learning;
  • students assessing work produced by themselves and by others;
  • developing clear rubrics;
  • identifying exemplar student work.
  • keeping records of test/task results.

Effective assessments allow students to:

  • share their learning and understanding with others;
  • demonstrate a range of knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills;
  • use a variety of learning styles, multiple intelligences and abilities to express their understanding;
  • know and understand in advance the criteria for producing a quality product or performance;
  • participate in reflection, self- and peer-assessment;
  • base their learning on real-life experiences that can lead to further inquiries;
  • express different points of view and interpretations;
  • analyze their learning and understand what needs to be improved.

Effective assessments allow teachers to:

  • inform every stage of the teaching and learning process;
  • plan in response to student and teacher inquiries;
  • develop criteria for producing a quality product or performance;
  • gather evidence from which sound conclusions can be drawn;
  • provide evidence that can be effectively reported and understood by the whole school community;
  • collaboratively review and reflect on student performance and progress;
  • take into account a variety of learning styles, multiple intelligences and abilities including different cultural contexts;
  • use scoring that is both analytical (separate scores for different aspects of the work) and holistic (single scores).

Effective assessments allow parents to:

  • see evidence of student learning and development;
  • develop an understanding of the student’s progress;  
  • provide opportunities to support and celebrate student learning.


PYP Action

Responsible, age-appropriate action is the result of successful inquiry.  During the learning process action may extend the knowledge of a student or it may have a wider social impact.  Action may involve service, as it can impact fellow students, or the larger community, both in and out of school.  When students take action, they are learning to work cooperatively, think critically, problem-solve, engage in conflict resolution, and exercise commitment.

Action in the PYP does not need to be grandiose.  It actually starts on a small scale, with the self, within the family, within the classroom and other areas around the school.  Effective action is modeled by adults, student-driven and voluntary and grounded in personal experience.

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.  Making the PYP Happen: A Curriculum framework for international primary education,  2009.  Pages 25-27.


Action Is:

  • Doing:  What have you done differently?  How have your given to or helped others?
  • Thinking: How have you thought differently?  Have you changed your mind?
  • Feeling:  Have your feelings changed? Have you empathized or admired?
  • Having: Do you have more knowledge, perspective, or respect?
  • Saying: Have you said something by explaining, discussing, or debating?
  • Being: How has your personality, perspective, or behavior been different?


PYP Exhibition

At “Universa Via” international school, PYP exhibition occurs in fourth grade as the final unit of inquiry implemented in the spring semester.

The PYP exhibition represents a significant event in the life of a PYP school and student, synthesizing the elements of the PYP and sharing them with the learning community.  The exhibition is a powerful demonstration of student agency, as learners exercise voice, choice, and ownership by inquiring into local or global issues that are significant to them.  This culminating experience in an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the IB learner profile that they have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP.

What is Exhibition?

  • A culminating project for the PYP (Fourth Grade).
  • A collaborative inquiry that students have a personal interest in exploring.
  • An inquiry that requires students to apply their learning from previous years.
  • An experience that uses the elements of the PYP: Knowledge, Concepts, Skills and Action.
  • A demonstration of how students can take action as a result of their learning.
  • A celebration of who our students are as learners and leaders.



PYP Frequently asked questions about the Primary Years Programme

What is the Primary Years Programme?

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework for young learners aged 3–12 designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB). Founded on a philosophy that recognizes a child’s natural curiosity, creativity and ability to reflect, the PYP generates a stimulating, challenging learning environment to nurture those assets and foster a lifelong love of learning in every child. The PYP, like all IB programmes, is transdisciplinary, meaning students learn across subject areas while investigating big ideas.

Does the PYP have a specific set of standards?

In the PYP, students learn about significant concepts through units of inquiry. The six transdisciplinary themes that guide units of inquiry and compose a year of study are:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet.

Units of inquiry interweave subject areas such as mathematics, language arts, science and social studies. This approach encourages students to make their own connections between what they learn in core subject areas and how it relates to the world around them.

The school outlines its specific knowledge content and academic curriculum, guided by the following five essential elements:

  • The knowledge content is organized under the transdisciplinary themes. Each school decides which specific topics to study under each theme.
  • The learning skills aim to help students become independent, well-functioning, self-motivated learners.
  • The learning attitudes aim to develop a lifelong love of learning and nurture a child’s curiosity and confidence.
  • The action component emphasizes the need to connect the student with his or her own potential and responsibility for using what was learned.
  • The rigorous guidelines for classroom practices to match the educational philosophy and values of the IB are communicated through professional development and a school’s internal reflection process.

What are the advantages of an IB education?

  • IB World Schools (the only schools authorized to offer IB programmes) are subject to a strict accreditation process monitored by the IB, ensuring that schools provide a high-quality education.
  • IB teaching methods and curriculums are research-based and draw from the best educational practices from systems around the world.
  • IB teachers are required to participate in many professional development opportunities to continually promote their awareness of current educational practices and new thinking.
  • IB students develop a sense of the world around them and their responsibility to it. (See “What is an IB Education?”)
  • IB programmes are recognized internationally and ease the educational transitions of mobile students so that their education is not adversely affected if their families relocate.

Do IB teachers receive special training?

All PYP teachers receive professional development in IB’s approaches to teaching and approaches to learning from certified IB workshop leaders. This is a requirement for IB World Schools implementing the PYP.

Are IB programmes considered “gifted” programmes?

The PYP is implemented schoolwide and adapted by teachers to meet the learning needs of all students. In most cases, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) is also a schoolwide program. All PYP teachers are required to participate in collaborative planning and reflection to make their teaching practices consistent and to foster a holistic approach to education. A growing body of evidence suggests a positive relationship between teacher collaboration and student achievement.

Does implementing an IB programme mean my child’s school will not teach local or national standards such as the Common Core?

The IB is committed to making sure that students in IB programmes meet and exceed local or national standards. With the implementation of any IB programme, schools are required to examine their curriculum carefully to ensure that there is alignment with local, state or national standards. More information on the IB and the Common Core is available at

Have studies been done on the impact of the PYP?

The IB places great value on external validation of its programmes, curriculums and professional development. A recent Global International Schools’ Assessment study found that PYP students outperformed non-IB students in mathematics, reading and writing. Additional studies on programme impact, quality assurance, programme development and assessment research are available at

When do students start and finish the PYP?
When do they transition to the MYP?

The PYP is designed for students aged 3–11 (preschool and primary grades). The MYP spans students aged 11–16, and the Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) is for the last two years of high school, students aged 16–19.

How can I learn more about the IB and PYP?

  • Visit the IB website at
  • Attend school meetings and events
  • Speak with your school’s PYP coordinator
  • Speak with your child’s PYP classroom teacher.