Primary Years Programme

Al-Bassam International School is an authorized IB PYP (Primary Years Programme) school.

The IB Primary Years Programme ranges from Pre-KG to Grade 5 and focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and the global society.
PYP and BIS share the belief that the students learn best when they are exposed to authentic real-world experiences and reflect upon their learning. Students build their own knowledge and incorporate new information in their schema to develop their understanding. The PYP incorporates real-world knowledge into six transdisciplinary themes, where the learning is not confined within the boundaries of traditional subject areas but is supported and enriched by them.

 PYP students have agency, they take responsibility and ownership of their learning and put their knowledge into action to make a positive change locally and globally. At BIS, we teach concepts, skills, and knowledge to support the development of international mindedness in our students.

Action, the core of student agency, is integral to the PYP learning process.

BIS puts international mindedness into action by connecting learner agency to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We use the SDGs to bring global issues into our classrooms and spread awareness about the world around them to develop empathy, take action and bring about change.

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Al-Bassam International Schools utilizes the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum at all levels. The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally-minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success.

They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them.

Each of the IB’s programmes is committed to the development of students according to the IB learner profile.


Inquirers – Students develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry, research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning. Knowledgeable – Students explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

Thinkers – Students exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions. Communicators – Students understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

Principled – Students act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them. Open-minded – Students understand and appreciate their own cultures, personal histories and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.

Caring – Students show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have personal commitment to service and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

Risk-takers – Students approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought. They have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.

Balanced – Students understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

Reflective – Students give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development

Learner profile Icon

Approaches to learning

Subject-specific skills and approaches to learning

When learning about and through the subjects, students acquire skills that best help them to learn those subjects. For example, in language, the students become literate, and in mathematics they become numerate. The acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills, in their broadest sense, is essential, as these skills provide students with the tools to inquire.

Beyond the skills of literacy and numeracy, there is a range of interrelated approaches to learning that are transferable across contexts. These skills support purposeful inquiry and set the foundations for lifelong learning. The development of these skills is frequently identified in education literature as crucial in supporting students to effectively learn and succeed inside and outside of school

The IB’s ATL aim to support student agency and the development of cognitive and metacognitive skills and dispositions so that students view learning as something that they “do for themselves in a proactive way, rather than as a covert event that happens to them in reaction to teaching” (Zimmerman 2000: 65). Together, these ATL help students think, research, communicate, socialize and manage themselves effectively.

Embedded within the ATL are digital literacy skills that can be an invaluable resource for information gathering or processing, as well as for critical and creative thinking, communication and collaboration.

By combining ATL and the attributes of the learner profile, PYP students become self-regulated learners. Self-regulated learners are agents of their own learning. They know how to:

set learning goals

ask open-ended questions

generate motivation and perseverance

reflect on achievement

try out different learning processes

self-assess as they learn

adjust their learning processes where necessary

(Zimmerman and Schunk 2001; de Bruin et al. 2012; Wolters 2011).



 Does the PYP have a specific set of standards?   

  • The IB standards offer rigorous guidelines that allow for school and classroom practices to align with the IB educational philosophy and values. The PYP is a framework for schools and their approach to learning and teaching. Students explore significant concepts through units of inquiry. The six transdisciplinary themes that guide units of inquiry in each school year are:
    • Who we are
    • Where we are in place and time
    • How we express ourselves
    • How the world works
    • How we organize ourselves
    • Sharing the plane
  • Units of inquiry authentically interweave ideas and skills from the relevant subject areas:
    • language
    • social studies
    • mathematics
    • arts
    • science
    • personal, social and physical education

    This approach encourages students to make their own connections between what they know and how it relates to the world around them. The school outlines its specific knowledge content and academic curriculum within the framework of the PYP including:
    • Knowledge content organized by the transdisciplinary themes. Each school decides specific concepts and topics studied through each theme based on their local context.
    • Approaches to learning skills aimed to help students become independent, self-motivated learners.
    • Action initiated by learners that is authentic, meaningful, mindful, responsible and responsive of their learning and the world they live in.



The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) for children aged 3 – 12 nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.

Through its inquiry-led, transdisciplinary framework, the PYP challenges students to think for themselves and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues and opportunities in real-life contexts.

The PYP is organized according to:

Does implementing an IB programme mean my child’s school will not teach local or national standards such as the Common Core?

The IB is committed to making sure that students in IB programmes meet and exceed local or national standards. With the implementation of any IB programme, schools are required to examine their curriculum carefully to ensure that there is alignment with local, state or national standards.
More information on the IB and the Common Core is available at


units of inquiry 

  • PYP  six transdisciplinary themes
    Who We Are
    An investigation into the nature of the self, beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relations including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; What it means to be human.

    Where we are in space and time:   An investigation into our orientation in space and time. and our personal history; Homelands and travel; humankind's discoveries, explorations, and migrations; The connection between individuals and civilizations and their mutual relationships, from a local and global perspective.

    How We Express Ourselves :An examination of the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs, and values; the ways in which we reflect, expand and enjoy our creativity; And our appreciation for what is beautiful.

    How the World Works : Research into the natural world and its laws, and the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; and the impact of scientific and technical developments on society and the environment.

    How We Organize Ourselves :An investigation into the relationship of human-made systems to societies; the structure and function of organizations; social decision making; Economic activities and their impact on humans and the environment.

    Sharing the Planet : An examination of rights and responsibilities in humans' struggle to share the planet's limited resources with others and other living things; societies and the
    relationships within and between them; equal opportunities; Peace and conflict resolution.



• Kindergarten Curriculum Overview
• KG1, KG2, and KG3 focus on four transdisciplinary themes which provide the framework for exploration of knowledge throughout the year. Teachers plan a wide variety of inquiry-based learning experiences and the children’s own questions are incorporated into the class program. We develop life-long learners by incorporating play-based learning, inquiry and student agency in our day-to-day lessons.

Teachers provide opportunities for students to speak, listen, read, and write in a safe and stimulating environment
to encourage risk-taking and learning. Our aim is to develop students’ ability to express themselves fluently, confidently, and accurately in oral, written, and visual communication systems.

We develop mathematical concepts by using inquiry in our math classes. A variety of opportunities are provided for the students to explore their surroundings. These experiences are the first steps of their discoveries to numbers and logics. Students are encouraged to think actively while answering questions, think about their thinking, and model their thinking in words, pictures or symbols.

The main objective of science units is to cultivate curiosity, pique their interest about the world around them and build their knowledge and understanding. Therefore, we strive to provide them with maximum opportunities to interact with materials in their environment, enrich them with learning experiences and compare their findings of scientific experiments by using their five senses.

Religious Studies
The curriculum includes short Quranic surahs and prayers. We reinforce the curriculum by instilling Islamic values and practicing and relating those values to real life Social Studies

In kindergarten, the social studies curriculum focuses on developing the student’s personal identity and helping them recognize and understand society structures like family, school, community members and cultures. They begin to develop the concept of being a good citizen in the community, self-assessing needs and wants and beginning to understand the concept of geographic features.
Personal, Social, and Physical Education (PSPE):

Personal, Social, and Physical Education in the PYP is concerned with the aspects that concern the interest of the individual through the development of concepts, knowledge and skills that contribute to the utilising of this interest. A student's interest is closely linked to all aspects of his/her experience in and outside of school, includes physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and social development and health, and contributes to self-understanding and the development and maintenance of relationships with others, while participating in an active and healthy lifestyle. Gross Motor Skills

We teach them how to control their muscles to be able to jump, run, and develop their ability to balance in order to help them learn how to coordinate movement of different parts of their bodies spontaneously without thinking. Fine Motor Skills

From arts, math, and cooking to writing activities, we implement the use of different materials in order for children to learn how to move, control, and coordinate the movement between their eyes and their hands.

 Primary School 

Primary School (Grade 1 to 5)

  • Six transdisciplinary themes provide the framework for exploration of knowledge. DAS establishes a firm foundation in the core subjects of Arabic and English language, social studies, math & science (taught in both languages alternately, one year in Arabic and the following year in English) through the Units of Inquiry.
  • The curriculum is enriched through special subject classes that connect to the Units of Inquiry including arts, technology, library, personal, social and physical education (PSPE), and Islamic education.
  • The culmination of this process is highlighted in the final year of PYP. Grade 5 students put on an exhibition where they celebrate their achievements with their fellow classmates during a whole day exhibition where they invite their parents, relatives and even friends.
  • Student assessment is conducted through a variety of techniques including daily observations, performance tasks, and formative & summative assessments.
  • Language
  • According to our school language policy, we are taught the curriculum 70% by English language and 30% according to the ministry identity subject. We cultivate lifelong readers and writers by catering to their individual needs. We develop proficiency in language by focusing on the skills and strategies of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and viewing and presenting. Our classroom setup, including classroom libraries, supports and promotes the learning of both languages. classrooms are also equipped with a variety of resources to assist in all types of learning.
  • Mathematics
  • We develop mathematical concepts by using inquiry in our math classes. The students are involved in developing number sense, fluency, and computational thinking skills. We not only develop content knowledge but also cater to them as learners by focusing on mathematical practices and their implementation in daily classes through implicit teaching and self-reflection.
  • Science
  • In teaching science, we focus on three main dimensions of our science curriculum. We integrate the engineering practices with the disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts. The students are immersed in inquiry lessons to develop a deeper understanding of the world around them through the conceptual lens of their units
  • Religious Studies
  • In grades 1 & 2, we teach integrated Religious Studies lessons. While in grades 3 to 5, we work on teaching students Quran recitation as well as Quran and Sunnah comprehension skills and values. We focus on providing the students with the basic knowledge of “Fiqah and Tawheed” to apply it to their daily lives.
  • Social Studies
  • In Social studies, we develop citizenship and identity by teaching the geographical aspects of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Countries which includes the main aspects of geography such as locations, regions, movement, and interactions of different people. In the light of the international standards, the social studies curriculum for grades 1-5 also develops international mindedness by tackling global issues and current affairs within our units of inquiry. We study topics related to the environment and sustainability, personal history and civilizations and the ever-changing and dynamic human societies and cultures.
  • Arts
  • We teach the principles of arts throughout a variety of projects that are relevant and authentic and vary from drawing and painting to
  • designing and building   with the aim at developing the students’ artistic sense and strengthening their art criticism and social skills
  • Information And Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Our students are “growing up digital” with easy real-time access to vast amounts of information, people, and interactive media via the Internet and other Information Communication Technology. ICT Teachers are preparing students for future roles and occupations in society that may not currently exist. It is certain that they will need to be digitally literate for these future roles and responsibilities.  Therefore, there is a need to address ICT not as a separate stand-alone program, but rather, as a tool to be used for the enhancement of learning, communication, and creativity. The curricula are based on international standards starting from grade 1 to grade 5 in which we work on developing the digital citizenship within BIS students.
  • Personal, Social, and Physical Education (PSPE)
  • Personal, social, and physical education in a PYP school is more than just student participation in sports and games. Its purpose is to develop a combination of transferable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development; to encourage present and future choices that contribute to long-term healthy living; and to understand the cultural significance of physical activities for individuals and communities

PYP Exhibition

What is the PYP Exhibition (PYPx)?

  • All IB programmes include a culminating or consolidating learning experience in their final year: the exhibition in the PYP; the personal project in the Middle Years Programme (MYP); the extended essay in the Diploma Programme (DP).
  • In the PYP exhibition, students demonstrate their understanding of an issue or opportunity they have chosen to explore. They undertake their investigation both individually and with their peers, together with the guidance of a mentor. Throughout the exhibition, students demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their learning - and their capacity to take action - as they are actively engaged in planning, presenting and assessing learning
  • It is an opportunity for students to showcase their abilities to

conduct in-depth inquiries, apply their understanding

 of transdisciplinary skills, and demonstrate their commitment to

 the PYP learner profile attributes.


What is the Purpose of the PYPx?

It is a student-centred learning experience, and students have agency over their learning throughout the entire process. Teacher guidance is also an important aspect of the exhibition. Teachers support students in developing their ideas, research, and skills needed to complete the project successfully

  • The key purposes of the exhibition are:
  • for students to engage in an in-depth, collaborative inquiry
  • to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate agency and responsibility for their learning
  • to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate the attributes of the learner profile in authentic contexts
  • to provide students with an opportunity to explore multiple perspectives
  • to provide an authentic process for students to monitor, document and present their learning




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