The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom.
In the inquiry-based classroom there is emphasis on real life situations, decision-making, problem solving, research and action. The PYP is underpinned by six units of inquiry, also known as transdisciplinary themes, around which learning is planned.
- Who we are: An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social, and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
- Where we are in place and time: An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
- 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; our appreciation of the aesthetic.
- How the world works: An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
- How we organize ourselves: An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.
- Sharing the planet: An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.
These themes are selected for their relevance to the real world. They are described as transdisciplinary because they focus on issues that go across subject areas.
The transdisciplinary themes help teachers to develop a programme of inquiry. Teachers work together to develop investigations into important ideas, which require a substantial and high level of involvement on the part of students.