IB Primary Years Programme (PreN-G5)

The Elementary School aims to provide an excellent education for all our students, preparing them to become responsible, effective, creative, enterprising and happy members of society in the 21st Century.

We are committed to fostering a community of learners, and to providing an academic curriculum that enables all children to:

  • Build conceptual understanding
  • Develop international-mindedness
  • Acquire and use 21st century skills including social skills, thinking skills, self-management skills, research skills and communication skills
  • Develop knowledge and skills in the areas of language, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts and physical /health education
  • Develop positive, constructive attitudes towards life and learning
  • Take action based on what they have learned

A typical day is structured around eight 40 minute periods with a 30 minute break for snack and play in the morning and one hour given to lunchtime. Nursery and Pre-K students have an extra afternoon snack as well.

Our academic programme is supported by a wide range of sporting, recreational, artistic and cultural activities. We positively encourage parent involvement and participation, indeed many activities are arranged to encourage parents to visit and involve themselves in the learning experiences.

Primary Years Programme

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a dynamic and effective way of guiding young learners through the learning process using inquiry-based learning opportunities. Students are challenged to both answer and ask relevant questions that allow them to discover more about the world around them and to learn about the inter-connectedness of our world.

Key skills, concepts and knowledge are taught by homeroom and subject teachers through a mixture of subject based teaching, and transdisciplinary units of inquiry. Units of inquiry are planned so that students learn about and through the different subject areas in context, by addressing six globally significant themes at each grade level, namely: Who we are, Where we are in place and time, How we express ourselves, How the world works, How we organize ourselves and Sharing the planet.

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Homeroom Programme

English language teaching focuses on oral communication (listening and speaking), written communication (reading and writing) and visual communication (viewing and presenting). Students receive direct instruction in literacy skills such as spelling, grammar, and reading strategies, and units of inquiry provide meaningful contexts where children can practice and apply their learning.

Specialist Programme

The Visual Arts are taught by specialist teachers, who focus on four key areas - creative processes, elements and principles of art and design, visual art in society, and reflection and appreciation. Learning takes place through a combination of direct instruction and integration into units of inquiry, where visual arts skills and concepts are used to solve real life problems and issues.

Assessment & Reporting

The prime objective of assessment in the PYP is to provide feedback on the learning process. Teachers assess student learning in a range of ways and the students themselves are expected to be reflective and to think about their own learning. Evidence of student learning is collected and feedback is given to students regularly and to parents through interim and end of semester reports, and Parent Teacher Conferences. Parents and students share the learning journey through Student Portfolios at Student Led Conferences towards the end of the year.

In the final year of the PYP, students participate in a culminating inquiry, the PYP Exhibition. It is both a transdisciplinary inquiry conducted in a spirit of personal and shared responsibility, as well as a summative assessment activity that is a celebration and rite of passage, symbolic and actual, from the PYP into the middle years of schooling.


Carmen Murray, Early Years (PreN-K) PYP Coordinator, carmenmurray@ssis-suzhou.net

Yoon-Ah Lee, Grade 1-5 PYP Coordinator, yoonahlee@ssis-suzhou.net

More information:

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