Elementary School Curriculum

The Primary Years Programme - PYP

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Grade One

Programme of Inquiry

Units of study, which meet the criteria of the International Baccalaureate Organization, have been developed for each grade level. Each unit is taught through a structured inquiry method and focuses on key concepts which are international and skill-based. Throughout each unit students have the opportunity to develop an action component in response to what they have learned. Whenever meaningfully possible, other curricular areas are integrated to support an in-depth exploration of the unit. 

Units for Grade 1 are:


Central Idea: Our family and friends provide for our basic needs as human beings.

Key Concepts: form, function, perspective, responsibility

Related Concepts:  history, family, roles, identity, diversity, differences,


 similarities, friendship, relationships, traditions, self-concept, behaviour,



Lines of Inquiry:

  • why people have family and friends

  • family and friends in literature

  • the qualities of  a friend



Central Idea: To meet their needs, people construct houses based on the location and the availability of resources.

Key Concepts: form, function, connection

Related Concepts: climate, materials, geography, architecture

Lines of Inquiry:

  • why people have houses

  • how houses in our region compare to houses in other regions

  • materials used in building houses



Central Idea:  People express themselves through a variety of media (author studies)

Key Concepts: form, connection, perspective

Related Concepts: communication, conflict, feelings

Lines of Inquiry:

  • language authors use to express themselves

  • artwork illustrators use to express themselves



Central Idea:  Air supports our lives and it’s uses are related to its properties

Key Concepts: function, change, connection

Related Concepts: weather, seasons, climate, properties and its uses,


 gases, environment, flow, power, speed, strength, observation

Lines of Inquiry:

  • properties of air

  • how living things use air

  • weather



Central Idea: Humans use various processes to turn primary resources into products

Key Concepts: change, connection, responsibility

Related Concepts: liquids, solids, dependence, geography. interdependence, conservation, distribution, production, nutrition

Lines of Inquiry:

  • identifying primary resources

  • procedures used to change primary resources into a product

  • product distribution



Central Idea: Plants are essential to our environment and to human life.

Key Concepts: form, change, connection, responsibility

Related Concepts: geography, seasons, plants growth, dependence, interdependence,

Lines of Inquiry:

  • the conditions needed for seed growth

  • how seeds grow into the same kind of plant they came from

  • how seeds/nuts are used as a food source by living things


Language – Aims and Content 


The aim is to develop the child’s ability to express themselves in fluent, confident and accurate English within an integrated programme of speaking and listening, reading and writing. Much of the language taught is integrated into the Units of Inquiry, not necessarily isolated lessons. 

Written Expression – At the Grade One level, teachers help students to express their ideas on paper. With help, the children will work through a writing process of drafting, editing and publishing their work. They will be encouraged to use a variety of writing styles and genres. Initially, the children will try to spell on their own. Spelling aids such as personal dictionaries and word lists will also be used. The children will study frequently used words, letter sound relationships, specific letter patterns and a variety of spelling strategies.  

Reading – The children will be encouraged to develop an enjoyment of language and literature. Through reading favourite stories, poems, songs and factual text, and by participating in a variety of reading activities (e.g. making class books, comprehension activities, cloze activities [missing word], sentence making, unjumbling words), basic reading strategies will be taught, focusing on initial sound recognition then moving to the more common blends. 

The children will be taught strategies for decoding unfamiliar words with a strong emphasis on fluency and reading for meaning. Phonics skills will be taught, focusing on initial sound recognition then moving to the more common blends. Reading is encouraged not only in the classroom, but also through library visits and take home readers, using a variety of reading schemes. 

Handwriting – Zaner-Bloser printing script is used. Emphasis will be on correct letter formation, adequate spacing, correct grip and letter size. As the year progresses, there will be an emphasis on increasing speed while maintaining neatness.


Oral Communication

  • listening – learning to listen to gain information and respond appropriately

  • speaking – using spoken language to communicate effectively; express feelings and state opinions

Written Communication

  • reading – learning about the structure of print and the meaning it conveys

  • writing – using writing to express ourselves meaningfully and creatively using rules and conventions of English

Visual Communication

  • learning to use, understand and construct different forms of visual images

  • experimenting with visual media and its influence on thinking and behaviour

Dramatic Communication

  • learning how to develop creativity, self-expression and empathy

  • participating in drama

Learning Outcomes

By the end of Grade 1 students are expected to:

Oral Communication: Speaking and Listening

  • speak clearly

  • follow and give directions

  • listen attentively

  • participate in discussions and conversations

  • formulate questions

  • retell, and sequence event and stories with increasing competency

  • present a personally researched factual report

Written Communication: Reading and Writing


  • develop sight vocabulary

  • develop strategies for understanding including picture/phonic clues, reading on, re-reading and predicting

  • proof read sentences and stories with increased comprehension

  • read a variety of genres

  • understand the structure of print and the meaning it conveys


  • use capital letters, full stops, and question marks

  • write in a variety of genres

  • write imaginative stories

  • proof read, self correct, edit and publish

  • write letters correctly and of a uniform size

  • present handwriting that is consistently neat and well presented

Visual Communication: Viewing and Presenting

  • understand that communication involves visual as well as verbal features

  • recognize that signs, symbols and icons carry meaning

  • use a range of communications media to locate, present and record information

  • use technology such as a computer, printer and CD-ROM

Dramatic Communication

  • use drama to devise or adapt stories

  • take part in dramatizing a story

  • recite phrases or a poem

  • use appropriate tone and volume for a situation


Teachers use a variety of resources and mathematics schemes in their planning and teaching. The emphasis is on learning mathematics through practical activities, discussion and application.  

The aim of the programme is to help students to develop:

  • an understanding of the nature and the purpose of mathematics
  • skills in mathematical thinking with a supporting network of concepts, facts and techniques
  • confidence in using and applying mathematics
  • an appreciation for its challenges and satisfaction from solving mathematical problems
  • an awareness of the place of mathematics in solving the problems of everyday life


The mathematics curriculum is divided into five strands: Shape and Space, Data Handling, Measurement, Pattern and Function and Number.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of Grade 1 students are expected to:

The specific Mathematics Outcomes are currently under review. The revised list will be posted by the end of the first trimester.