Everything you need to know about IB School for Primary Students

GIIS communications team
May 24, 2021
Admission Tips

There are many curricula used in international schools today. Because of the location and influence of other cultures that these schools are under, these curricula are typically traditional in their approach, with some notable elements that set them apart from local institutions. One of these elements is using widely-renowned and largely praised curricula like the International Baccalaureate Program and its elementary education counterpart, the Primary Years Programme. 

If you’re an expatriate parent or family member looking into schooling for your child in a new location, your options can become overwhelming fast. With such a wide variation of curricula available in these schools, how do you choose the right one? Sure, the IB programme is popular, but is it what you need? 

Here, we’ll help you better understand what the IB has to offer for your student - and how it might fit with your family’s educational goals and your child’s learning style. 

What is the International Baccalaureate Programme?

International Baccalaureate is a non-profit, international organisation created to provide consistent, high-quality education to students worldwide. The intention is to focus on education to bridge cultural gaps as the world continues to globalise and students move into an adult life that will see them participating in this globalised society more than previous generations. The education delivered by schools under the IB programme is designed, even from the earliest stages of formal education, to offer the kind of learning that will help these students build the foundations of understanding that they will need to succeed in this changing world. 

The IB program is a continuous curriculum designed for ages three to nineteen and is broken into several stages. If you have a child entering primary school, you will be dealing with the IB stage known as the IB Primary Years Programme. The stage is designed for ages three to twelve and will be discussed later in this article. 

The IB programme currently enjoys residence in over 5,000 schools worldwide and is being used in over 100 countries globally. While it is based on English school standards, it enjoys great popularity in Indian, Asian, and other schools. It helps students whose families have moved to these areas under expatriate programmes to enjoy a consistent, beneficial education. 

The IB programme aims to bring together numerous disciplines and various studies to create a well-rounded curriculum that will benefit students both academically and holistically. It reflects the very best in educational research, evidence-based instruction, and practices pulled from numerous institutions worldwide. Sending your child to an IB primary school is one of the best things you can do for your expatriate child and family - and their future in an increasingly-global world!

The Guiding Principles of the IB Programme

Like any educational organisation, the IB has certain founding principles that comprise its vision for an ideal education. There are three “pillars”, which the founders of this approach to learning believe underscore the basics of life in the school environment. These include :

● The learner or student themselves 

● The instruction of students

● The community which the learner is a part of  

The IB programme’s overall focus is on international education and providing a stable, consistent educational environment for students worldwide, regardless of where their families may settle. More specifically, this includes: 

● Underscoring the importance of academic engagement and achievement

● Supporting children’s wellbeing, both physically and emotionally

● Encouraging the development of independence and fostering responsibility 

● Development of the sense of self and the student’s place in the world

● Creating an understanding of today’s society and how the student can participate in it

● Establishing values that will follow the student throughout their life

These principles guide the decisions made by instructors and administrators in IB schools and help these staff members effectively educate and mentor children. 

What Do Students Study Under the IB Programme?

We’ve already mentioned that the IB programme is an interdisciplinary focus, but what subjects can your child expect to engage with most during their education under this approach? While specific institutions are free to add numerous electives and enrichment opportunities, the IB programme’s core studies are broken into six subjects. These include: 

● Language

● Math(s)

● Science

● Social studies

● Arts

● Physical, personal, and social education

You may notice that these are vast subjects. The sciences and maths can be broken down into their many types: the arts, social studies, and language. This gives the individual school plenty of room to customise their approach to instruction and ensure students receive an adequate and appropriate education at every age.

Again, your child’s potential new school may offer a lot more options for their education than just these six subjects. These subjects may be integrated into other courses in ways that make more sense for your student’s location, grade level, and more. What’s important to remember is that these are building blocks - fundamental elements that your child needs to achieve their most basic academic goals - and designed to be built upon throughout the educational experience. 

How Are Children Evaluated Under the IB? 

As with any educational approach, there are specific standards by which children are assessed and the efficacy of instruction evaluated under the IB primary programme. However, the approach focuses far less on formal testing and evaluation and more on real-world assessment. Some of the ways that these schools evaluate their students include: 

● Observations conducted in the classroom setting

● Conducting open-ended evaluations or participating in goal-oriented tasks

● Everyday classroom quizzes, tests, and examinations

While there are no hard and fast rules for what type of evaluation is used in these schools, many opt to participate in independent, standardised testing such as the ACT or SAT for older students. Younger children are typically evaluated more informally. 

The Partnership of the Primary Years Programme and the IB Programme 

Children ranging in ages between three and twelve will be in the Primary Years Programme or PYP. While the later stages of the IB programme seek to prepare students for university and career seeking, the PYP has a more fundamental goal. It is to prepare students to engage with the world around them, understand society as it is today and will be in the future, and participate in that society with a global perspective. It’s the ideal platform from which your child can launch nearly any dream!

There are so many reasons to consider enrolling your child in a primary school that operates under the IB programme. From providing engaging learning environments to offering students opportunities to solve real-world, culturally relevant problems that challenge and intrigue them, there is something for every age and stage in this approach. Guided by the goal of interdisciplinary competence and fueled by the desire to help students achieve global, modern perspectives through education and enrichment, these schools provide the perfect foundation for lifelong learning that will follow your child throughout their lives to come. 

For more information, talk to your child’s prospective new school today about their participation in the International Baccalaureate programme!


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GIIS communications team

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