International School of Ulaanbaatar


ISU offers a balanced, holistic education by which intellectual and personal growth is promoted through inquiry-based, experiential study in the languages, humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, technology, and physical education.

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Overview of the PYP

The PYP is designed for students aged 3 to 12. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. It is a framework guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from six subjects areas, as well as transdisciplinary skills, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry.

The PYP is flexible enough to accommodate the demands of most national or local curriculums and provides the best preparation for students to engage in the IB Middle Years Programme.

The IB Primary Years Programme

  • addresses students’ academic, social and emotional well-being
  • encourages students to develop independence and to take responsibility for their own learning
  • supports students’ efforts to gain understanding of the world and to function comfortably within it
  • helps students establish personal values as a foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish.

The Six Subject Areas Within the PYP

There are six subject areas at the foundation of the Primary Years Programme.  The learning performance standards for these form a continuum from Kindergarten to Grade 5 and then with the Middle Years Programme beginning in Grade 6.

The six subject areas are:

  • language
  • mathematics
  • science
  • social studies
  • arts
  • personal, social and physical education

At ISU specialist teachers are responsible for Art, Physical Education and Music as well as Mongolian A and B studies. Where possible specialist subjects are integrated into the unit of inquiry.

Children who do not have English as a first language are assessed when they enter the school. Those needing assistance have separate EAL lessons or in-class support from the EAL teacher.

The Six Transdisciplinary Themes

The PYP acknowledges the importance of the six subject areas listed above. However, the PYP also recognizes that educating students in a set of isolated subject areas, while necessary, is not sufficient.

Of equal importance is the need to acquire skills in context, and to explore content that is relevant to students and transcends the boundaries of the traditional subjects. “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 1995: 82).

The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB Primary Years Programme is the six transdisciplinary themes.

These transdisciplinary themes identify areas of shared human experience and have meaning for individuals from different cultures and ethnicities. They are part of the common ground that unifies the learning in all PYP schools. They provide the opportunity to incorporate both local and global issues in the knowledge component of the PYP written curriculum—what we want students to know about beyond the confines of learning within subject areas. 

There are six transdisciplinary themes.

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Units of Inquiry

Organised around those six transdisciplinary themes ISU has developed a programme of inquiry, which we believe reflects the cultural diversity of the our school community. Each of these themes will be revisited throughout the schooling of the students, emphasizing those human commonalities and making connections between the six units of inquiry studied each year.

The skills students are able to develop within and across subject areas:

  • Communication skills
  • Self management skills
  • Research skills
  • Social skills
  • Thinking skills

Keeping Parents Informed

Parents are informed of student progress through end of unit reports available on ManageBac and two end of semester reports in January and  June, assessing all subject areas. There are also opportunities to talk to  teachers during a parent teacher conference in November and to see student portfolios in a student-led conference in March.  Grades 3-5 use an online portfolio in  ManageBac, so that parents can see and comment on student work. In Grade 5, the Exhibiton evening in May gives the whole community an opportunity to celebrate the students' personal inquiry and learning.

In addition, we encourage parents with queries or concerns to contact the classroom teacher at any time. There are also opportunities for parents to become involved in parts of the programme through workshops, teaching a language, acting as a class parent, or helping out in class or on field trips.

Four Seasons Garden
Khan-Uul District, 15 Khoroo
PO Box 36/10
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia-17032
  • T: +976-70160010
  • T: +976-70160020
  • F: +976-70160012
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