FAQ - Primary Years Programme

Please click on the links below to find answers to your questions:

How can I support my child’s learning?
Why is ISPP a PYP school?
What is different about the PYP?
What makes the PYP special?
How is the PYP international?
What are the Units of Inquiry?
Will my child be able to transfer to another PYP school?
Is the PYP easier or more difficult than a national curriculum?
Will my child find it easy to fit back into the national curriculum of my home country?
How will my child be assessed?
How does ISPP recognize my child’s achievement?
Does the PYP help them to move into Middle Years Programme (MYP)?
What is “action” or community service in the PYP?
How do Student-Led Conferences help my child?
What is the PYP Exhibition?
Further information about the PYP

How can I support my child’s learning?

ISPP sees learning as a partnership between student, parent and our school. You can help your child by:

  • maintaining regular contact with us
  • sharing books with your child
  • supporting your child’s mother tongue
  • providing an appropriate setting and structured routine for doing homework
  • knowing the unit themes and central ideas into which your child is inquiring
  • making discussion of ideas, opinions and events a regular feature at home
  • discussing and encouraging your child’s ideas arising from inquiry topics
  • working with your child using the internet and/or books to find and make sense of information
  • offering your expertise to the class in a unit of inquiry
  • taking an interest in the inquiry displays made by children around the school
  • attending information opportunities provided by ISPP for parents
  • being familiar with the PYP Learner Profile

Why is ISPP a PYP school?

ISPP believes that the PYP curriculum framework fits the mission, philosophy and goals of our Elementary School. The curriculum is based on sound knowledge and understanding about how children best learn and how the brain works. It allows us to have considerable flexibility in the choice of content and topics that our children will study as appropriate to our school community. It also connects our school to a wider international school network and an internationally respected educational organization, thus requiring our school to work towards continuous school improvement. The sequence of the curriculum framework provided by the IB is organised in a way that reflects our multi-age grouping.
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What is different about the PYP?

The goals of the PYP are essentially no different from the ISPP aims as reflected in our mission statement. However, the PYP allows us to achieve them more effectively. It demands a true partnership between students, teachers and parents in the school community and the global community.

Children are actively engaged in learning about issues and themes of universal significance. These are designed to produce students who reflect a learner profile of attitudes and learning all of which allows them to participate more fully in the world they will enter as adults. The PYP classroom is student-centred. Students are encouraged and developed to be independent learners and critical thinkers. Students learn to take socially responsible action.
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What makes the PYP special?

It is inquiry based – taking a student from where they are in their understanding and using inquiry to further develop their knowledge and understanding. Also the PYP is focused on developing international-mindedness.
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How is the PYP international?

The Learner Profile is the expression of the philosophy of the PYP and contributes to the development of international-mindedness. There are 10 attributes that make up the Learner Profile.
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What are the Units of Inquiry?

Each year, classes work through a cycle of 6 units of inquiry. The units may have a Science, Social Studies, Language, PSPE or Arts focus. In addition, many subject areas of the curriculum can be linked to a unit of inquiry and specialist teachers often work with classroom teachers to create a transdisciplinary approach to learning. This means that different subject areas are used to further the students’ understanding of the unit’s central idea. Every unit has a central idea which is a statement that encapsulates the desired learning.
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Will my child be able to transfer to another PYP school?

All PYP schools use the same pedagogical approach which is inquiry based learning. The programme also develops an understanding of concepts; big ideas that are transferable to new situations. Your child will be able to transfer his/her knowledge to other PYP schools. As the transdisciplinary skills are embedded in all aspects of teaching and learning, your child will develop life-long skills that can be applied in other schools.
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Is the PYP easier or more difficult than a national curriculum?

The IB offers a curriculum framework and it is expected that schools will develop curriculum based on that framework. It has rigor and it is about supporting and guiding students so they develop enduring understandings. At ISPP we have developed our own curriculum K-12 using the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework, and other international curriculum.
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Will my child find it easy to fit back into the national curriculum of my home country?

Yes. Many curriculum frameworks are similar all over the world. It is the pedagogy that is perhaps different. The PYP emphasizes learning through inquiry and discovery. The teacher joins the students in the role as learner. Information is discovered and taught through carefully designed activities and learning experiences, not through simply reading or telling and then restating facts.
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How will my child be assessed?

ISPP has its own written curriculum in all academic subjects with specific learning targets and outcomes that students are expected to achieve. Student progress is tracked at several points thoughout the year in each grade level using a variety of tools: Language Continuums (Reading, Writing, Oral and Visual), a Developmental Reading Assessment, end of Semester maths assessment, ongoing assessment in units of inquiry with checklists, rubrics and regular anecdotal records.  We do not award letter grades in our reports.
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How does ISPP recognize my child’s achievement?

We do not award grades in our reports or when marking student’s work. We believe that feedback in the form of structured comments (oral or written) is more effective. Rubrics are developed to assess a summative task with criteria that guide and enhance student learning and achievements. Our practices do not lead to the presentation of awards for students achieving above others.  We believe that although this kind of award may be an incentive to a few students, many of whom are already aware that their work is appreciated as being exemplary, it does not act as an encouragement to the majority of other learners who may not be able to achieve at that level. The emphasis at Elementary is on recognition rather than on competition. Our intent is to encourage intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation.
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Does the PYP help them to move into Middle Years Programme (MYP)?

The PYP is based on skills, knowledge, PYP, attitudes and action, which are transferable learning experiences and understandings.  The programme leads into the MYP, through the vertical articulation of the approaches to learning (ATL) the transdisciplinary skills of the  PYP and the key concepts and related concepts.
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What is “action” or community service in the PYP?

The PYP has an action component, whereby students use their own initiative to demonstrate their commitment to what they have learned. Action often comes as the result of deep inquiry that becomes personal and is meaningful. At its most authentic, action occurs outside of the classroom - at home, or within the larger school or local community and can occur at any time.
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How do Student-Led Conferences help my child?

Student Led Conferences allow your child to discuss with you their progress and their understanding of new knowledge, concepts or skills. It is a powerful assessment strategy that uses self-reflection as the tool to measure progress. Each student develops a portfolio over the course of the year. The portfolio contains samples of work that show growth and learning in all areas of our curriculum. The portfolio is used to structure the student-led conference.
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What is the PYP Exhibition?

It is a requirement of the PYP that students in their final year of Elementary School engage in an exhibition where all their skills, knowledge, understanding of concepts and ability to take “action” are used in an extended inquiry.
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Further information about the PYP

The ISPP Curriculum summaries 
The International Baccalaureate public website: www.ibo.org 
Elizabeth Ford, Assistant Principal/PYP Coordinator: elizabethford@ispp.edu.kh 

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