PYP Overview

Abacus uses the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) as its curriculum framework and has been an authorised IB World School since May 2012. The school will have its first evaluation visit from the IBO in 2017.



Children at Abacus develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding of concepts through guided inquiry. Classrooms foster curiosity and promote discovery by making learning relevant to the “real world” and challenging for each student. We start from children’s prior knowledge and build on each student’s strengths, experiences, and cultural and linguistic background to support learning. We encourage children to become independent learners and critical and creative thinkers who are empowered to take action.

Class teachers in each year group work as a collaborative team, supported by specialist Mandarin teachers to provide a transdisciplinary curriculum. Children create new understandings by drawing links between and across the traditional subjects.


The curriculum is made up of three parts:

What do we want to learn?
The Written Curriculum
This includes:

  • Scope and sequence documents – these documents outline the conceptual understandings and learning objectives students learn while at Abacus
  • Programme of Inquiry – This is the overview of all units of inquiry the students will engage with over 2 years at Abacus
  • Units of Inquiry – These are the four detailed planners which make up each year group’s programme
How best will we learn it?
The Taught Curriculum
This includes:

  • Learning engagements that make use of structured inquiry
  • Learning skills that enable children to take ownership over their learning
  • Developing attitudes
  • Understanding concepts
How best will we learn it?
  • Learning knowledge
  • Developing the attributes of the learner profile
  • Taking action
How will we know what we have learned?
The Assessed Curriculum

This includes:

  • Formative assessment – finding out what students know in order to plan the next steps in learning
  • Summative assessment – the culmination of teaching and learning where students demonstrate what they have learned
  • Recording – how we collect and analyse evidence of learning
  • Reporting – how we communicate information about learning

The curriculum framework consists of five essential elements:

  • Concepts
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitudes
  • Action

The knowledge component is developed through inquiries into six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, supported and balanced by six subject areas.

Transdisciplinary Themes Subject Areas
Who We Are
Where We Are in Place and Time
How We Express Ourselves
How We Organise Ourselves
How the World Works
Sharing the Planet
Social Studies
Personal, Social & Physical Education

This diagram shows how all of these elements fit together to develop the curriculum framework.


At the heart of the curriculum is the Learner Profile which is a set of attributes that the IBO and Abacus believe are demonstrated by internationally minded people. All members of the Abacus community are encouraged to model these attributes and foster their development in others.

Information on this page was taken in part from: “Making the PYP Happen” 2009
For further information, please visit: