Transdisciplinary Themes & Program of Inquiry


The IB Primary Years Program is distinguished by its inclusion of six transdisciplinary themes as a framework for our district/state curriculum standards. These themes provide IB World Schools with the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues across the curriculum. These in-depth inquiries relate to the world beyond the school and are relevant and engaging. Students who learn in this way begin to reflect on their roles and responsibilities as learners and become actively involved with their education. They are expected to work in a variety of ways, on their own and in groups, to allow them to learn to their best advantage. Each theme is addressed each year by all students, and units of study last for several weeks. (Students in Pre-K and Kindergarten engage with four of the themes each year.) 

Who We Are 

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 

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 relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.