In the PYP, Personal, Social and Physical Education (PSPE) is concerned with the individual’s well-being through the promotion and development of concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills that contribute to this well-being. Well-being is intrinsically linked to all aspects of a student’s experience at school and beyond. It encompasses physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development, and contributes to an understanding of self, to developing and maintaining relationships with others, and to participation in an active, healthy lifestyle.

The Role of PSPE in the Programme of Inquiry

In the PYP, there are opportunities for the development of personal, social and physical well-being through the relevant, realistic context of the Units of Inquiry as well as through teaching and learning experiences in other areas of the curriculum. Teachers help students to make explicit connections between different aspects of their learning. Students are given the opportunities to identify and reflect on “big ideas” within and between the different strands of PSPE, the trans-disciplinary themes, and other subject areas. The role of inquiry in PSPE is important as students engage in building understandings that contribute to their well-being and their success as lifelong learners.

PSPE strands


An understanding of our own beliefs, values, attitudes, experiences and feelings and how they shape us; the impact of cultural influences; the recognition of strengths, limitations and challenges as well as the ability to cope successfully with situations of change and adversity; how the learner’s concept of self and feelings of self-worth affect his or her approach to learning and how he or she interacts with others.

Active living

An understanding of the factors that contribute to developing and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle; the importance of regular physical activity; the body’s response to exercise; the importance of developing basic motor skills; understanding and developing the body’s potential for movement and expression; the importance of nutrition; understanding the causes and possible prevention of ill health; the promotion of safety; rights and the responsibilities students have to themselves and others to promote well-being; making informed choices and evaluating consequences, and taking action for healthy living now and in the future.


An understanding of how an individual interacts with other people, other living things and the wider world; behaviours, rights and responsibilities of individuals in their relationships with others, communities, society and the world around them; the awareness and understanding of similarities and differences; an appreciation of the environment and an understanding of, and commitment to, humankind’s responsibility as custodians of the Earth for future generations.

Source: Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education 2009