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What is the International Baccalaureate? (sponsored)

The International Baccalaureate (“the IB”) is considered the gold standard in education and is known for its academic rigor. It is highly respected among colleges and universities worldwide, and students at International Baccalaureate® (IB) World Schools are given a unique, challenging and diverse education.

IB learners are:

  • encouraged to think critically and solve complex problems
  • drive their own learning
  • a core part in educational programmes that can lead them to some of the highest-ranking universities around the world
  • more culturally aware,through the development of a second language
  • able to engage with people in an increasingly globalized, rapidly changing world.

The IB Primary Years Program (PYP) is the first ever curriculum framework for international primary schools, designed for students ages three to ten (Preschool through 5th Grade). Through both a unique curriculum approach and unique teaching methods it develops the intellectual, emotional and physical potential of each child. In 1990, the inventors of the PYP were inspired by the early constructivist models, like Montessori and Reggio Emilia, and strove to find ways to expand on them and connect them to the powerful IB model of global relevancy, rigorous inquiry and peer-to-peer collaboration.

Constructivism is a learning theory based on the belief that we all learn by constructing our own knowledge of the world through experiences and reflection, rather than by simply absorbing knowledge shared by someone else. So, when you walk through a Montessori classroom or a Reggio Emilia classroom, you will see children investigating and building knowledge by interacting with materials, tools, the environment and each other. You will not see teachers directing students or insisting that they memorize facts. In these environments, all knowledge is constructed by each student in a highly individualized way. No two experiences are alike.

At the heart of the PYP is a commitment to structured inquiry as the best approach to learning. Giving more ownership to the students in planning and assessing their learning, providing time, space, resources and support, integrating subjects, exploring big themes, we have moved toward more authentic learning. The PYP recognizes the importance of traditional subjects, but even more it emphasizes the need for using the knowledge and skills of these subjects to explore significant concepts that are global and common for all humans.

Throughout the program, students acquire and apply a set of transdisciplinary skills:

  • social skills,
  • communication skills,
  • thinking skills,
  • research skills, and
  • self-management skills.

These skills are valuable for any learning that goes on within the classroom, and in life outside the school. The PYP fosters the development of thinking, communication, socializing, research, and self-management skills. Students are encouraged to put what they have learned into practice through service to the school community, the local community and the global community.

Pine Street School is the only school in New York City and one of just a few in the world offering the PYP with dual language options in both Mandarin Chinese and Spanish and then continuing this inquiry-based approach, offering the Common Ground Collaborative Learning Ecosystem with Spanish dual language through 8th Grade. Learn more at

Attend the “What is the IB” chat with our Head of School on January 20th, RSVP here.