Primary School

Rigorous and Relevant Learning

We offer each child a rigorous and innovative learning journey relevant to the challenges of our quickly changing world. Students future-proof their skills by becoming self-directed, resilient, life-long learners.


primary school student working with a laptop, international school

Inquiry-based learning is the core approach taken in the Primary School in order to develop motivated and self-directed learners. This is fundamental to the IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) and it provides the intellectual foundation for the higher order skills students will use and develop throughout their school career. Inquiry-based learning is the pathway to the Diploma Programme, to University and to the working world beyond formal schooling.

Preparing Primary students for the future demands more than simple knowledge. Students will need the flexibility and agility to apply knowledge to unfamiliar and complex situations in the real-world. They will need to develop higher order thinking skills in order to be ahead of the curve.

I like that Grade 3 is challenging. I like Maths because I like having fun with numbers.
Maximilian, Grade 3 student

The Three Rs: Rigour, Relevance and Resilience

Rigour: From the Simple to the Complex

Rigour in the Primary School balances the need for core skills and knowledge - the essentials of subject education - with the development of higher order skills and attributes such as critical thinking, flexibility and agility. Rigour means moving from the simple to the complex, developing durable and enduring understandings in order to prepare students for the future.

Relevance: The Future is Now

The Primary School promotes a rigorous and relevant education through:

Authentic learning . Primary students learn more deeply about authentic issues in the world such as social structures, sustainability, identity, and historical and global perspectives. We build on what students already know and incorporate their interests and curiosities so that they have ownership and develop confidence to direct their own learning.

Conceptual learning . Teaching that is based around concepts – big ideas that apply in many different contexts –provides the building blocks of understanding that can be taught at the right level and revisited through the curriculum. Skills and facts are learned more powerfully when they are connected to concepts.

Social learning . The ability to work with others is an essential aspect of being successful in the real world. Working in a group requires skills in communication and negotiation, and the ability to both advocate for one’s own ideas but also compromise.

Resilience: Responding to the Challenges

A rigorous and relevant education is also bound up with the development of the whole child. The Primary School builds the foundations for learning now and in the future by teaching and developing important qualities and mindsets that support and foster resilience – attributes such as self-reflection self-understanding, perseverance, flexibility, agility, creative thinking and independence. Students in the Primary School are encouraged to take responsibility for aspects of their own learning and to develop as independent, self-reflective learners.

Please see here for answers to frequently asked questions about the IB Primary Years Programme.

My child is ready to become a life-long learner

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Rigour in Primary

Engaging Learners

To prepare our students, we help them develop problem-solving strategies, think critically and creatively, and acquire the knowledge and skills to apply their learning to new and unfamiliar tasks.

...I see that here you are talking about people, not only about curriculum. You are explaining to us how our children will acquire the tools they will need.
ICS Parent commenting about the PYP workshop
I like learning in a group, and I love doing Maths and writing. In Maths I like learning to count and listen to my teacher.
Victoria, Grade 2 student

Empowering Learners

The Primary School at ICS is an extraordinary learning community driven by a vision to develop students' potential to the fullest and equip learners with the thinking skills, tools and mind-sets that are needed to meet the challenges they will encounter in the future.

Primary Curriculum Guide

For information about the curriculum, please see the Primary Curriculum Guide here.