PYP Transdisciplinary Themes

The PYP programme of inquiry is defined by the six transdisciplinary themes that are considered worthy of inquiry regardless of the age of the student. These are: Who we are, Where we are in place and time, How we express ourselves, How the world works, How we organize ourselves, and sharing the planet. Each theme is explored in a unit of inquiry that is planned and documented on a PYP planner. Six units of inquiry – one for each transdisciplinary theme – should be addressed each year, except in the case of the early years. Exceptionally, the 3–5 year olds are required to complete at least four units of inquiry each year. Two transdisciplinary themes are considered fundamentally relevant to all young students and must be included each year. These are: Who we are and How we express ourselves. Please note that the 5-6 year olds are required to do six units.

   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.