The PYP - Building Successful Learners

Children between the age of 3 years old (in Kindergarten) through to 12 years of age (Year 6) at Moreton Bay College engage in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program, better known as the PYP. 

Well respected as a rich and deep approach to learning, this framework is heavily based on research about best practice for teaching and learning. The Australian Curriculum is delivered through this international framework, providing significant benefits for our learning community:  educators, families and most of all the students.

Why is the PYP so valuable for our learners?

For Children: 

The PYP Framework has a focus on engagement and purpose. Learning takes a deep dive to ensure meaning is constructed by making connections within and across the disciplines.

The PYP removes the ‘fluff’ that often wastes time in a school day. Learning tasks are carefully planned to ensure each moment of the school day has a purpose and a learning intention.


In our world of unpredictable and exponential change, a child’s greatest gift is to understand how to learn, unlearn and relearn. Learning how to adapt and change is vital for children to be successful learners now and in the future. We know that in the area of science for example, much of the content a child learns when starting secondary school, will be outdated by the time they start university. Children must know the skills to access and find authentic information for a purpose and be able to collaborate and connect with people to solve problems. They need to be able to take action and know what a valuable contribution they can make. They need to know that thinking globally but acting locally is the only thing that will guarantee positive, sustainable futures.


Providing a succinct reflection tool, the Learner Profile offers a vehicle for critical reflection that supports children in self-evaluation and setting goals for improvement. The world economy forum research reports that Employers are desperately seeking people who are able to problem solve, collaborate and demonstrate creative and innovative ideas…the skills that can never be replaced by technology and machines.


Academic engagement is rigorous and challenges thinking. The emphasis in the PYP is not on results but progress which creates an environment focused not on competition and potential failure, but active steps to keep getting better. Learning through a guided inquiry approach is very motivating for students. Our inquiries-based program is planned in response to current issues in the community and therefore children are able to engage in rich discussions with family, often with very mature and justified opinions that surprise adults around them. Children get a voice in their learning, choice of tasks and agency to enact change.


For Teachers: 

Teaching and Learning through the PYP inspires and ignites the chance to learn and think deeply as an educator. We have had a number of teachers who have come to work at MBC from non IB schools and have been excited about the chance to have some flexibility to plan tasks that are purposeful and individually tailored to the needs of children. Rather than spending time on an overload of content that is forgotten quickly, teachers are able to make decisions about time spent on tasks that are relevant, challenging and engaging. Too many schools hand teachers a plan they must teach (and not alter), then test for shallow, short-term recall. WE feel very proud of the fact that our children can focus on long term and enduring understandings.


It is impossible to be a lazy or complacent teacher in an IB PYP school. Teachers are required to plan collaboratively and have extended, rich discussions about why we are structuring learning the way we do. This demands a consistent approach and a focus on the student learning…not the teachers program. The journey for child through the school is carefully considered. If a unit if work is changed, it then impacts the learning before and after, so these discussions are required to take place across year levels. In many schools, teachers deliver the program in their own classroom with little to no consideration for what has happened prior to them commencing a unit of work.


As a school leader, it is wonderful to sit in on a teacher planning sessions where the teachers get excited about a unit of work and where the students might take it. Clearly identified outcomes provide a scaffold to ensure curriculum is covered but is the moments of ‘uncoverage’ that ignite the passion for teachers.


For Families: 

The IB is governed by intensive Standards and Practices that have been developed by the world’s best educators based on research and feedback from schools over time. An IB school must demonstrate continuous improvement in all of these standards and each practice. A detailed action plan is developed by school leaders in response to school evaluation visit and report, where trained professionals come into the school environment to observe the way the IB school environment operates in practice. The evidence in ‘triangulated’ to ensure authenticity. For a school to be successful in this evaluation process, they must be able to demonstrate excellence in written documentation, through dialogue with students staff, parents and the governing body and they must also see each of these practices visible in the school environment throughout the visit.  

In the PYP, communication with families about the learning program is an expectation. Schools have the autonomy to make decisions about how this is done, but the standards ensure parents and carers are considered partners in the learning process. Families are invited to engage in the learning process by offering feedback on student learning, taking part in dialogue between teacher and children about learning, and having a voice in policy and practices across the school.

Family background and culture is a significant priority in IB schools. As a global organisation, the IB appreciate the value and importance of respect for culture and traditions. Mother tongue and second language learning is a priority from a young age. The opportunity for people to understand diverse cultural backgrounds and for people to be able to communicate with others who have different is essential for us to be able to contribute to making a peaceful world. Families can be guaranteed of a world class learning experience for their children in the PYP, where they can transition successfully into any learning environment.