Why Choose the IB Primary Years Programme?

What are the benefits of choosing an IB school in Singapore that offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP)? WhichSchoolAdvisor speaks to PYP co-ordinators at Chatsworth International School, One World International School (Nanyang) and GEMS World Academy (Singapore) to find out…
Why Choose the IB Primary Years Programme?
By Carli Allan
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Before you take the big step of selecting a school, you’ll need to consider which is the best curriculum for your child. But there is a variety of curricula offered at international schools in Singapore, so which do you choose?

One choice is the International Baccalaureate programme, which is widely offered in Singapore and begins with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students aged three to 12 years. Offered from Pre-K to Grade 5, the PYP is a framework rather than a curriculum and it’s less prescriptive than other curricula such as the Early Years Foundation Stage, which underpins the UK’s primary education.

There are 19 international schools in Singapore that are authorised to teach the PYP. These include:

Australian International School, Canadian International School (Lakeside and Tanjong Katong campuses), Chatsworth International School (Orchard and Bukit Timah campuses), EtonHouse (Thomson, Newton Road, Mountbatten 718 and Orchard campuses), GEMS World Academy, GESS, Hillside World Academy, ISS International School, Nexus, Odyssey Global Pre-school (Fourth Avenue and Wilkinson campuses), OWIS (Nanyang), Stamford American International School (SAIS), and the Little Skool-House International (By-The -Vista).

The list above offers families a choice of standalone pre-schools and primary schools or all-through schools. In Singapore, there are seven IB continuum schools offering all three IB programmes: Canadian International School (Lakeside), Chatsworth International School (Bukit Timah), GEMS World Academy, GESS, Hillside World Academy, ISS and SAIS.

Read more: IB vs A Level? Where to Study in Singapore

There are two schools offering a bilingual PYP option: EtonHouse International School’s Thomson campus and Odyssey Global Pre-school (Fourth Avenue) both offer a dual-language PYP programme, with an English and Mandarin teacher working alongside the children in both languages throughout the school day.


The PYP at schools such as Chatsworth has a strong focus on global awareness

While the PYP prepares students for the IB Middle Years Programme, it is not a prerequisite for it, just as the Middle Years Programme is not a prerequisite to sit the IB Diploma. The majority of all-through schools here will offer a hybrid programme that starts with the PYP, is followed by the UK National Curriculum and IGCSES, and then ends with the IB Diploma Programme.

Key facts about the PYP include:

  • Schools must be authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) to offer the PYP
  • All teachers must be trained to teach the PYP
  • From at least the age of seven, all students have the opportunity to learn more than one language
  • In the final year of the PYP, students, carry out an extended, in-depth, collaborative project known as the PYP exhibition

Read more: Our curriculum guide to the Primary Years Programme (PYP).

Do you want to understand how the PYP is taught in Singapore’s international schools?

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com speaks to PYP co-ordinators at three international schools in Singapore: Tim Burch, deputy head of primary and PYP co-ordinator at Chatsworth International School; the PYP leadership team at One World International School (Nanyang); and Mike Gilmour, early & primary years deputy principal at GEMS World Academy (Singapore).

Next: What is the broad teaching style and the objectives of the PYP?

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