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IB Primary Years Programme

First Steps to Grade 5

Glenlyon Norfolk School is proud to be authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) from First Steps (3/4 year olds) to Grade 5 (10/11 year olds).

What is the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme

The IB PYP utilizes the best of educational research and is a world leader in future-focussed global education, responding to the challenges and opportunities facing young students in our rapidly changing world.

gns students working on project

Benefits of the IB PYP

The PYP takes a student-centred approach to teaching and learning that:

Develops student agency

Students take responsibility and ownership of their learning allowing them to develop the ability to direct their learning with a strong sense of identity and self-belief.

Is inquiry-based

Students actively construct meaning by gathering and analyzing information, reviewing it against existing knowledge and find connections and patterns to develop deep understandings about the world around them.

Is transdisciplinary

Teachers use an integrated approach to teaching and learning that allows knowledge to go across, between and beyond traditional subjects boundaries.

Develops conceptual understandings

Concepts add depth to student learning allowing students to acquire powerful understandings that are broad, abstract, timeless and universal.

Cultivates international-mindedness

Students develop a way of thinking, being and acting that reflects a commitment to understanding the diverse range of peoples, cultures and societies in the world. The attributes of the GNS IB Learner Profile represent a broad range of skills and dispositions that support this growth and are the foundation for developing international-mindedness.

Promotes Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills

Students gain essential skills that help them develop an understanding of how they learn in order for them to become self-regulated learners. ATL skills help learners to think, research, communicate, socialize and manage themselves effectively.

IB Facts


Number of schools in which the IB PYP is offered in over 127 countries


Number of years GNS has been an IB World Continuum school


Number of transdisciplinary themes that frame the Units of Inquiry


GNS 5-year average IB Diploma pass rate


World 5-year average IB Diploma pass rate


Average percentage of Grade 12 students taking the full IB Diploma

PYP Featured News

IB PYP Essentials — Why is inquiry-based learning so powerful?

Inquiry-based learning is a powerful approach to education because it places the responsibility for learning in the hands of the learner. Rather than being passive recipients of information, your child will actively engage in the process of constructing their own knowledge and understanding.

Active Contributors to Learning

Inquiry teachers prioritize student learning and view their students as active contributors to the learning experience. They facilitate a two-way learning process by engaging students to explore questions, challenges, and opportunities, while fostering high-order transferable skills such as critical and creative thinking, evaluating, analyzing, synthesizing, and applying.

2 gns students with box of rocks

student writing in book sitting down

Motivating Students to Succeed

Students are more motivated to learn because they actively—through direct, hands-on experiences—tackle real world challenges and opportunities through authentic local and global contexts.

Ownership and Confidence in Learning

Students take ownership of their learning and develop a sense of confidence in their abilities and the motivation to achieve their objectives. They demonstrate initiative by expressing their interests, asking questions, making choices, and evaluating their progress towards achieving their learning goals.

student writing on paper


In the PYP, learning is organized across six Transdisciplinary Themes. These themes are authentic and engaging and capture universal human experiences that are meaningful and applicalbe across cultures and geographic regions, regardless of the age of the learner. At GNS, the British Columbia provincial curriculum is taught through the Transdisciplinary Themes by engaging the students through units of inquiry.

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Who we are

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

Where we are in place and time

An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

How we express ourselves

An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

How the world works

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

How we organize ourselves

An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

Sharing the planet