Welcome to

Grade 1 - 5

Shona Gastaldi
Head of Early Years & Primary

The Primary Years (Grades 1 to 5, ages 6 to 11) provide a nurturing environment where every child can flourish and thrive. So that all children can achieve their very BEST, we offer a broad and balanced multilingual curriculum that inspires, motivates and challenges.

Our engaging learning environment facilitates a holistic approach that provides children with a wide range of opportunities both in and out of the classroom. These experiences promote children’s personal, academic, creative and physical development.

Thanks to our innovative approaches to learning, using the IB Primary Years programme as a framework, we aim to provide memorable experiences that foster a real love of learning and personal development.

A programme designed to encourage inquiry-based learning

The IBPYP learning pathways for grades 1-5 provides students with a balanced curriculum that focuses student learning through inquiry-based experiences, for students to continually build and apply their knowledge, skills and understanding through a transdisciplinary approach – making connections and new understandings within and across subjects. Students investigate global concepts in real-life contexts, ensuring a curriculum that is significant and relevant to the students and provides them opportunities to ‘take action’ and apply learning – giving it purpose and meaning.

Overview of IBPYP

More about the IBPYP

The Primary Years Programme is the first of four IB programmes of education. It provides the school with a curriculum framework of essential elements — the knowledge, concepts, skills, learning dispositions, and action that young students need to equip them for successful lives, both now and in the future. At SISD, we have used these five elements to construct a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for learners in the 3–11 age range. 

The elements of the IBPYP

The five essential elements of the PYP are:

  • Dispositions are a set of attributes for the Learner Profile to nurture active, compassionate and lifelong learners. The Learner Profile attributes are; Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced and Reflective.
  • Concepts are the powerful ideas that have relevance within the individual subject areas. These overarching ideas transcend individual subjects and link the programme, enabling students to explore and re-explore them to gain an in-depth, coherent understanding.
  • Skills are taught, as we know that in order to be lifelong learners, we must equip students with the necessary skills for learning. The skills emphasised within the programme include; thinking skills, social skills, communication skills, self-management skills and research skills.
  • Knowledge is the significant and relevant content that we believe students should explore and know. This element has six discrete subject areas including; Mathematics, Language (English & Arabic), Social Studies, Science, PSPE (Physical, Social and Personal Education) and the Arts. Each of these subject areas then further outlines the overall expectations at each age range. These six subjects are then encompassed by six ‘trans-disciplinary themes’ that are considered essential to international education. These themes are covered each year, in every grade level (with the exception of Pre-K to KG2 where they can elect to cover four per year) through integrated units of inquiry. These include; Who We Are, How We Express Ourselves, Where We Are in Place and Time, How the World Works, How We Organise Ourselves and Sharing the Planet.
  • Action is the final essential element, and it is the demonstration of deeper learning through responsible behaviour. Action is how students show that they have combined the other four essential elements together in their own lives, and completed something with the skills, knowledge, concepts and attitudes they have learned.

The PYP curriculum framework emphasises the central principle of ‘Agency’ that is found throughout the three pillars of the curriculum: the learner, learning and teaching and the learning community. Everyone connected to the school’s community (including students, parents and teachers) has voice, choice and ownership to impact learning and teaching. The PYP aims to develop students’ academic, social and emotional wellbeing, focusing on international-mindedness and strong personal values. It nurtures independent learning skills, encouraging every student to take responsibility for their learning.

The PYP is committed to structured, purposeful inquiry that engages students actively in their own learning. The programme supports students’ efforts to construct meaning from the world around them by; drawing on their prior knowledge, providing provocation through new experiences, and providing opportunities for reflection and consolidation. This approach respects students’ developing ideas about how the world works. It encourages them to question, consider, and refine their understanding of the social and natural world while developing the attributes of the Learner Profile.

L'IB met l'accent sur les compétences aussi bien que sur les connaissances, et en tant que parent, c'est exactement l'éducation que je souhaite pour mes enfants.


Learning Streams

Overview of Bilingualism in Primary

Two classroom teachers, speaking English and French, or English and German, co-teach the Primary Years Programme. The emphasis is learning through language use rather than learning about a language. However specific language instruction supports the development of the correct language forms.

Children in the programme continue to learn according to the principles of the PYP. The various Units of Inquiry are taught in both languages with the aim of developing learner autonomy, tailoring the curriculum to learners’ interests, giving them space to follow the learning paths they choose, and creating a learning environment of trust where children can make mistakes and enjoy learning.

Research (PYP bilingual education research, 2018) shows that a bilingual instruction is particularly appropriate for an IB School as the abilities developed match “learning by doing”, a core education strategy of the PYP in general. Neuroanatomic science has shown evidence that studying a second language increases brain functioning and flexibility. Improved memory can lead to better academic achievements, strong social skills, enhanced performance in creative thinking and problem-solving skills, making learners better not just at other languages, but across other academic domains.

Our co-teaching approach 

A co-teaching model: two teachers speaking one language each and sharing responsibility for pastoral care and academic material. The French/German and English teachers plan together to develop an integrated curriculum and ensure that content taught in each language is complementary.

Bilingualism in Primary Years

SISD offers a distinctive bilingual programme in the Early Years and Primary School (ages 3 to 11), where English and French/German are given equal value, and where, from their earliest years, children learn simultaneously in these two languages. Additional language support is obviously provided in English as well as in French/German to all students depending on their needs and abilities.

The benefits of being bilingual go beyond the ability to communicate in another language. Bilingualism gives children a broader perspective of the world

English - French/German | BILINGUAL

At SISD, we currently offer two fully immersive bilingual streams: English/French and English/German. We define bilingualism as the regular use of two or more different languages in daily life. Therefore, a bilingual person can communicate, think and reflect in (at least) two different languages, even if one of the languages remains dominant. Bilingualism is designed to offer learners the chance to develop international mindedness, to broaden their skills and capabilities and to acquire the information needed to access other cultures.


In addition to our Bilingual pathways, families can enroll into our IB STEAM stream where the main language of instruction is English. Students experience an enhanced curriculum developed around the STEAM subjects and learn either French or German as an additional language.

Ich liebe die Tatsache, dass SISD sich um Weltbürgerschaft kümmert - sie wollen wirklich, dass die Schüler Veränderer sind und einen Unterschied machen


subject areas & international mindedness

Primary Years students learn within the following subject areas:

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Moral, Social, Cultural Studies
  • Personal, Social Education
  • Physical Education
  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Arabic
  • French/German as Additional Language for our IB STEAM students
  • Islamic Education for our Muslim students

Being an IBPYP school, international mindedness is at the heart of the curriculum, students learn language, through language and about language across all subjects, not only within language lessons. All students will engage in at least 3 languages – English, French/German, and Arabic (language and level studied will depend on pathway chosen).

In the final year of the Primary Years Programme, Grade 5 students experience the culminating project of their IBPYP education, the PYP Exhibition. They invest in showcasing the knowledge, skills and understandings gained through extended self-directed investigation focused on taking action or designing a product that positively impacts the world around them. A collective opportunity to strengthen their Thinking Skills, Research Skills, Social Skills and Communication Skills and showcase their academic abilities as knowledgeable inquirers.

SISD students completing Grade 5 have the opportunity to experience the Middle Years Program Schedule in the final term of school preparing them for the increase in responsibility, building early connections with leadership and teachers to support their transition to the Middle Years Programme.

Learn more about other programmes