International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP)

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program: Features of the PYP

Features of the PYP

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

These themes are about issues that have meaning for, and are important to all of us. The six themes of global significance create a transdisciplinary framework that allows students to "step up" beyond the confines of learning within subject areas (

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organise ourselves
  • Sharing the planet
Other features of the PYP
  • A philosophy of teaching and learning that aims to develop internationally minded learning communities.
  • An inquiry-based pedagogy where teachers firstly provoke students to wonder and then actively incorporate students' inquiries into the classroom. At its constructivist heart, inquiry learning involves starting from what the child knows and agitating existing knowledge to bring about a personally constructed knowledge shift.
  • An appreciation of lifelong learning. In their inquiries, students learn how to think about and therefore, care about, the world.
  • The ‘action cycle’ where students learn to reflect, choose and then act, sees them making personal meaning from their learning, and deciding to take action in an authentic response. This reflects the belief at King's that learning must transcend the walls of the classroom to make a real difference in a boy's understanding of himself and his world.
  • A transdisciplinary approach to learning.
    • Students and teachers use subject disciplines as tools to explore transdisciplinary ideas of enduring importance.
    • Units of inquiry are developed as the means by which transdisciplinary learning occurs.
    • Students learn through ideas that transcend the bounds of traditional subject areas to connect with what is real in the world.
    • Students acquire and apply transdisciplinary skills (skills that are embedded within all disciplines) as well as explicit attitudes and the expectation of socially responsible behaviour.
  • Developing enduring understanding. This focus on enduring understanding occurs through the use of concepts to frame learning. This sees learners moving away from topic or subject driven learning in acknowledgement of the challenges and change of a 21st century world.