Are you an Australian or international resident?

We would like to tailor our website with information that mostly relates to you.

Australian International

Skip to main content
+61 (8) 9285 1144

ISWA’s Primary School Curriculum is based on the globally recognised International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.

The Primary Years Programme, or PYP, is learner-centred and inquiry-based, with a strong focus on building strong numeracy and literacy skills. The International Baccalaureate PYP at ISWA promotes independent, lifelong learning. 

Teaching and Learning in the IB Programme

Take a closer look at some of the teaching and learning strategies used in the International Baccalaureate Programme.

Inquiry-based learning

The IB Primary Years Programme is an inquiry-based learning approach. 

Inquiry based learning is a process, initiated by the students or the teacher, that moves students from their current level of understanding to a new and deeper level of understanding.,

This can mean:

  • exploring, wondering and questioning
  • experimenting and playing with possibilities
  • making connections between previous learning and current learning
  • making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
  • collecting data and reporting findings
  • clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
  • deepening understanding through the application of a concept
  • making and testing theories
  • researching and seeking information
  • taking and defending a position
  • solving problems in a variety of ways.

Inquiry-based learning occurs when students learn through experience. Our PYP Teachers assist children to develop that initial inquiry to build great understanding, knowledge, and action. Inquiries become investigations into important ideas, which require a rigorous involvement by the students.

Transdisciplinary Learning

In the PYP at ISWA, learning is planned around six transdisciplinary themes, which have global significance for all students in all cultures and offer students the opportunity to explore the commonalities of human experience.

These themes are:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Programmes of Inquiry and Units of Inquiry

At The International School of Western Australia, our experienced IB Coordinator uses the PYP’s six transdisciplinary themes and the Western Australian Curriculum to construct a rigorous and challenging programme of international education called the Programme of Inquiry (POI). The POI is used from Kindergarten to Year 6. Through Units of Inquiry, teachers meaningfully bring the essential elements of the PYP together to create an authentic and personalised learning experience. Each unit of inquiry is based around a transdisciplinary theme and has a central idea.

Our aim is to create a broad and balanced program that is engaging, significant, relevant, and challenging.

Information about the Programme of Inquiry is distributed to students and parents at the beginning of the school year. 

IB Primary Years Programme Essential Elements

In our teaching of the PYP we aim to develop the following Approaches to Learning (skills), concepts, attitudes, and actions in our Primary School students.

Skills – Approaches to Learning

Our PYP students learn and apply the following skills throughout the Units of Inquiry:

  • Thinking skills
  • Research skills
  • Communication skills
  • Social skills
  • Self-management skills


Concepts are the ‘big ideas’ students focus on during our Units of Inquiry. They are powerful ideas that have relevance within the subject areas (but also transcend them), that students must explore and re-explore in order to develop a coherent, in-depth understanding. Concepts help our students make connections across disciplines.

The powerful ideas that we focus on, and which help to make connections across disciplines, include: 

  • Form
  • Function
  • Change
  • Connection
  • Responsibility
  • Causation
  • Perspective
  • Reflection


Attitudes are the disposition of mind that help us to earn effectively, and thus to develop understanding in each Unity of Inquiry.

Through studying the PYP at ISWA, and in striving to emulate the IB Learner Profile, our students aim to develop the following attitudes:

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


Action is a responsible act that is a result of learning. Actions extend a student’s learning, and may even have a wider social impact.

Action also looks different within each age range. In our Primary School, the IB PYP action process offers learners the opportunity and the power:

  • to choose to act
  • to decide on their actions
  • to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in and to the world

Learner Profile

Students are encouraged to follow the ISWA Learner Profile (adopted from the International Baccalaureate) that encourages them to be learners, thinkers, inquirers, caring, communicators, principled, reflective, open minded, knowledgeable and balanced.

Two high school students looking at the camera
Book a tour

Take a walk through our school and meet the teachers and students that make our community so vibrant.

Book a tour

What our teachers say

Working at ISWA is a joy where the parents and students are very respectful and supportive of the school and staff.

Andrew Grigg: ICT Integration

2018 Australian Association for International Education trading as International School of Western Australia CRICOS Provider 02674G