Our approach to learning in the early years of the PYP centres around play. Play is essential for young children’s physical, social, and emotional wellbeing; it helps them to build knowledge of their environment, to develop social competencies, and to foster curiosity and imagination.

Children at play are flexible and responsive. They are sensitive to others. They are prepared to take risks in their learning. The learning environments in Prep at ISD are spacious and invigorating, allowing children choice and freedom, so that play can unfold to its fullest potential. In Reception and Prep, children play and learn in the classroom as well as in the beautiful, outdoor learning environment. The gardens are thriving ecosystems where children can grow and harvest their own fruit and vegetables, cook mucky treats in the mud kitchen, or discover the many plants and animals that inhabit the freshwater pond.

Primary Years Programme (Reception - Grade 5)


RECEPTION (3 & 4 year olds)

In reception, children learn the most important things not by being told what to do, but by constructing knowledge for themselves through interaction with the physical world and with other children. They learn best by combining their ideas, impressions and intuitions with experiences and opinions. We place great emphasis on giving our children opportunities to create ideas about their world and to share them with one another. This kind of self-directed learning also leads to feelings of competence and success, and it allows children to develop and build self-confidence.

Learning in Reception is explorative and experiential; mathematical, scientific, and language-based concepts are introduced in an integrated way, as children enthusiastically discover the world around them. Children find tremendous joy in being creative, learning to build friendships, and participating in the lively atmosphere of our school. Whether we are building, painting, cooking, or singing, we always have lots of fun in Reception at ISD!


PREP (5 year olds)

The Prep year is a time of change, as children make the transition from pre-school to elementary school. Through diverse learning experiences, prep students develop their sense of personal responsibility and autonomy, which provide an important foundation for the rest of their education. Importantly, they are given rich opportunities to grow into passionate learners. We use play to engage children’s innate curiosity. In this way, a simple observation (“look at this!”) will lead to questions like:

What is it?
Why is it here?
Where does it come from?
How does it work?

Join us in Prep at ISD and discover a world of minibeasts, create wood crafts (once you have earned your all-important hammer licence), explore shapes and patterns, and build lasting friendships!



- Adults provide a safe place for them to wonder

- Adults provide indoor and outdoor learning environments and experiences

- Adults and children reach important decisions together

Children own, choose and are delighting in their learning

- Children can engage in all types of play-based experiences

- Children are inspired and supported by adults who are passionate about learning

- Parents work in partnership
with ISD to actively support their children's learning.



The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme adheres to the following philosophy when it comes to learning in the early years:

Very young learners are capable and have agency

The concept of play is fundamental to learning at this stage. In play, children construct knowledge by combining their ideas, impressions and intuitions with experiences and opinions.

They create theories about their worlds and share them with one another. They establish a culture and a social world with their peers. 

In play, children make sense - and sometimes nonsense - of their experience. They discover the intimacy and joy of friendship as they explore their own emerging identity. When play is self-directed, it leads to feelings of competence and self-confidence.