Primary School

three kids studying in a modern classroom

The Primary section of the International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) accepts students from 2 to 11 years of age. We are proud to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) starting in preschool at Early Explorers 3 stage.

The International Baccalaureate (IB)- Primary Years Programme (PYP) focuses on the growth of the whole child. The PYP aims to affect hearts as well as minds by addressing the social, physical, emotional and cultural needs of each student in addition to their academic welfare.

The PYP framework offers significant advantages to prepare students for an unknown future. A few reasons why we love the program here at ISHCMC include:

  • Its transdisciplinary nature: students do not just take “math,” “reading,” or “art.” Rather, learning is meaningfully connected across disciplines as well as to the real world.
  • Students are empowered to take action: the PYP prepares students to be caring, active participants in their communities and abroad.
  • Learning is focused on the needs and desires of the learner versus a set curriculum: our units-of-inquiry are fluid and are purposefully crafted by our skilled teachers, sometimes with the assistance of our students, with the interests and needs of our learners in mind.
  • It teaches self-regulation and self-efficacy strategies: students are encouraged to be respective and introspective about their strengths and areas of growth as learners.
  • Creativity and thinking is at the heart of what we do: students are provoked to think deeper and share their learning in their own ways.
  • Innovation is encouraged: our world is rapidly changing and we want students to recognize issues in the world and also to feel empowered to seek solutions to create a better world.

The Early Explorers Education Program at ISHCMC


At ISHCMC we believe that our youngest learners learn best through play. Setting the ideal learning environment with rich physical experiences to entice students to interact with their place and each other helps them become engaged and empowered learners. We feel that allowing students to touch, smell, hear and interact with the natural environment and other people helps to lay down the cognitive wiring that will eventually lead to our students to hold a pencil, climb a tree, reason through a math problem and problem solve.

As such, the focus of ISHCMC's Early Explorers program is to introduce the children to inquiry-based learning and to instil a love of learning that will serve them throughout their lifetime. Our major focus is the development of skills and attitudes that each child needs to be successful as learners: social, self-management, communication, thinking and research skills, to name a few.

Play is much more than recreation: it is an expression of the child’s learning. Play-based experiences, designed by teachers and students, allow students to extend and test their existing ideas and to develop new ways of understanding their world. Wondering, exploring, investigating, making connections and trying out their theories through play all demonstrate the skills and habits of inquirers. Through this process, children develop confidence and independence with encouragement and guidance from all community members.


The IB Primary Years Program at ISHCMC

The Primary School offers a comprehensive, inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning with the needs of each international student in mind. Our program incorporates guidelines on student learning styles, teaching methodologies and assessment strategies. The curriculum framework is an expression and extension of three inter-related questions: What do we want to learn? How best will we learn? How will we know what we have learned?

The Essential Elements of the PYP: Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Concepts and Action.


  • Encourage students to become more knowledgeable about the world. Our curriculum is in line with international expectations and catered to meet individual needs.
  • Focus upon conceptual understanding through inquiry in challenging, relevant and engaging units.
  • Teach the skills to be lifelong learners in all subject areas. Students will develop communication, research, thinking, social and self-management skills.
  • Develop positive attitudes to learning. We encourage students to show the following attitudes: appreciation, commitment, curiosity, confidence, cooperation, creativity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance.
  • Expect students to show initiative and take action in their daily lives, and we provide opportunities for students to make an impact on the wider community.

At ISHCMC our primary school aims to support and prepare students for far more than just their secondary education. We believe it is our responsibility to build energized, engaged and empowered learners who will eventually contribute, in their own way, to a better world.