Primary Years Programme (PYP)

3rd graders programming Ozobots

Preschool through Grade 5

PYP Coordinator:  Lisa Vicencio

The Primary Years Programme at Carrollwood Day School focuses on the idea that students’ learning is based on experiences and prior knowledge.  Therefore, structured inquiry is the most common method used in the classroom.  Teachers structure learning experiences that ignite curiosity and have students search for knowledge and understandings. Students learn from local, national, and international examples and resources.

Carrollwood Day School is proud to have been the first school on the west coast of Florida to offer the PYP experience to our preschool and elementary students. We invite you to take a couple of minutes to see first hand how the programme sets up life-long learning for the youngest members of our community.

PYP Curriculum Framework 

The Essential Elements of the Primary Years Programme include creating a balance between knowledge (significant understandings), concepts, skills, attitudes and action

PYP Curriculum Framework

Transdisciplinary Themes 

The curriculum at each grade level is centered around six transdisciplinary themes:

  • 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. 

Class subjects are not taught individually instead a connection is made throughout the disciplines when studying a given unit.  Throughout the day, students reflect and assess themselves on their ability to show good character through exhibiting the IB Learner Profile.

PYP Exhibition

The PYP Exhibition is a culminating event that students at all PYP schools in the world participate in during their final year in the Primary Years Programme. This comprehensive inquiry project is a great foundation for our 5th grade students as they advance to the IB Middle Years Programme in middle school next year.

The Exhibition is an opportunity for students, during their last year in elementary school, to apply their learning from the elementary years and to reflect on their journey through the Primary Years Programme. It is a long-term, student-driven inquiry project that engages learners in "identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real life issues or problems." Students have to apply research, organizational and higher-level thinking skills as they locate and analyze information and data to help them answer their "lines of inquiry." It is also important for the students to identify a form of positive action they can take as a result of the knowledge they have gained during the Exhibition process. Finally, students share what they have learned with our school community.

PYP Assessment Policy

Purpose for assessment:

  • Supports and encourages effective teaching and learning.
  • Reflects intercultural dimensions of the programmes.
  • Determines the learners’ levels of understanding, using both formative and summative assessment.
  • Must meet the needs of students at particular ages and stages of development.

Principles of assessment:

  • Is key to planning, teaching, and learning.
  • Practices are clear to all members of the community [teachers, parents, and students].
  • There is a balance between formative and summative assessment.
  • There are opportunities for both peer and self-assessment.
  • There are opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning.
  • Before starting new learning, teachers assess students’ current knowledge and experience.
  • Teachers provide students with feedback for future learning.
  • Reporting to parents is meaningful.

Assessment practices:

  • Teachers will use a variety of assessment strategies and tools to provide feedback on the learning process.
  • Teachers will report assessment with report cards, parent-teacher conferences, student –led conferences, and anecdotal records.

In the PYP:

  • Authentic assessment will be used in conjunction with other forms of assessment such as standardized tests in order to assess the elements of the PYP (Knowledge, Concepts, Skills, and Action).
  • Teachers will assess the many ways students make use of their experiences.
  • Observations, rubrics, exemplars, anecdotal records, checklists, continuums, photographs, videos, and student portfolios will be used to record students’ responses and performances as a means of authentic assessment.
  • Digital Portfolio requirements: Our school philosophy is constructed around the understanding that the portfolios are utilized to show growth over time for students, teachers, and parents. We do believe that the main stakeholders are our students. Therefore, the portfolio is comprised mostly of student choices with reflections. The following is required to be uploaded into the portfolio: one piece of work from the six units of inquiry at the discretion of the student, one writing and one math sample at the discretion of the teacher along with one sample from Spanish, art, music, computer, science/Maker Lab music and physical education. PreK 3 and PreK 4 will include a sample from the four units of inquiry.
  • Background Knowledge Assessment will assess students’ prior knowledge of the unit being studied. Teachers will accommodate student’s knowledge by modification or accelerate content according to results.
  • Formative assessments will assess students' understanding of the learning goals and will drive the content of future lessons.
  • Summative assessments will assess the conceptual understandings within central ideas.
  • Student self-assessments will be reflective of their development of an understanding of the units of inquiry including the central idea, lines of inquiry, and learner profile. Students will focus on skill development and goal setting.  Early years student assessment relies more on oral and visual communication rather than written.
  • Peer assessment will assess students’ learning process, understanding of concepts and reflection of the learner profile development and approaches to learning.
  • Specific Assessment examples include:
    • Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing-Second-5th grade
    • High Scope Assessments-Nursery-Pre-Kindergarten
    • Directed Reading Assessment (DRA) Kindergarten-second grade
    • IRLA 3rd-5th grade 
    • Variety of web-based assessments- IXL Diagnostic, FASTT Math, SRI
    •  Being a Reader, Being a Writer, and Making Meaning assessments
    • Everyday Math Assessments


  • PYP: From Principles into Practice, IBO
  • Making the PYP Happen, A curriculum framework for international education, IBO
  • Sample Assessment Policies from the following schools:
    Caldwell Heights Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary Magnet School

Click here to download the CDS IB Assessment Policy

CDS Language Policy Continuum

As language is the key to all learning, all teachers at CDS are language teachers.

Language learning at CDS refers not only to the learning of a specific language, but it includes any and all activities which bring about learning. Through language, our students acquire the ability to think and to learn, to develop social skills and values, and to acquire knowledge.

  • Language skills are the key to inquiry.
  • Developing language means using a variety of sources, comprehending the material read, and making conclusions based on discoveries.  
  • Students must develop strong written and oral communication skills. 
  • Our primary language of instruction is English.

Click here to download the CDS Language Policy Continuum.

PYP Publications

The International Baccalaureate programmes aim to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. These publications introduce parents to the Primary Years Programme and how it provides the foundation for students to reach their full potential.

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