Primary Years Programmes

Our Bilingual PYP Programme is based on the IB Primary Years programme(PYP), while  also following the Swedish National Curriculum (Lgr11). These classes are taught both  in English and Swedish, providing an invaluable opportunity for pupils to learn in a  bilingual context. Vasa International School of Stockholm in Vasastan has been 
IB-certified for PYP since 2009. 

In addition to the Bilingual PYP programme, we offer an English PYP programme  within the framework of the IB Primary Years programme (PYP). These classes are  taught in English by international teachers and follow the IB curriculum only. Swedish  is taught in the English PYP programme only as Language B. 

Our PreIB class for students aged 5-6 is a mixed class, with about 18 students and two  teachers. One of the teachers uses English with the pupils and the other uses Swedish.  That way our preIB students get a good basis for both languages and can later choose  between our Bilingual PYP programme or our English PYP programme based on the  number of years they will be staying in Sweden and the language preference of their  child.  

Teaching and learning in the PYP

Being  an  IB  world  school  means  that  it  is  our  aim  to  educate  for  life.  Our ambition  is  to  create  internationally  minded  and  knowledgeable  citizens. We know that our students get a good start  for  higher  education,  whether  it  be  a  Swedish  gymnasium,  the  IB Diploma  program  or  a  college/high  school  somewhere  else  in  the  world. Many come back to visit providing us with  positive  feedback  regarding  the  success of our goals. 

The  PYP  programme at our school caters for pupils aged between 5 and 11. It focuses  on the overall development  of  the  child  as  an  inquirer  in  the  classroom,  and  in  the  world  at  large.  The  programme  includes  six  specified  subjects  -  language,  maths,  science,  social studies,  arts,  personal,  social  and  physical  education  –  and  emphasises  interdisciplinary skills and independent inquiry. 

PYP focuses on a range of areas related to pupils’ overall development, including:  academic, social and emotional well-being; independence and the ability to take responsibility for their own learning; understanding the world and to function comfortably as part of it; establishing personal values centred around a global outlook  and consideration for others. 

The five essential elements of the PYP:

The PYP has compiled the ​five essential elements which are used in the classroom  to aim towards a balance in the program of study. These are:  

  • 1.Knowledge
  • 2.Concepts
  • 3.Skills 
  • 4.Attitudes and  
  • 5.Action  
Each  essential  element  contributes  to  the social and cognitive development of a  child.  These essential elements create the foundation of the PYP and set it apart from other thematic approaches to learning.  

1.Knowledge -
What do we want the students to know?

As  PYP  is  a  transdisciplinary  program  most  subjects  are  taught  in  our  units  of  inquiry.  A  school  year  at  Vasa  International  always  consists  of  six  units  of  inquiry. These units are based upon a central idea, which the teacher and the students explore for  a  number  of  weeks,  usually  4-6.  Both  students  and  parents  need  to  be  actively  working  with  the  central  idea  during  the  current  unit.  Doing  so  helps  the  students deepen their understanding and inquire deeper into the unit at hand. 

Sample Unit of Inquiry (UOI)  
Transdisciplinary theme:​ How we express ourselves  
Title of unit of inquiry:​ The impact of advertising  
Central idea:​ Advertising influences how we think and the  choices we make  
Lines of inquiry:
The purpose of advertising
- The types, styles and locations of advertisements
- The devices used to make advertising effective and to influence our choices

The PYP transdisciplinary themes: 
●    Who we are
●    Where we are in place and time
●    How we express ourselves
●    How we organize ourselves
●    How the world works
●    Sharing the planet

All science and social studies education will be taught inside the framework of the  units and often many other subjects will be part of them as well. If some of the subject specific  goals  and  skills  do  not  fit  under  the  unit  work,  they  will  be  taught  as  stand  alone topics. 

2. Concepts​ - What do we want the students to understand?

The  teacher  and  students  will  look  at  the  inquiry  at  hand  through  different  conceptual lenses, to give the students chances to make connections over the subject boundaries.  

The PYP Key concepts: 

3. Skills ​- What do we want the students to be able to do?

It  is  important  for  the  student  to  not  only  learn  certain  skills,  but  also  to  understand  them  and  to  be  able  to  connect  skills  in  different  subject  areas  to  each other. When  studying a certain unit of inquiry, the teacher identifies which skills will  be necessary for the students to develop and understand. The students will also have time  to  reflect  over  the  skills  and to what extent they think the skills were applied in  that certain unit of inquiry.

The PYP Transdisciplinary Skills: 
Thinking Skills 
Social Skills 
Communication Skills  
Self-management Skills  
Research Skills  

4. Attitudes ​- What attitudes do we want the students to demonstrate?

As  the  PYP  program  strives  to  educate  the  whole  child,  it  has  identified  a  set  of personal  attitudes  that  are  necessary  to  become  an  internationally  minded  person who  grows  up  to  live  and  interact  with  people  and society. The teacher will look for  and  discuss  these  attitudes with the students, thus making the attitudes an important part of everyday life in school.  

The PYP Attitudes: 

5. Action ​- How do we want the students to act?

The PYP believes that successful inquiry will lead to responsible student action. As an IB school, it is Vasa International’s obligation to make sure that there is opportunity for  action  within  the  unit  of  inquiry.  The  teacher will guide the students in choosing  action, and acting and reflecting over their action in order to make a difference in the world.  

The PYP Exhibition 
The ‘Exhibition’ is important part of the PYP. In the final year of the programme, students undertake  a  collaborative,  interdisciplinary  inquiry  process  that  requires  them  to identify,  investigate  and  propose  solutions  to  real-life  issues  or  problems.They  then present their findings to the community.   As  the  culminating  experience  of  the  PYP, the  Exhibition  offers  students  an  exciting  opportunity  to  demonstrate  independence and  responsibility  for  their  own  learning and it is also a way to celebrate their transition from the PYP to the MYP. 

Learn more about the PYP on the IB website ​here. 

The PYP Exhibition
The PYP Exhibition


Important dates for the Academic
Year 2019/2020

Autumn Term 2019

Term starts: Thursday, August 15
Half-term break, (höstlov, week 44): Monday, October 28 to Friday, November 1
Last day of term:
Tuesday, December 17

Spring Term 2020

Term starts: Monday, January 13
ASC Study Day: Friday, January 10
Half-term, (Sports break, week 9): Monday, February 24 to Friday, February 28
Staff study days: Friday, March 20 (Romme trip)
Easter break (week 16): Monday, April 6 to Monday, April 13
PYP Exhibition (week 17) Wednesday April 22
School closed (May Day):
Friday, May 1
School closed (Ascension Day+Bridge Day)
Thursday, Friday May 21-22
ASC/Teacher Study Day: Monday, May 25
Closing ceremony:
Friday, June 12