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International Baccalaureate: Primary Years Program

The IB Primary Years Programs focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside.

The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB Primary Years Program are the six transdisciplinary themes.

Each theme has indicators that help to define the scope of the theme.


Six Transdisciplinary Themes

  • Have global significance – for all students in all cultures
  • Offer students the opportunity to explore the commonalities of human experience
  • Are supported by knowledge, concepts, and skills from the traditional subject areas but utilize them in ways that transcend the confines of these subjects, thereby contributing to a transdisciplinary model of teaching and learning
  • Will be revisited throughout the students’ years of schooling, so that the end result is immersive in broad-ranging, in-depth, articulated curriculum content
  • Contribute to the common ground that unifies the curriculums in all PYP schools
  • Each theme has a descriptor that explains what students will be inquiring into under this theme

Transdisciplinary Themes

An inquiry into

  • The nature of 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

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

An Inquiry Into

  • The interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities
  • The structure and function of organizations
  • Societal decision-making
  • Economical activities and their impact on humankind and the environment

– An inquiry into

  • Orientation in place and time
  • personal histories
  • Home and journeys
  • The discoveries, explorations, and migrations of humankind
  • The relationships between the interconnectedness of individuals, and citizens, from local and global perspectives

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

An Inquiry Into

  • The 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