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Primary School Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum (from EL to Grade Six) at NISC is structured around the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). 

  • Northbridge International School Cambodia - PYP
  • Primary Curriculum

Students in the 21st century are faced with the challenge of learning about an interconnected world where knowledge is constantly developing - which is why we at Northbridge are committed to delivering The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) to all our students from Early Learning 3 to Grade 5. The PYP prepares students to be active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.

What is the PYP?

The PYP is an integrated curriculum that is relevant, challenging, significant and engaging for all learners. The PYP is an international, transdisciplinary programme that fosters the development of the whole child. It is a process-led, inquiry-based curriculum framework that actively encourages students to ask questions and seek answers about the world around them.

What is inquiry based learning?

Inquiry based learning involves:

  • Exploring, wondering and questioning
  • Experimenting and playing with possibilities
  • Making connections between previous learning and current learning
  • Making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
  • Collecting data and reporting findings
  • Clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
  • Deepening understanding through application of a concept
  • Making and testing theories
  • Taking and defending a position
  • Solving problems in a variety of ways

How is the PYP structured?

The PYP encourages a collaborative approach to teaching and learning, allowing educators to design learning experiences, lessons and programmes to meet children's individual academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural needs. These learning experiences transcend the classroom and engage students within communities in a local, national and global context. The PYP emphasizes a student-centered approach to learning, thus making it responsive to the needs of all students regardless of ability, nationality or educational background.One of the most significant and distinctive features of the IB Primary Years Programme is the way it is structured around six transdisciplinary themes. These themes are about issues that have meaning for, and are important to, all of us. The programme offers a balance between learning about or through the subject areas, and learning beyond them.

The six themes of global significance create a transdisciplinary framework that allows students to "step up" beyond the confines of learning within subject areas.

They are:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

The curriculum is arranged and taught through large, cross-curricular units of study known as Units of Inquiry (UoI). These grade specific units of inquiry are arranged under the six transdisciplinary themes to develop a programme of inquiry for the year. Each grade has one unit of inquiry for each transdisciplinary theme each year. The units allow for  in-depth investigations into important ideas, identified by the teachers, and require a high level of involvement on the part of the students. These substantial inquiries usually last for six weeks. All of the units of inquiry which the students learn about are collectively known as the Programme of Inquiry.

All curriculum areas are integrated where appropriate, however single subject teaching also occurs separately. The class teacher takes responsibility for teaching most of the subjects, however the children attend specialist lessons for Visual Arts, Music,  Theatre Arts,  Physical Education, and Languages.

Assessment is an important part of each unit of inquiry as it both enhances learning and provides opportunities for students to reflect on what they know, understand and can do. The teacher's feedback to the students provides the guidance, the tools and the incentive for them to become more competent, more skillful and better at understanding how to learn.

Through the PYP, Northbridge offers a world class balanced curriculum programme that not only focuses on students acquiring significant knowledge, but also develops the essential skills, conceptual understanding, and positive attitudes needed to succeed in the world today while at the same time encouraging students to take meaningful action.

Useful links:


The IB Primary Years Programme

The IB Primary Years Programme in an Early Years Setting

Frequently Asked Questions about the PYP


IBO Videos about the PYP:

The IB Primary Years Programme


PYP In an Early Years Setting

PYP learners are problem solvers who take ownership of their own learning

PYP learners grow as a whole person by developing social and emotional skills alongside academic

PYP learners develop thinking and communication skills which allow them to share their ideas and critically analyze information