Primary Years Programme (PYP)

International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Programme (PYP) 

The International Baccalaureate Organisation Primary Years Programme (PYP), for children aged 3 – 12, nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. Through its inquiry-led, transdisciplinary framework, the PYP challenges students to think for themselves and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues and opportunities in real-life contexts. 

International Baccalaureate – Mission Statement  

“The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. 

To this end the organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. 

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” 

IB Learner Profile 

The aim of all IB Programmes is to develop international-minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.  

As IB PYP Learners, students at Hills College strive to be: 

  • Inquirers 
  • Knowledgeable 
  • Thinkers 
  • Communicators 
  • Principled 
  • Open-Minded 
  • Caring 
  • Risk-Takers 
  • Balanced 
  • Reflective 
Transdisciplinary Learning 

At Hills International College, we ensure that learning is engaging, relevant, challenging, and significant. This is done through a transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that has relevance between, across and beyond subjects and transcends borders that confine them to connect to what is real in the world.  

The Six Transdisciplinary Themes form a Programme of Inquiry for each year level from Prep – 6. It allows our students to connect to globally relevant issues that are relevant to each specific Year Level and Unit of Inquiry. The themes are as follows: 

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 relationship 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 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 other living things 
  • communities and the relationship within and between them 
  • access to equal opportunities 
  • peace and conflict resolution 

Action is at the core of student agency and is integral to the Primary Years Programme. It is student-initiated and can be individual or collective. It is authentic, meaningful and mindful and can happen any time. The demonstration of action can include: 

  • Participation – Being actively involved in the learning community and showing commitment to contributing as individuals and as members of a group.  
  • Advocacy – Taking action individually or collectively to publicly support positive social, environmental or political change.  
  • Social Justice – Taking action for positive change relating to human rights, equality and equity. Being concerned with the advantages and disadvantages within society, and with social well-being and justice for all.   
  • Social Entrepreneurship – Supporting positive social change through responding to the needs of local, national and global communities; applying prior knowledge and skills to identify and address challenges and opportunities in innovative resourceful and sustainable ways. 
  • Lifestyle Choices – Making positive lifestyle changes in response to learning. 
Year 6 Exhibition 

The Year 6 Exhibition is an integral part of the Primary Years Programme and forms the culminating learning experience at all PYP schools. It is an enjoyable opportunity for our Year 6 learners to synthesise and apply the essential elements of the PYP, guiding their student-led transdisciplinary inquiry into a globally significant issue or topic of their choice. Above all, the Exhibition is a wonderfully joyous community celebration of young people’s amazing ability to direct their learning, collaborate and to make a difference to the world around them. It is our students’ greatest show! 

For more information please contact - Hills College Deputy Head of Primary & Head of IB Programs - Stuart Ablitt.

PYP for Parents

2024 Program of Inquiry


STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) is firmly embedded within our Units Of Inquiry. Through STEAM, students develop key skills including critical thinking and independent thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, initiative, analysis and promoting the IB PYP learner profile attributes. STEAM is also facilitated as a co-curricular option, broken into lower and upper Primary stages in our ‘Maker Space Zone’ within the Resource Centre and is another opportunity for our students to develop creative solutions to real-world and global problems. 

Specialist subjects 

At Hills, our students have many opportunities to work with specialist teachers to enhance their learning further. These include: 

  • Physical Education and Health 
  • Music 
  • Language (Chinese) 
  • Art  
  • Digital Technology (Years 5 and 6)

Students also have the opportunity to attend the Resource Centre once a week. Our librarian works closely with the classroom teacher to ensure an extension of in-class learning, whether that be research-based, STEAM or of literacy focus.