Primary Years Programme curriculum framework
The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB Primary Years Programme are the six transdisciplinary themes.
Six transdisciplinary themes
These themes provide IB World Schools with the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues into the curriculum and effectively allow students to “step up” beyond the confines of learning within subject areas.
Who we are
Inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; person, 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
Inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
How we express ourselves
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
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
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
Inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and other living things; communities and the relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.
Each theme is addressed each year by all students. (Students aged 3 to 5 engage with four of the themes each year).
In addition all PYP students have the opportunity to learn more than one language from the age of seven.
These transdisciplinary themes help teachers to develop a programme of inquiries–investigations into important ideas, identified by the schools, and requiring a high level of involvement on the part of the students. These inquiries are substantial, in-depth and usually last for several weeks.
Since these ideas relate to the world beyond the school, students see their relevance and connect with it in an engaging and challenging way. Students who learn in this way begin to reflect on their roles and responsibilities as learners and become actively involved with their education. All students will come to realise that that a unit of inquiry involves them in in-depth exploration of an important idea, and that the teacher will collect evidence of how well they understand that idea. They will expect to be able to work in a variety of ways, on their own and in groups, to allow them to learn to their best advantage.
The Primary Years Programme offers a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning. It provides a complete curriculum model which incorporates guidelines on what students should learn, as well as guidelines on teaching methodologies and assessment strategies. This model is expressed through three interrelated questions shown in this diagram:
What do we want students to understand?
Eight fundamental concepts, expressed as key questions, propel the process of inquiry and help to encourage a transdisciplinary perspective. These concepts drive the research units called units of inquiry which teachers and students design and which lie at the heart of the curriculum model.
The concepts are the following:
- Form: What is it like?
- Function: How does it work?
- Causation: Why is it like it is?
- Change: How is it changing?
- Connection: How is it connected to other things?
- Perspective: What are the points of view?
- Responsibility: What is our responsibility?
- Reflection: How do we know?
Skills - What do we want students to be able to do?
The five sets of transdisciplinary skills acquired in the process of structured inquiry are: thinking, communication, social, research and self management skills.
Attitudes - What do we want students to feel, value and demonstrate?
The programme promotes and fosters a set of attitudes that include tolerance, respect, integrity, independence, enthusiasm, empathy, curiosity, creativity, cooperation, confidence, commitment and appreciation.
Action -How do we want students to act?
Students are encouraged to reflect, to make informed choices and to take action that will help their peers, school staff and the wider community.
IB learner profile
The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century.
The short video below helps to bring the learner profile alive.