The Primary Years Program

IST is officially authorized by IBO to offer the Primary Years Program. The program focuses on developing inquiry-based learning and international-mindedness.

The Primary Years Program (PYP) is a transdisciplinary framework with an inquiry driven approach to teaching and learning, with an emphasis on cultural awareness and global citizenship.

The PYP is built around six Units of Inquiry for students aged 3 to 12, each lasting 5-6 weeks. These Units are transdisciplinary, this enables a variety of subject areas to harmonise and guide student learning in a concept-based approach. This means that where there are authentic links subjects are planned and taught by cross- curricula means. There is a collaborative approach to planning, where subject leaders work together making links across curriculum areas, ensuring each unit is creative, challenging and inspiring to students.

The PYP Transdisciplinary Themes

Who we are

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Where we are in Place and Time

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

How we express ourselves

An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

How the world works

An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

How we organize ourselves

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Sharing the planet

An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

IB Learner Profile Attributes:

At IST, we promote a learning environment that is based on fundamental values. 

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

Subject Areas in PYP

Inquiry Based LearningSpecialist Subject AreaForeign Language OptionsHost Country Language
English Language
Social Studies


The Arts:


Physical Education
Spanish (Grades1-3)


Inquiry Based Learning

The students at IST will study a variety of subject areas. Inquiry based learning is reflected in a large range of subjects within the school. The teachers collaborate and build opportunities for students to investigate the wider world through in depth inquiry. English language is at the centre of these studies and at IST we encourage  and support students in achieving their full potential.

ESL (English as a second language) is an area of development that we actively support at IST. Teachers give differentiated support in class, in addition IST also provides additional focus group sessions from Grade 1-5 to accelerate learning for ESL students in English language. These small group session take place twice a week at the PYP level. Preschool classes focus daily on English language skills through a phonics programme.

Maths is a core area of studies at IST and students are challenged in creative ways. Classwork is differentiated based on the academic levels of students to ensure consistent growth and success.

PE (Physical Education) is a subject that IST greatly values in ensuring the physical and emotional well being of our students. The students at IST are engaged in a variety of sporting activities and a focus on developing  health and fitness. We have a large gym where PE lessons are delivered over three periods per week.

Languages at IST

Estonian is offered to all PYP students as the language of the host country. At PYP level students receive lessons twice a week.

Foreign languages:

At IST we are proud of the variety of language options we have to offer our families. Grades 1-5 have choices of Russian, French and German. Grades 1-3 also have the addition of Spanish and in 2021-2022 school year all Grade levels will have this option.

Assessment at PYP

The main objective of assessment in the PYP is to provide feedback to students and families about the learning process of the child. Teachers use a variety of tools and strategies to assess the students learning and the students themselves are expected to be a key part of the process through reflection, where they consider their own learning.  Formative and Summative Assessments are graded using letters, the descriptors can be seen in the diagram below.


PYP Assessment model:


Portfolios are a celebration of a creative and active mind and students at IST all have a virtual Portfolio in our managebac system. These are used to demostrate students progress through their time at school. They act as a resources for collecting, recording and storing evidence of each child’s individual achievements.


The Exhibition in PYP

The PYP Exhibition is a culminative project which takes place towards the end of Grade 5. It is an opportunity to showcase student’s learning to the IST community. Students will have an opportunity to work collaboratively and apply all their knowledge from their time in the PYP through a final project.  During The PYP Exhibition students will have an opportunity to explore global issues that may have an impact on the local community. They will be researching and searching for solutions and are encouraged to take action which gives a positive impact on the global /local community. The PYP Exhibition is presented to the IST community in April each year.

You can learn more about the Primary Years Program here:

Further information on the International Baccalaureate and its other programs can be found here: