Primary Years Program

MEF International school is authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) to offer their Primary Years Programme (PYP). This programme is offered in many quality schools worldwide. It offers high quality education, enabling students to become lifelong learners and global citizens. It draws on international educational research to provide a framework of what the students need to learn and how they learn. In common with all IB programmes, the focus is on personal and academic achievement, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal development. Some of the information below has been sourced from the International Baccalaureate Organization publications.


Learner Profile

The PYP programme, as with all IB programmes is centered on students developing the attributes of the IB learner profile. The Learner Profile is a set of values, which collectively describe the qualities of internationally-minded people.

These values form the culture and ethos of our school and apply not only to our students but to our whole school community. The learner profile attributes are; inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, reflective.

What do students learn?

  • Knowledge: Significant relevant content that we wish students to know about.
  • Concepts: Understanding powerful ideas.
  • Skills: To enable students to succeed in a changing challenging world.
  • Attitudes: Approaches to learning and the world around them that support them as enthusiastic lifelong learners
  • Action: Understanding and experiencing that everyone can make a difference.

How do they learn?

Most learning is approached through guided inquiry. Teachers provide carefully considered learning experiences in transdisciplinary units of inquiry and within traditional subject areas. Students are encouraged and supported to apply and extend their own learning, developing questions that are relevant to the theme and their own interests. Children frequently learn through experiential learning, including field trips.

How do we know they have learned?

Assessment is an important component of the PYP. Teachers carry out a wide range of frequent assessments to find out what students need to learn(formative assessment) and what they have learnt (summative assessment). Assessments may include written assessments and also other activities. Results of assessments are often shared with students and parents.

One very important opportunity for assessment is the Grade 5 exhibition. Students develop their own inquiries into an area of particular interest to them. They are expected to show their PYP knowledge, understanding and skills and develop some sort of action from their inquiries.

The Units of Inquiry

Each class studies units of inquiry. Our Early Childhood Centre classes explore four units of inquiry, allowing time for extended units and emerging inquiries coming from the children’s own interests. Grade One to Grade 5 classes explore six units of inquiry

The Transdisciplinary Themes

Knowledge is described in the six transdisciplinary themes and in the individual subject areas. The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB Primary Years Programme 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.

The six transdisciplinary themes are:

Who we are

An inquiry into the nature of 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 time and place

An inquiry into orientation in time and place; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals, 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 organise ourselves

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organisations; 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.

The Subject Areas

Students study six subject areas. Social studies and Science are taught within the units of inquiry. The other subject areas are taught as stand alone subjects as well as being integrated into the units of inquiry.

The subject areas are:

  • Language
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts (Music and The Visual Arts)
  • Science
  • Personal, Social and Physical Education

The Essential Elements

In an IB PYP school a balance is sought between the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, development of conceptual understanding, demonstration of positive attitudes, and taking of responsible action. Collectively these form the five essential elements of the PYP. These elements are outlined in detail below.


A set of eight concepts and subsequent questions enable students to explore ideas within and across subject areas.

These concepts are:

  • 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?

The Transdisciplinary Skills

Students acquire and apply a set of transdisciplinary skills. These skills are valuable, not only in school for learning within the units of inquiry and the specific subject areas, but also for learning about life outside the school. Therefore, these skills are not taught in isolation, but are developed throughout the programme.

These skills are:

  • Form – Thinking skills
  • Function – Self-management skills
  • Causation – Research skills
  • Change – Social skills
  • Connection – Communication skills


Students acquire and apply a set of transdisciplinary skills. These skills are valuable, not only in school for learning within the units of inquiry and the specific subject areas, but also for learning about life outside the school. Therefore, these skills are not taught in isolation, but are developed throughout the programme.

These attitudes are:

  • Appreciation
  • Commitment
  • Confidence
  • Cooperation
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Empathy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Tolerance


In the PYP it is believed that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitudes but also thoughtful and appropriate action. The action component of the PYP can involve service in the widest sense of the word: service to fellow students, and to the larger community, both in and outside the school. Through such service, students are able to grow both personally and socially, developing skills such as cooperation, problem solving, conflict resolution, and creative and critical thinking. Actions that students take are in themselves evidence of learning.

The transdisciplinary themes, individual subject areas and essential elements outline the International Baccalaureate Primary Years programme.