• Our

    Primary Years

    Grade 1 to Grade 5

    (Age 6-11)

    Primary Years

Developing the whole child as an inquirer 

In the Primary Years, we continue to build upon the foundations set in the Early Years. In this exciting stage of development, your child is forming an understanding of themselves as learners, establishing routines and thinking habits. They are also developing the skills, knowledge and understanding that will benefit them throughout their education and beyond. 

Our Primary Years Programme focuses on the total growth of the child, touching hearts as well as minds and encompassing social, physical and emotional needs in addition to academic well-being. We support your child by providing integrated learning opportunities grounded in inquiry-based, international perspectives that are relevant to the real world. This means that learning at GEMS (Singapore) is fun and made relevant for the developmental stage of your child. You’ll find that your child will be happy and excited to come to school.

Inquiry-based learning 

Our Primary Years Programme brings together the best practices from educational systems from around the world under the framework of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). We focus on the ideals of international understanding and responsible global citizenship. The PYP helps students establish personal values as a foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish. 

An inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning builds on your child’s individual knowledge and interests. It emphasises learning ‘how to learn’ and ‘how to find out’. Inquiry can mean exploring, wondering, experimenting, collecting data and reporting findings, taking and defending a position, and solving problems in a variety of ways. The PYP programme of inquiry is designed around six transdisciplinary themes that provide the framework for a highly relevant, focused and in-depth curriculum. These transdisciplinary themes are internationally applicable and promote student action. At each grade level, your child will delve into and learn about globally significant issues within the units of inquiry. Each unit of inquiry has a central idea that supports your child’s understanding of transdisciplinary themes. The central idea encourages conceptual understanding and critical thinking. Units of inquiry are driven by key concepts and related concepts that help your child construct meaning and build on prior knowledge through critical thinking and analysis across and beyond the subject areas.

Integrated learning

A balance is achieved between the programme of inquiry and the subject focus areas. Subject areas are not taught in isolation but are blended together to create learning experiences that mirror the real world. Mathematics, Languages, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Music and Visual Art are taught through integrated units of inquiry. When studying local and global issues, we reinforce the connections between respective subjects, creating a more effective and meaningful learning experience. We want your child to be able to solve real-world problems by applying a more comprehensive and creative way of thinking. To achieve this, our students learn to explore subjects in a more integrated fashion, developing a robust understanding of each subject and the relationship between each subject. Our STEM programme adopts this approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. As a result, students at GEMS (Singapore) gain a deeper, more complete understanding. And, better still, it gives them the inventive flair needed to become tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs. 


Transdisciplinary learning

The programme incorporates six transdisciplinary themes:

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

Since these ideas relate to the world beyond the school, students see their relevance and connect with it in an engaging and challenging way. Through this pedagogical practice, our students become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them.


Key facts about the IB Primary Years Programme 

The IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) for children aged 3 - 12 nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning.

Through its inquiry-led, transdisciplinary framework, the IB PYP challenges students to think for themselves and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues and opportunities in real-life contexts.

The IB PYP prepares children to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It helps students develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to excel not only in their studies but also in their personal growth.

The 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 an 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.

Through embedding the IB PYP curriculum and our whole school focus on the IB PYP attitudes we aspire all learners to be:

  • Thinkers and inquirers
  • Independent
  • Effective communicators
  • Risk takers
  • Principled
  • Problem solvers
  • Caring and sensitive to others
  • Open-minded
  • Well balanced human beings
  • Reflective 


Transdisciplinary themes


The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB PYP are the six transdisciplinary themes. These themes provide us with the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues into the curriculum and effectively allow students to “step up” beyond the confines of learning within subject areas.

Who we are: Inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; person, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Where we are in place and time: Inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

How we express ourselves: Inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

How the world works: Inquiry into the natural world and its laws, the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

How we organize ourselves: Inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Sharing the planet: Inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and other living things; communities and the relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

PYP Exhibition

GEMS (Singapore) Primary Years students carry out an extended, in-depth, collaborative project-inquiry known as the PYP Exhibition in their final year of the programme. Students collectively synthesise all of the essential elements of the PYP in ways that can be shared with the whole school community


The GEMS (Singapore) PYP Exhibition provides the school and students with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the transition of learners to the next phase of their education.


Grade LevelSubjectsMethod of delivery Max student:teacher ratioCourse duration

Grade 1-5

  • Language: English
  • Language Acquisition: Mandarin, Spanish, French or EAL
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Social Studies
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Face-to-face
  • 8:45 am - 3:30 pm (full-time)


Months: 9.3 months

To ensure your child continues to reach their full potential as they progress through the Primary Years, we regularly assess their work and provide constructive feedback. Click here to learn about assessment in the Primary Years.

A typical day at GEMS (Singapore) is filled with engaging, hands-on, experiential learning, developing students’ academic outcomes, nurturing core human values and building real-life skills.

Students are active participants in their own learning and they are inspired to question, experiment and engage with global challenges through inquiry, action and reflection. Click here to review a sample timetable and daily activities.

How to find out more