In the PYP, social studies is viewed as the study of people in relation to their past, their present and their future, their environment and their society. Social studies encourages curiosity and develops an understanding of a rapidly changing world. Through social studies, students develop an understanding of their personal and cultural identities. They develop the skills and knowledge needed to participate actively in their classroom, their school, their community and the world: to understand themselves in relation to their communities. The aim of social studies within the PYP is to promote intercultural understanding and respect for individuals and their values and traditions.
In support of the IB mission statement, the social studies component of the PYP curriculum will encourage students to “understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right”. Therefore, there is a strong emphasis on the reduction of prejudice and discrimination within the classroom, the school, the community and the world.
The IB learner profile is integral to teaching and learning social studies in the PYP because it represents the qualities of effective learners and internationally minded students. The learner profile, together with the five essential elements of the programme—knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action—informs planning, teaching and assessing in social studies.
Social studies learning guides students towards a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and of their place in an increasingly global society. It provides opportunities for students to look at and think about human behaviour and activity realistically, objectively, and with sensitivity. Exposure to and experience with social studies therefore opens doors to key questions about life and learning. Evidence of student learning will be apparent in their willingness and ability to take action in order to make a difference in the world.
What do we want students to know?
Human systems and economic activities
The study of how and why people construct organizations and systems; the ways in which people connect locally and globally; the distribution of power and authority.
Social organization and culture
The study of people, communities, cultures and societies; the ways in which individuals, groups and societies interact with each other.
Continuity and change through time
The study of the relationships between people and events through time; the past, its influences on the present and its implications for the future; people who have shaped the future through their actions.
Human and natural environments
The study of the distinctive features that give a place its identity; how people adapt to and alter their environment; how people experience and represent place; the impact of natural disasters on people and the built environment.
Resources and the environment
The interaction between people and the environment; the study of how humans allocate and manage resources; the positive and negative effects of this management; the impact of scientific and technological developments on the environment.