The PYP exhibition is a culmination of learning in which a child has to exhibit skills, knowledge, conceptual understanding and learner profile attributes as they engage in a process of inquiry and exhibit their learning to an audience. Students have milestones in their process that they need to reach incrementally, which may be weekly or take more time:
- exploring beliefs and values, behaviors and expression
- writing their own conceptual understandings
- connecting with personal interests
- exploring concepts
- developing questions
- writing questions to support their inquiries
- planning and scheduling time with mentors
- taking action
- creating in an expressive mode
- staging and presenting
Mentors from the school community (teachers from across the school) will also come in to help the students as they engage in their process. In the final weeks, students stage the exhibition, at which time parents and the entire NIST community are invited to see their learning. The students act as guides, taking community members through all of the exhibition learning.
The exhibition is a powerful demonstration of student agency, as well as the agency of the community that has nurtured them through their years in the PYP.
What Is the Transdisciplinary Theme for Our PYP Exhibition?
How We Express Ourselves
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; and our appreciation of the aesthetic.
How Is Learning Made Visible During the PYP Exhibition?
Whether in a digital or paper form, students document their learning through notes and graphic organizers.
As a class, students document their planning and thinking about the concepts of How We Express Ourselves.
Regular documentation and reflection will be shared through your child’s learning journal on Seesaw.
Evidence of Action
Students choose how they want to represent the changes they have made because of their exhibition learning.
Students choose a mode or form of expression to communicate ideas important to them from their exhibition process.
Questions about the Exhibition
Do students need to "pass" the exhibition?
Do students still have their regular lessons during the PYP exhibition, including specialist classes?
What will my child learn from the exhibition?
How can I support the exhibition as a family member?
- Ask your child about their process. This will show your support for their learning. You might ask about any of their exhibition milestones or have them explain what they are most recently documenting in their process journal.
- Check in with your child’s process through conversations, their learning journal on Seesaw, and during parent check-in times at school.
- Offer any person connections that you may have as your child develops their central idea and lines of inquiry. Depending on the direction their inquiry takes, you may be able to offer specific knowledge or experiences linked to it. If you cannot offer help in that way, providing tips for time management, organization and research can be useful. Honoring your child’s curiosity and showing them how your own passions and interests are important to you can also model agency as a learner.
- Facilitate your child’s independence by letting them “do” instead of having things done for them. This is an opportunity for growth through independence.
What Does Self-Directed Mean?
The PYP exhibition is a self-directed project for students. This means that students take the lead in the learning.
In the regular unit of inquiry process, the following happens:
- Teachers craft a central idea based on the transdisciplinary theme.
- Teachers choose concepts and build lines of inquiry.
- Teachers and students develop questions to access key understandings.
- Teachers decide on knowledge, skills and understandings for the unit.
- Teachers reflect with students about their learning.
During the exhibition process, the following happens:
- Students choose or craft a central idea based on the transdisciplinary theme.
- Students choose key and related concepts, and build lines of inquiry.
- Students develop questions to access key understandings.
- Students and teachers reflect on the exhibition learning process and experiences.
Learn More about the Primary Years Programme & the Exhibition
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is designed to be highly student-centered, providing children with the opportunity to be active and engaged in the learning process rather than passive recipients of teacher-directed instruction.
As they progress through the PYP, they begin to take increasing ownership of their learning, developing both a foundation in academic knowledge and increasing their self-confidence as learners.
In line with the PYP philosophy, the exhibition provides children with a powerful opportunity to direct their learning, engage meaningfully in the process, and share the outcomes with their peers and the wider community.
Research strongly supports the value of the exhibition as a culmination of the PYP, finding it to be “a valuable and pivotal experience in the life of the schools, families and students who were involved”.