Primary Curriculum at ISM

We know that children have a fascination for the world around them and we take advantage of this innate curiosity to develop their deep understanding of what really matters. So what matters for young children? Certainly it is not facts taught without purpose. It’s not skills taught in the abstract and without any connection to real life. What is necessary for young children is an education which ensures that they learn facts and skills that really matter today and in the near future. They need knowledge which links to personal, local and global contexts. Through structured and purposeful inquiry, we ensure that learning is relevant, collaborative, engaging and challenging. The central purpose of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) is on the development of the whole child as an inquirer.

Find out more about the PYP by listening to and watching what students and teachers say in this video produced by the IB.

We are all about action. Doing things is what children want and even more so when they are in charge. It’s not that we let children learn what they want to learn. We don’t. In fact, we believe that children ideally learn under the expert guidance of a teacher who sets strict guidelines with what students inquire into. So what will children do as they become accomplished inquirers? Among other activities, our students will be:
• Exploring, wondering, imagining and questioning
• Making and testing theories
• Collecting data and reporting what they find out
• Taking and defending a particular viewpoint
• Experimenting and playing with possibilities
• Asking insightful questions
• Solving problems in a variety of ways
• Performing on stage

In the final year of the PYP, all students participate in a final activity called the ‘Exhibition’. This entails choosing a real-life issue, carrying out action-based research and presenting their project to the wider community in one of the major school events of the year. The Exhibition truly marks a rite-of-passage for students as they celebrate the transition from PYP to MYP.


Students study traditional disciplines of learning such as English and other languages (French and Swahili), Mathematics, Technology (computers). Social Studies, Science, Physical Education, and various Arts forms (such as Music, Visual Arts, Crafts, Drama and Dance). The content that students learn is similar to that which other systems offer. What makes the PYP distinct is that students are expected to learn how to inquire in and between these subject areas so that understanding occurs at a deep and relevant level. ISM documents the curriculum content for all subjects in the Primary Handbook.


We offer a range of creative, community and sporting activities which have included ballet, handicrafts, football, basketball, guitar, school yearbook, tennis, Contemporary Dance, Language, Science Club, recorder, and Community & Service. These activities are optional for Primary children but regular attendance is expected once a student has opted to join. There are also a number of class camping trips and daily excursions which are always related to the curriculum. In addition, there are various sports events, some of which include interacting with the older children in Secondary.