Learning that is transdisciplinary

As a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), learning in our junior campuses is organised around six transdisciplinary themes. 'The transdisciplinary themes capture human commonalities that are significant and relevant across cultures, geographic regions and student learning stages' (IB 2018). They also incorporate a balance of subject-specific knowledge, conceptual understandings, and skills, alongside opportunities to develop the IB learner profile's attributes and take action.Each year level engages with the themes throughout the year, with the Early Years and Prep/Foundation learners focusing on four of the themes and Year 1 – Year 6 learners focusing on all six at different times in the year.

One of the transdisciplinary themes, Who we are, incorporates thinking and inquiry connected to the following concepts:

  • 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.

The different aspects of the Who we are transdisciplinary theme are addressed at different year levels in ways that are relevant and significant to the age of the learners. For example, our youngest learners in the Early Years explore and learn about themselves and others and how they can contribute to our learning community, finding out about others' emotions, choices, and relationships. The Prep/Foundation learners build on these concepts by inquiring into personal identity, strategies for building relationships and understanding how our actions can impact others.

The Year 3 & 4s are doing their Who we are unit at the moment, focusing on understanding wellbeing and how we can contribute to and promote it in our own and others' lives. The unit incorporates subject knowledge from Health, Physical Education, Civics and Citizenship, Maths and English while also developing social skills such as respecting and supporting others and self-management skills such as mindfulness and resilience.

The students at Minimbah spent some time this week participating in activities to support wellbeing & then using the PERMA model to reflect on how the activities support wellbeing and which element of PERMA the activities are connected to. Some of the student reflections included:

"I was so engaged because I didn't want to finish. Also, relationships because it was fun to talk and make things with our friends".

"Engagement because we didn't want to stop."

"Achievement, because I made it to the end of Teddy Bear, for the first time".

"Positive emotions, because I felt so happy and we were laughing."

The students at Penbank have also been exploring activities that support wellbeing and ways to promote these activities in the school community. They have been reflecting on their strengths as a strategy to support wellbeing and created self-portraits using words that describe their strengths to show this.

An overview of our whole programme of inquiry, which includes the key concepts that each level focuses on in each transdisciplinary theme, is in this document.