The IPS Curriculum

At the International Preparatory School, we believe that 

“ a coherent curriculum should be a feast of learning that no child can resist”Male, B (2012)

“To be truly educated, a student must also make connections across the disciplines discover ways to integrate the separate subjects, and ultimately relate what they learn to life” Boyer, E (1995)

We also believe that curriculum development and implementation are never static and that through ongoing research, professional development, thoughtful and reflective teaching, learning and feedback we ensure that we remain at the cutting edge of best practice.

The curriculum is at the heart of any good school and below you will find descriptions of ours. We hope that these ‘snapshots’ and summaries help you understand a little more about what makes the heart of our school beat so strongly! However, a curriculum remains just a rather static list of items unless it is delivered by teachers who can bring it to life, inject it with colour and spirit and guide their students through it with a clear purpose.  We believe that our delivery of the curriculum allows us to achieve both our Vision and our Mission enabling our students to develop and live in a learning community.

At IPS learning takes place within a constructivist context whereby new knowledge is constructed upon previous knowledge. Learning happens through an inquiry-based, contextualised and integrated approach, within which students use inquiry methods to ask questions, investigate themes, draw conclusions, and, as exploration continues, to revisit these findings. A cycle of exploration of questions leads to more questions.
The curriculum evolves as students, working collaboratively, control their learning through reflecting on their experiences. This process makes them experts in their learning.


At IPS we understand, language as a shared human experience. It is the ability to identify, understand, create, communicate, compute and use printed written materials associated with a various context.
Language is a dynamic and lifelong process that penetrates all learning thus facilitating understanding, the acquisition of knowledge and cognitive development. Language allows each of us to understand ourselves better and make meaningful connections with each other; to express thoughts, ideas and emotions. Further, it is a key factor in the promotion of interconnectedness to other people, communities and cultures, and thus a vehicle for intercultural and international mindedness.
IPS supports both the English and French languages as an integral part of the curriculum. These languages are further developed for first and second language speakers. English is our language of instruction whereas French and EAL are taught by specialists teachers.
The IPS Language Scope and Sequence are divided into the Four Strands of Language, which are the basis for the teaching of all languages (English and French) at IPS.

The Four Language Stands are

  • Oral Language - Listening and Speaking
  • Visual Language - Viewing and Presenting
  • Written Language - Reading
  • Written Language - Writing

Each Strand comprises the IPS philosophy of learning followed by  Overall Expectations that are subsequently broken down into Five Phases of Learning.

In each Strand, the  Phases of Learning  include the following

  • Conceptual Understandings - What are the big ideas about learning in this Phase.
  • Learning Outcomes  - What will be taught to ensure that students succeed in the particular phase that they are learning.
  • Benchmarks - What are students expected to know and have mastered by the end of the Year Level and Phase.

To view the complete IPS Language Scope and Sequence in detail, please click to download.


At IPS we acknowledge that students are curious, active learners with individual interests, abilities and needs. They come to the classroom with varying knowledge, life experience and backgrounds.
We understand that a key component in successfully developing numeracy is making connections to these backgrounds and experiences. Learning mathematics within a context and making connections relevant to learners validates past experiences and increases student willingness to participate and be actively engaged.
When working with a variety of materials, tools and context, students construct meaning about new mathematical ideas. Meaningful student discussions provide essential links among concrete, pictorial and symbolic representations of mathematical concepts.
We value a learning environment that respects the diversity of students’ experiences and ways of thinking. We are keen for students to take intellectual risks, asking questions and posing conjectures.
We promote the exploration of problem-solving situations to develop personal strategies and mathematical literacy.Mathematics is one way of trying to understand, interpret and describe our world. Where appropriate elements the Mathematics curriculum are integrated into the Units of Inquiry and other are developed as stand alone components which further support the inquiry.
We use the Oxford Numicon Mathematics Framework to support mathematical development in the school.

The Mathematics Scope and Sequence are divided into the Five Strands Mathematical Strands through which math is taught at IPS.

The Five Mathematical Stands are

  • Data Handling
  • Measurement
  • Shape and Space
  • Pattern and Function
  • Number

Each Strand comprises the IPS philosophy of learning in each particular Strand followed by  Overall Expectations that are subsequently broken down into Four Phases of Learning. In each Strand the Phases of Learning  comprise the following:

  • Conceptual Understandings - What are the big ideas about learning in this Phase.
  • Learning Outcomes  - What will be taught to ensure that students succeed in the particular phase that they are learning.
  • Benchmarks - What are students expected to know and have mastered by the end of the Year Level and Phase.

To view the complete IPS Mathematics Scope and Sequence in detail, please click to download.


Concepts are explored within the units of inquiry. The IPS Science Scope and Sequence are divided into the Four Science Strands through which science is taught at IPS. The Four Science Stands are -

  • Living things
    • The study of the characteristics, systems and behaviours of humans and other animals, and of plants; the interactions and relationships between and among them, and with their environment
  • Earth and Space
    • The study of planet Earth and its position in the universe, particularly its relationship with the sun; the natural phenomena and systems that shape the planet and the distinctive features that identify it; the infinite and finite resources of the planet.
  • Materials and matter
    • The study of the properties, behaviours and uses of materials, both natural and human-made; the origins of human-made materials and how they are manipulated to suit a purpose.
  • Forces and energy
    • The study of energy, its origins, storage and transfer, and the work it can do; the study of forces; the application of scientific understanding through inventions and machines.

Students develop their observational skills, gather and record information in a number of ways and reflect on their findings to identify patterns or connections. They make predictions and test and refine their ideas with increasing accuracy. Students use their learning to plan positive and realistic action to improve their welfare and that of other living things and the environment.

At IPS we apply our knowledge of science  through:-
* Observing carefully to gather data.
* Using a variety of instruments and tools to measure data accurately.
* Using scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences.
* Identifying or generating a question or problem to be explored.
* Planning and carrying out systematic investigations, manipulating variables as necessary.
* Making and testing predictions.
* Interpreting and evaluating data gathered to draw conclusions.
* Considering scientific models and applications of these models (including their limitations).

We build upon what students already know through brainstorming ideas and providing guides to enable the student to come to appropriate conclusions. Students are encouraged to become curious through exposure (in various forms) and are guided into thinking about the positive and negative aspects of developments in the scientific field. Hands-on experiments, observations and inquiry, provide opportunities to clarify conceptions and rectify misconceptions.

To view the complete International Preparatory School Science Benchmarks in detail, please click to download.

Social Studies

Social Studies provide opportunities for students to look at and think about human behaviour realistically, objectively and with sensitivity. It aims to guide students towards a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and of their place in an increasingly global society.

The main strands of the Social Studies curriculum that are explored through the units of inquiry:

  • Human Systems and Economic Activities - The study of how and why people construct organisations and systems; the ways in which people connect locally and globally; the distribution of power and authority.
  • Organization and Culture - The study of people, communities, cultures and societies; the ways in which individuals, groups and societies interact with each other
  • Continuity and Change Through Time - The study of the relationships between people and events through time; the past, its influences on the present and its implications for the future; people who have shaped the future through their actions.
  • Human and Natural Environments - The study of the distinctive features that give a place its identity; how people adapt to and alter their environment; how people experience and represent place; the impact of natural disasters on people and the built environment.
  • Resources and the environment - The interaction between people and the environment; the study of how humans allocate and manage resources; the positive and negative effects of this management; the impact of scientific and technological developments on the environment

To view the complete International Preparatory School Social Studies  Scope and Sequence in detail, please click to download.

The Arts

At IPS we see the Arts as a means of communication, a language that offers equal opportunities for all and /that cuts across racial, cultural, social, educational and economic barriers.
The Arts enhance cultural appreciation and awareness through skill-based opportunities. They provide various means of expression and develop both emotional and intellectual perspectives. The Arts are a vehicle for wondering and for reflection. Consolidation develops both independence and collaboration. In the Arts, personal strengths are used in meaningful ways. The Arts help children to improve academic achievement through the development of higher order thinking skills.
Within the Arts, learning takes place in a fun, yet demanding atmosphere. The Arts, in their essence, are integrated into the units of inquiry. 

To view the complete International Preparatory School Arts  Scope and Sequence in detail, please click to download.

Physical Education

Physical education at IPS is concerned with the individual’s well-being through the promotion and development of concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills that contribute to this well-being. Well-being is intrinsically linked to all aspects of a student’s experience at school and beyond. It encompasses physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development, and contributes to an understanding of self, to developing and maintaining relationships with others, and to participate in an active, healthy lifestyle.

Physical education at IPS is about more than just student participation in sports and games. Its purpose is to develop a combination of transferable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development; to encourage present and future choices that contribute to long-term healthy living; and to understand the cultural significance of physical activities for individuals and communities. Therefore, there should be specific opportunities for learning about movement and through movement in a range of contexts.

PE in a transdisciplinary programme

At IPS, single-subject teachers take responsibility for the physical component of our student’s physical education. Our teachers see themselves primarily as PYP teachers who teach physical education, and in so doing contribute to the overall outcomes of a transdisciplinary programme.

Regardless of whether aspects of PE are being taught within or outside the programme of inquiry, purposeful inquiry is considered the principal way in which students learn best. The starting point for all learning should always be the student’s prior experience and current understanding.

When teachers plan learning experiences that enable students to develop personally, socially and physically, students are able to make connections, apply learning, and transfer conceptual understanding to new situations.

The structure of the PE scope and sequence

This scope and sequence aims to provide information for the whole school community about the learning that is going on in PE. It has been designed in recognition of the fact that learning is a developmental process and that the phases a learner passes through are not always linear or age-related. For this reason, the content is presented in continuums for each of the five strands of PE—individual pursuits, movement composition, games, adventure challenge, and health-related fitness. For each of the strands, there is a strand description and a set of overall expectations. The overall expectations provide a summary of the conceptual understandings and subsequent learning being developed in each phase within a strand.

The content of this continuum has been organized into four phases of development, with each phase building upon and complementing the previous phase. The continuum makes explicit the conceptual understandings that are being developed at each phase. Evidence of these understandings is described in the behaviours or learning outcomes associated with each phase, and these learning outcomes relate specifically to the concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills associated with PE.

Active Living definition

An understanding of the factors that contribute to developing and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle; the importance of regular physical activity; the body’s response to exercise; the importance of developing basic motor skills; understanding and developing the body’s potential for movement and expression; the importance of nutrition; understanding the causes and possible prevention of ill health; the promotion of safety; rights and the responsibilities we have to ourselves and others to promote well-being; making informed choices and evaluating consequences, and taking action for healthy living now and in the future.

Active Living Strands addressed through our curriculum

Regular exposure to all kinds of physical learning experiences will enable students to make informed choices throughout their lives. A balanced curriculum would include the following types of experiences:

  • Individual pursuits - The development of basic motor skills and the body’s capacity for movement through locomotor and manipulative skills and/or experiences; the techniques, rules and purpose of a range of athletic activities (for example, track and field, swimming, skating, skiing); recognizing a high level of achievement and how to improve a performance.
  • Movement composition - Recognizing that movements can be linked together and refined to create a sequence of aesthetic movements. Movements can be in response to stimuli or performance elements and/or criteria and can communicate feelings, emotions and ideas (for example, gymnastics, dance*, martial arts).
  • Games - Recognizing the challenges presented by games; the importance of manipulating space; the categorizing of games; identifying and developing appropriate skills and strategies; recognizing the importance of rules and how they define the nature of a game; modifying existing games and creating new games; teamwork.
  • Adventure challenges - A variety of tasks requiring the use of physical and critical-thinking skills by individuals and/or groups; challenges that require groups to work together collaboratively in order to solve problems and accomplish a common goal; recognizing the role of the individual in group problem-solving.
  • Health-related fitness - Recognizing and appreciating the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle; the body’s response to exercise including the interaction of body systems and the development of physical fitness.

To view the complete International Preparatory School Physical Education Scope and Sequence in detail, please click to download.

Personal and Social Education (PSE)

PSE at IPS is concerned with the individual’s well-being through the promotion and development of concepts, knowledge, attitudes and skills that contribute to this well-being. Well-being is intrinsically linked to all aspects of a student’s experience at school and beyond. It encompasses physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health and development, and contributes to an understanding of self, to developing and maintaining relationships with others, whether in face-to-face or digital interactions and to participation in a healthy lifestyle.

PSE is integral to teaching and learning in the PYP and is embodied in the IB learner profile that permeates the programme and represents the qualities of internationally minded students and effective lifelong learners. As lifelong learners, we strive to make sense of our lives and the world around us by constructing meaning, exploring concepts and revising understandings. Lifelong learners adopt a positive attitude to learning, develop and apply strategies for critical and creative thinking, engage in inquiry, make connections, and apply new learning and skills in different contexts. In order to become successful learners, it is necessary for students to feel empowered by their learning, to value and take responsibility for their learning, to demonstrate resilience and to develop independence. Such learners are able to reflect on themselves, their experiences, and the process of learning in order to support personal growth and their ongoing commitment to personal, social and physical well-being.

The development of a student’s well-being can be implicitly and explicitly addressed through all areas of the PYP curriculum. Therefore, every teacher has a responsibility to support each student’s personal and social development through all learning engagements both within and outside the programme of inquiry.

At IPS, the development of overall well-being is defined through two common strands that have relevance to all teachers:

Identity and interactions. These strands are concept driven and have been designed to interact with each other, working together to support the overall development of students.

Identity - An understanding of our own beliefs, values, attitudes, experiences and feelings and how they shape us; the impact of cultural influences; the recognition of strengths, limitations and challenges as well as the ability to cope successfully with situations of change and adversity; how the learner’s concept of self and feelings of self-worth affect his or her approach to learning and how he or she interacts with others.

Interactions - An understanding of how an individual interacts with other people, other living things and the wider world; behaviours, rights and responsibilities of individuals in their relationships with others, communities, society and the world around them; the awareness and understanding of similarities and differences; an appreciation of the environment and an understanding of, and commitment to, humankind’s responsibility as custodians of the Earth for future generations.

To view the complete International Preparatory School PSE Scope and Sequence in detail, please click to download.

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