Osaka YMCA
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Primary Years Programme

The PYP curriculum at OYIS focuses on the holistic growth of our students. This means developing internationally-minded individuals with life-relevant transdisciplinary and disciplinary skills.

International-mindedness is a view of the world in which people see themselves connected to the global community and assume a sense of responsibility to its members. We do this by providing our students with educational opportunities that develop their academic as well as their social, physical, emotional needs through play, inquiry, exploration, and collaboration. This approach helps prepare students to become confident and independent learners ready to challenge and change themselves and the world to make it a better place.

As children, from preschool to grade 6, progress through the PYP, they become very powerful thinkers, caring classmates, and responsible citizens. They learn how to ask interesting questions about many subjects. They learn how to systematically and creatively explore those questions to develop academic expertise, and they learn to evaluate what they discover.

Academic Development

In addition to their daily transdisplinary learning, PYP students develop in their understanding and application of 10 character values known as the Learner Profile Attributes (LPs) and 5 categories of skills know as the Approaches to Learning (AtLs).

The goal of developing the LPs is to help students mature into internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

The Approaches to Learning (AtLs) are transdisciplinary skills that transfer across all learning in the school both in and out of the school. These skills make up the foundation of our teaching-learning.

In the final year of the PYP (grade 6), students undertake a major research project and then present their findings to the school community. Join us in this powerful journey that lays the foundation for students’ future success both in school and out.

PYP Model

Units of Inquiry

The units of inquiry at OYIS are the center of our teaching and learning. These transdisciplinary units combine multiple subject areas and use the IB PYP model to promote student ownership over their learning, allow for deeper understandings of the world and to develop a core set of “Learner Profile” values.

The units incorporate six themes that explore local and global issues:

    • where we are in place and time,
    • who we are,
    • how the world works,
    • how we express ourselves,
    • sharing the planet, and
    • how we organise ourselves.


Alongside these themes, students build their communication, thinking, social, research, and self-management skills.

Early Childhood

The early childhood (EC) programme is the jewel of OYIS. It is always heart-warming to see 3 to 6-year-olds come to school and learn how to exist in this world with others.

In 2016, we completed a modern facility specifically designed for preschool and kindergarten students.

The EC programme is part of our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) and uses a teaching and learning method called play-based learning. Through play and high levels of engagement, children learn about themselves, the world around them, and a wide variety of age-appropriate skills like early literacy and numeracy. It is a highly creative programme with a great deal of exploration and discovery.

For more in-depth information and a welcome from the EC coordinator, please visit our Early Childhood page.

English Language Arts

The Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop is a literacy program that runs throughout all grades of the PYP. It focuses on students taking ownership over their writing and reading by promoting student creativity and independence. Teachers introduce key ideas in mini-lessons and students apply their skills in independent reading and writing. The workshop model involves daily conferencing where teachers work one on one with students.

The Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop was developed by Columbia University’s Teacher College and is implemented in international schools worldwide.


Math learning and teaching are driven by the big mathematical concepts. Students build their depth of understanding, make connections, transfer learning to new contexts, and make sense of the world around them through problem-solving, inquiring, and creating mathematical representations.

Concept-based mathematical inquiry allows students to develop independence and curiosity while constructing their own meaning, giving them agency over their learning. We feel that it is important that students are given time and space to explore mathematical concepts and to develop mathematical understanding. Our concept-based math curriculum is based on and supported by the work of Rachel French.


The Japanese Language Programme is built around inquiry learning and utilizes communicating, thinking, collaborating, social skills, and self-management. The programme consists of two distinct courses: Japanese A, with a focus on “Language and Literature,” and Japanese B which is centered on “Language Acquisition.” Many elements of the program are designed collaboratively with homeroom teachers in order to deepen conceptual understanding and connect learning between the Japanese language units of inquiry and those of the homeroom.

Visual Arts

The PYP Art program is all about celebrating our creativity, communicating our ideas, and making connections to the world around us through art. We work hard to cultivate sustainably-minded, creative thinkers who are able to express themselves in a range of ways.

In the Early Years, our art lessons complement the units of inquiry that are happening in homeroom and invite our youngest artists to explore, discover, and enjoy using different art materials, as well as make connections between the art they create and the ideas they want to share.

In Grades 1-6, artists have the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of the concepts connected to their homeroom UOI, apply ATL skills in an art context, and develop art-specific skills and techniques in a range of mediums. They also begin to build a stronger understanding of the creative process, and its role in supporting them to create and respond to art with more purpose, knowledge, and creativity.


In our music classes, there is an emphasis on the creative process, with students continually creating and reflecting on music. We also develop a balance of core skills and knowledge that would form the core of any music program. Our students learn as they sing, dance, explore music theory and gain mastery over instruments. The music program at OYIS is designed to exemplify learning through inquiry and to enhance the student’s understanding of the transdisciplinary themes.

Physical Education

In PE, students explore physical skills while learning teamwork, sportsmanship, and other interpersonal skills. Through “physical literacy” students learn fundamental skills, building confidence and competence in a wide variety of activities and environments that develops the whole person. The physical education program consists of five units throughout the year which include: Movement Composition, Individual Pursuits, Adventure Challenge, Games, and Health-Related Fitness.


The OYIS library provides a welcoming environment for primary years students that supports learning and promotes literacy. Students can access a wide range of books. Some are curriculum-related and some just for fun!

OYIS is proud to have an experienced teacher-librarian who is passionate about getting students reading. In the library, our teacher-librarian supports students as they learn skills that equip them to be lifelong learners, critical thinkers, independent researchers, and digital citizens in a fast-changing world.

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