Primary Years Program (PYP)

In Grades K-5, students dive into 6 transdisciplinary units of inquiry each year. All 36 of these units are referred to as our Program of Inquiry (POI). The Academy for Global Citizenship curriculum taught in these units covers the major expectations considered essential in the IB, the State of Illinois, the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards and the Cloud Institute Sustainability Standards.

The transdisciplinary nature of the Program of Inquiry allows for all subjects (including language arts, mathematics, social studies, art, and even physical education) to be integrated into each Unit of Inquiry. This integration teaches children to connect ideas and experiences, and offers a meaningful context for learning. Below is a brief description of content areas within our program to give an idea of the scope and sequence of the various aspects of the AGC curriculum.

Literacy/Language Arts in English and Spanish

Language is fundamental to learning and permeates the entire IB. By learning language as well as learning about and through language, students nurture an appreciation of the richness of language and a love of literature. We do this in two languages at AGC!

The academic expectations based on the Common Core State Standards and IL Spanish Literacy standards are arranged into three main strands, although in practice they are interactive and interrelated elements of the program.

Oral Communication: listening and speaking

  • Students learn to listen attentively, to understand and evaluate what they hear, to think about both literal and inferred meanings, and to respond appropriately
  • Speakers use oral language to ask and answer questions; relate and retell; persuade; talk about needs, feelings, ideas and opinions; and to contribute to discussions in a range of formal and informal situations.

Written Communication: reading and writing

  • Students learn how to understand, interpret and respond to the ideas, attitudes and feelings expressed in various texts; to think critically about what they read; and to be able to make predictions and inferences based on information that is both explicit and implicit in a text.
  • Writing is a powerful means by which to remember, develop, organize, gain self-knowledge and communicate ideas, feelings and information. Grammar, spelling, handwriting, punctuation and paragraphing are taught gradually through writing practice.

Visual communication: viewing and presenting

  • Opportunities are provided to explore the function and construction of images in order to critically analyze a wide variety of media.
  • Learning to understand and use different media expands the sources of information and expressive abilities of students.


The IB views mathematics not as a fixed body of knowledge to be transmitted, but as a way of thinking and a language for understanding meaning. Expectations of essential knowledge are arranged into five interwoven strands of knowledge:

  • Pattern and Function
  • Number
  • Shape and Space
  • Data Handling
  • Measurement

Mathematics provides the models, systems and processes for handling data, making and comparing measurements, and solving spatial problems. AGC constructs its mathematics curriculum around these five strands, and in line with the various stages of mathematical learning described by current cognitive psychological research.

TERC Investigations Math

TERC Investigations is used as the core of our mathematics curriculum and is supplemented by a wide range of other materials and resources. This series supports the math content of the Units of Inquiry and the principles of the IB.

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The content of the science curriculum is driven by the Next Generation Science Standards. Many of the units of inquiry that we teach are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. These units provide opportunities for students to engage in scientific investigations by making accurate observations, handling tools, recording and comparing data, and formulating explanations using their own scientific experiences and those of others. The AGC Science curriculum is arranged into four main strands:

  • Physical Science

  • Life Science

  • Earth and Space Science

  • Engineering Design


The AGC PE scope and sequence identifies the major expectations considered essential in the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Through PE, students learn to understand what they can and cannot do physically and become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses in this discipline. Physical activity is an essential aspect of a well-balanced lifestyle and learning through PE helps to build self-esteem, confidence, cooperation and fitness. Teachers also integrate health and nutrition using our teaching kitchens and CPS Sexual Education curriculum throughtout the year. Wherever possible and appropriate, links are made with the School’s programme of inquiry.

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AGC uses the IL Arts standards to offer both Visual Arts, Music and Performance opportunities for students throughout units of inquiry and Specialist Classes. Units of inquiry based on creative expression of all forms take place throughout the POI and all units offer moments for arts to take stage during performance tasks and representation of learning. Single subject teachers also instruct students in arts courses throughout their elementary years and build strong connections with unit content across the PYP.

Grading in the PYP

AGC has co-created a grading scale that allows teachers, parents and students to goal set and check in regularly on student progress. These are used on two formal report cards in the middle and end of the school year. Parents and students get much more regular feedback from a variety of assessments, conferences, and virtual portfolios that allow for regular partnership, reflection and conversation about learning on all sides.

  • E
    Exceeds current expectations

    is working at a level beyond that expected for this time of year and may meet this standard before the end of the year if learning continues at this pace
  • M
    Meets current expectations

    is making the progress needed to meet the standard by the end of the year
  • AE
    Approaching current expectations

    is making the progress needed to meet the standard by the end of the year only with extra help and support
  • N
    Not yet meeting current expectations

    is currently not making the progress needed to meet the standard by the end of the year