22 February, 2022

What is the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) – a unique Primary School Curriculum

What is the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) | LCIS Aubonne - International Primary Curriculum explained

At La Côte International School Aubonne, we teach English and Maths following the objectives of the ENC (English National Curriculum) in Year 1 to Year 6. For the subjects Geography, Science, Technology, Society, History, Art, Computing and International Learning, we follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). It is a comprehensive, thematic, and creative curriculum with specific learning goals for every subject. 

"My favorite aspect of IPC is the way it develops students' personal traits and equips them with transferrable skills they can apply in any situation, both in an educational setting and in the community." says Mark O´Brien, Assistant Head of Primary and IPC Lead. "One of the key aspects that makes the IPC unique among other programs is its emphasis on developing students as global citizens and internationally-minded individuals. International learning goals are unique to the curriculum and enable students to gain a deeper understanding of national, international, and intercultural perspectives." 


What is the IPC curriculum? A curriculum favoured by over 1000 schools

The IPC is now taught to over 1,000 schools across 90 countries around the world and has been designed to ensure rigorous learning, whilst providing both students and teachers learning opportunities that are exciting, meaningful and active.

The curriculum is split into 3 Mileposts:

  • Milepost 1 for students age 5-7 (Y1 & Y2).
  • Milepost 2 for students age 7-9 (Y3 & Y4).
  • Milepost 3 for students age 9-11 (Y5 & 6). 

Units of work cover a range of themes  relevant to each age group. In the younger years, units are based on topics that enable students to draw on their own experiences such as ‘The Toy Maker’ and ‘A Day in the Life’. Older students study more complex topics which focus on developing their investigative and research skills, such as ‘Mission to Mars’, ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Champions for Change’. Each IPC curriculum theme includes an international aspect, to help students to develop a sense of ‘international mindedness’.


IPC Learning Goals - Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding

Within the IPC, learning is developed in three forms: knowledge, skills and understanding. Each unit of work has a clear set of learning goals with particular emphasis on developing students’ skills. Assessment for Learning plays a crucial role in supporting and challenging students. There are clear rubrics for teachers to identify students’ strengths and areas for development, as well as the opportunity for children to be part of the assessment process with self-assessment rubrics written in child-friendly text.


IPC Personal Learning Goals - Skills for the 21st century 

As well as academic rigour, the curriculum is underpinned by eight Personal Goals; these are individual qualities and dispositions, which are essential for children to develop in the 21st century. As they work towards these Personal Learning Goals, they gain key skills that help them develop emotionally and socially. In addition to knowledge, skills, and understanding, Personal Learning Goals are designed to develop character and attitudes. IPC's unique goals empower children to confidently state: I am Adaptable, I am a Communicator, I am a Collaborator, I am Empathetic, I am Ethical, I am Resilient, I am Respectful, I am a Thinker. 

Importantly, the IPC also helps engage parents in their children’s learning and highlights the relevance of learning in the classroom and at home. At LCIS, parents are invited to ‘Exit Point’ sessions which are towards the end of a unit’s learning process and provide an opportunity for parents to engage in and celebrate the learning that the students have achieved.

Mark O’Brien, Assistant Head of Primary, says, “At LCIS, we integrate the IPC curriculum through a variety of subjects. One of our goals, with Early Years and Primary students, is to develop an appreciation for the French language and an understanding of the Swiss francophone culture. From Year 3 and up, students at our school have a choice of following the IPC in either English or French – allowing them the option of having up to 40% of their curriculum taught in French.”

Mr O’Brien has conducted some exceptional IPC units with Year 4 students, who produced this fantastic video on their learning and findings about the Digestive System from the unit ‘How Humans Work’.