Curriculum Standards and Frameworks

Our International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) Curriculum Framework

The PYP curriculum framework begins with the premise that students are agents of their own learning and partners in the learning process. It prioritizes people and their relationships to build a strong learning community.

PYP students use their initiative to take responsibility and ownership of their learning. By learning through inquiry and reflecting on their own learning, PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and the attributes of the IB Learner profile to make a difference in their own lives, their communities, and beyond.

The framework emphasizes the central principle of agency, which underpins the three pillars of school life:

Embedded in the framework is the recognition of the importance of fostering agency, or an individual's self-efficacy. Students with a agency or a strong sense of self-efficacy are active in their own learning.

Together with the IB Learner Profile attributes, the IB elements form the basis for teaching and learning in the PYP.


IB Elements:

  • the programme of inquiry—the structure that articulates what, when and how learners explore the transdisciplinary themes from 3–12 years
  • concepts that have relevance across, between and beyond the subjects and that connect knowledge to enable learners to build conceptual understandings
  • the approaches to learning and inquiry-based and student-centered approaches to teaching both crucial for developing inquiring minds and the skills needed to explore concepts and subject knowledge
  • reflection and taking action to enhance individual and collective understanding and learning or to address personal, local and/or global challenges and opportunities.



2023-2024 POI 


More about IB elements...


Together with the IB Learner Profile attributes, the elements below are craftfully woven into the Birney Programme of Inquiry. Our curriculum map, or POI, consists of 44 units unique to Birney Elementary. The POI is designed, reviewed and revised annually by our IB trained educators to meet the developmental, academic, social, and emotional needs of our students. These units lead student inquiry, exploration, and play in the classroom and across the campus. Our units aim to develop caring, balanced, open-minded, principled, reflective and knowledgeable inquirers, communicators and risk-takers with knowledge, understanding and skills to take action withiin and beyond our learning community. 

KNOWLEDGE How can you celebrate life-long learning?

Six IB Transdisciplinary Themes 

  1. Who We Are
  2. Where We Are in Time and Place
  3. How We Express Ourselves
  4. How the World Works
  5. How We Organize Ourselves

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Common Core Math

Common Core: English Language Arts/literacy standards brochures provide insight into what your children learn as they progress through the grade levels.

  • The brochures also offer suggestions for supporting your child's learning and a list of additional resources.

          en español


California Content Standards

SEVEN IB KEY CONCEPTS How can you have fun exploring these concepts at home?

The seven key concepts have relevance withing and across subject areas, but also transcend them.

  • Form
    • What is it like?
  • Function
    •  How does it work?
  • Causation
    • Why is it like this?
  • Connection
    • How is it connected to other things?
  • Perspective
    • What are the points of view?
  • Responsiblity
    • What is my/our responsibility?

FIVE IB APPROACHES TO LEARNING SKILLS How can you  practice these skills at home?


IB AGENCY SUPPORTS ACTION How can you help your child take action in the community?

What is action?

  • Participation
  • Advocacy
  • Social Justice
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Lifestyle Choices

Learners with agency can:

  • actively engage with all stages of learning
  • actively involve themselves in discussions and questioning 
  • understand through construction of their own projects
  • make connections
  • speak up - active voice
  • face challenges with courage
  • take-risks
  • reflect on actions
  • self-regulate

For examples of our learners taking action, please visit our Birney Exhibtion Website.

10 IB LEARNER PROFILE ATTRIBUTES Which of the learner profile attributes are strongest in your home? Which are the attributes that are most important to you and your family?





What makes our IB approaches to teaching so successful?

Our key pedagogical principals are:

  • based on inquiry
  • focused on conceptual understanding
  • focus on effective teamwork and collaboration
  • differentiated and inclusive to meet needs of all learners
  • informed by ongoing reflection and assessment


Visit to learn more about the IB PYP curriculum

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