Primary Years

IB Primary Years Programme


Cebu International School was founded on 1924 and in 1997 explored International school models. It was easily decided that the International Baccalaureate (IB) provided a curriculum framework for inquiry-based learning that would be the perfect fit for our International school. In 1999, CIS succeeded in becoming authorized as an IB Diploma (DP) school. The impact DP had on the development of the program and on the students the school further explored the Primary Years Programme (PYP). In January 2014, we succeeded in becoming the first and only IB World School teaching the IB Diploma Program (DP) and the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) in the Visayas region.

What is the PYP?

The International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework designed for young learners (ages 3-12) in international schools. Over 250 schools worldwide currently use this program, which is sponsored and funded by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).

“It focuses on the development of the whole child through an inquiry based learning approach that expose children to worldwide perspectives while ensuring their full academic development within solid core curriculum.”

How do we believe children learn?

In the PYP we believe that children learn when they connect new knowledge with existing knowledge. The role of the teacher is to provide opportunities for students to build meaning and refine understanding through structured inquiry. In the process the children learn social, thinking, research, self-management and communication skills necessary for all learning.

What is the transdisciplinary approach and how does it foster better learning?

In the PYP the students learn about globally significant issues through units of inquiry. There are six units in Kindergarten – Grade 5 and four in Preschool. The essential elements around which each unit is developed includes concepts, skills, attitudes, knowledge and action. They are applied in a context defined by the six trans-disciplinary themes:

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

We have used a whole elementary school approach to develop a Program of Inquiry (POI) that provides students with experiences that have logical sequence and build upon each other from year to year The Units are based on science, social studies and personal and social education. To be truly educated, students must make connections across all the disciplines, discover ways to integrate the separate subjects and ultimately relate what they learn in life.

How do the core subjects fit into the PYP curriculum framework?

All students study the classic core subjects such as MathEnglishArtPE and IT. We also introduce Mandarin or Spanish as a world language starting in Grade 1. In the PYP it is necessary to balance the Program of Inquiry and any core subject. Consequently, the homeroom teachers plan the units of inquiry together with all subject teachers. Whenever possible the specials are integrated into the unit of study for content and concept.

How does the PYP foster a student’s personal and social-emotional development?

The PYP promotes the development of a list of behaviors that we call the learner profile. The PYP supports that children become inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, balanced and reflective.

The PYP also lists attitudes for children to develop that contribute to the student profile. These are: appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance.

How will I know how my child is doing?

The IB promotes the use of a range of assessment strategies, which are designed to provide a picture of your child’s progress. These progress reports are reported to you regularly, both verbally and in writing. Once a year we also have student-led conferences, where the children present their accomplishments as well as their goals for the future.

How will I know that the basic skills such as reading, writing and math fact are being taught?

The importance of the traditional subject areas is acknowledged in the PYP: language; mathematics; social studies; science; personal, social and physical education; and the arts are specified as components of the PYP curriculum model. The knowledge, concepts and skills that constitute the essence of each of these subject areas are recognized as important components of the program. However, it is also recognized that educating students in a set of isolated subject areas, while necessary, is not sufficient.

Of equal importance is the need to acquire skills in context, and to explore content that is relevant to students, and transcends the boundaries of the traditional subjects.

“To be truly educated, a student must also make connections across the disciplines, discover ways to integrate the separate subjects, and ultimately relate what they learn to life.” (Boyer, 1995)

How does the PYP promote International Mindedness?

By developing the trans-disciplinary skills, investigating the trans-disciplinary themes and addressing the various needs of the child–physically, socially, intellectually, aesthetically and culturally–the PYP ensures that the learning is significant, relevant, engaging and challenging, so that the child can reflect on the connections between life in school, life at home and life in the world.

By helping the child make the connections and see that learning is connected to life, the PYP establishes a strong foundation for future learning. The trans-disciplinary themes have global significance; they promote an awareness of the human condition and an understanding that there is a commonality of human experience.

How can I as a parent support my child?

  • Help them with their self management (organizational) skills by assuring that their homework is done (check their homework planner)
  • Inquire into what they are learning and communicate your knowledge
  • Support what they are learning in school by helping them at home (example: when they learn to read the clock at school, ask them to tell you what time it is at home)
  • Support classroom learning through family field trips
  • Reflect on their portfolio together

How can I learn more about the IB and PYP?