The entire curriculum provided for by the Ministry of Education, for every grade level, is taught in an organized manner within the context of the transdisciplinary units of the PYP. The subject areas as we have traditionally known them (mathematics, language, science and social studies, physical education, etc) are contained in the core of the inquiring nature of the 6 transdisciplinary themes of the PYP:
- 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 way 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 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.
The PYP themes provide our School with the framework and the method to include local and global issues in its detailed curriculum and give learners the chance to expand their learning and knowledge beyond the limits of subject areas.
When children are first introduced to school, they are not familiar with the segmentation of knowledge and separate lessons. In fact this segmentation does not exist in their everyday lives! Thus, segmenting knowledge into lessons is neither necessary nor natural! However, we do not see lessons as the enemy but as an indispensable ally! Therefore, we continuously work on achieving interconnectedness between lessons and making combinations by creating transdisciplinary units and projects that bear value and meaning for children and are interesting too. This interconnectedness between and beyond lessons is indeed how children translate and link their knowledge to the real world.
Unesco suggests that a solution/action that would lead to sustainable development is in fact implementing transdisciplinary approaches in education! A school under a transdisciplinary programme has a cohesive yet also flexible curriculum, functions as an educational community, promotes collaborative and inquiry-based work and favours action and participation, advancing, thus, the learners’ critical thinking!
The benefits of the transdisciplinary curriculum for our students
In School, amidst an abundance of scientific, technological, linguistic, artistic, intellectual, athletic, theatrical, humanitarian, ecological stimuli, children:
- “learn how to learn”;
- have stronger motive to learn –such motive in fact motivates them to find their own solutions to problems;
- maintain their natural curiosity, develop their critical thinking and practice in excelling their knowledge;
- cultivate their social and interpersonal relationships even more and are lead to deeper self-awareness;
- feel relatedness and familiarity, connected with the school and their teachers –and this in fact helps them in building and enhancing their sense of autonomy and self-confidence; and
- feel as active members of the community and the world.
Knowing how crucial these years are for our learners’ academic and social maturity, moreover, we encourage them to develop proper time-management skills and evolve their imagination, to keep inquiring and to enhance these abilities that will be useful to them in their future. We guide them so that they attain the requisite knowledge within school hours and spend their free time in entertaining and creative engagements.