18 June 2018

Primary Years Programme (PYP)

Looking at Central Ideas

Each of the units of inquiry has a central idea. The central idea drives all questioning and investigation for that unit and is supported by two to four lines of inquiry that pull out key aspects of the central idea. A unit of inquiry will run for a period of time ranging from four to eight weeks, (usually six weeks). Ideally the central idea is written in one sentence that expresses concisely an enduring understanding.

Each central idea will support students' understanding of the particular transdisciplinary theme it is connected to, and should challenge and extend students' prior knowledge. Central ideas should be globally significant and have relevance to students in all cultures and contexts, offering students the opportunity to explore commonalities of human experience as framed by the description of the transdisciplinary theme.

Central ideas do not have to be worded in a complex way, nor do they have to be written in language appropriate to the age of the students. Words that students may not have come across before, but are essential to the understanding of the central idea, should be included. This means that the central idea may need to be "unpacked" by the teachers or students and discussed in language that the students can understand. By the end of a unit of inquiry, it is reasonable to expect students to be articulate about the central idea and to explain their understanding in their own words.

Mr Warwick Norman

Junior School Dean of Teaching & Learning