International Primary Curriculum

Exploring units from a global perspective

The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is a comprehensive, thematic curriculum for learner’s aged 5-11 years olds. IPC is a globally recognised curriculum (educated in more than 90 countries at over 3.000 schools worldwide). It enables students to adapt the curriculum into the national curriculum of different countries (especially great if they move between countries often, as is the case for many expats in Singapore). The IPC is very comparable to the International Baccalaureate (IB PYP) and there's a seamless fit when you change schools. Here you can find out more about the similarities and the differences between the IPC and the IB programme. 

The IPC at Holland International School

The IPC has a clear process to facilitate learning and specific learning goals for every subject, for international mindedness and for personal learning. We trust the IPC will help learners enjoy learning, and become well rounded Global Citizens, with the tools to help them succeed as they progress through life.

Our recently reviewed Personal Goals are:

  1. Adaptable

  2. (a) Communicator

  3. (a) Collaborator

  4. Empathetic

  5. Ethical

  6. Resilient

  7. Respectful

  8. (a) Thinker

The personal and subject goals along with the other foundations form the curriculum. The personal goals provide a shared vision of the learners we are trying to nurture. They can be found throughout the units and become a way of life and part of the language for the learners.

The IPC is made up of 3 parts:

  1. IEYC- Age 2-4 years (pre-school, and group 1 and 2)

  2. Milepost 1 – Age 5-7 years (reception class, group 3 and 4)

  3. Milepost 2  – Age 7-9 years (group 5 and 6)

  4. Milepost 3 – Age 9-12 years (group 7 and 8)

The IPC Main Programme:

IPC covers the following subjects:

  1. Art

  2. Geography

  3. History

  4. ICT

  5. Music

  6. PE

  7. Science

  8. Society

  9. Technology

  10. International

All of the above subjects have a set of Learning Goals (outcomes) for knowledge, skills and understanding. We also have Learning Goals for Language Arts and Mathematics. However, we haven’t included Maths and English as subjects in their own right, as schools tend to have their own plans for these subjects, and tend to make links with their IPC theme where appropriate. CLPE has created a mapping document to a text per unit. And we have also written some text type guides for different genres.

Every IPC unit follows a set process - The process to facilitate learning:

  • Entry Point – WOW factor, the hook to get the children engaged, motivated and inspired

  • Knowledge Harvest – Finding out what the children already know, want to know (taking ownership of their learning) and what they think they know (highlighting any misconceptions). The Knowledge Harvest also helps with teachers forward planning

  • Explaining the Theme – This helps explain what the children will be learning about in each of the subjects that the unit covers. Although children are; learning in a thematic way, we do not want them to lose track of becoming mini scientists, artists, historians etc. This also allows them to see how the subjects connect

  • Research, Record, Reflect – This is where the block subject learning starts, we have created several research, record and reflect activities for each subject, each activity has been written with specific learning goals in mind, they are clearly identified per task. The tasks can be personalised and adapted; it is the learning goals that they cover that are the main outcome. Time should also be given for reflection and the opportunity to discuss and record answers relating to the reflective question

  • Exit Point – A celebration of everything that has been learn throughout the theme

There are ideas in every unit for all the above stages. IPC is a tool for teachers to then adapt and personalise and make it work for their children, their school, their community.

Units can last anything between 3-11 weeks long, so the number of units a class would complete really does depend on which units they select. To help with coverage and breadth of subjects we have created a route planner. This allows teachers to see immediately what coverage per subject they get for knowledge, skills and understanding, by simply dragging and dropping their units into the necessary term.

The Assessment for improving learning toolkit is an integral part of the curriculum. Our core documents provide advice around assessing knowledge, skills and understanding. The toolkit itself provides rubrics for the identified key skills in a four-tier approach of ‘Beginning’, ‘Developing’, ‘Mastering' & 'Innovating'. There are rubrics in teacher speak and child speak for every key skill we have identified, along with next steps advice to help teachers set the necessary goals for children to progress.

Our IPC coordinator Jolinda Groothedde explains more about the way we work with the IPC in this interview with IPC Nederland. Read the full interview here