Primary Years Programme

What is the Primary Years Programme?

At OIS, students begin the Primary Years Programme from the age of 6. The PYP 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 subject areas, as well as transdisciplinary skills, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry.

After students begin their journey with us in Year 2, they continue until the end of Year 6, when at age 11 they are preparing for the move to secondary school.

OIS took over a former elementary school building in the village for students from Year 2 up to Year 4. This provides a safe, secure environment for learning. There are facilities for the arts, a library, a meeting space and access to computers for learning. A hot lunch is served every day, though some students choose to bring a packed lunch.

Teachers and support staff have their classes based there, but specialist teachers also come across from the main school for Portuguese and Physical and Health Education (PHE) lessons. The children regularly visit the main school (or Quinta) for animal care and gardening sessions, as well as to play, to explore and for events.

A short 15-minute walk along a private, non-vehicle track connects the main school and the PYP building. The children love this walk as they often see rabbits and other wildlife!

In Year 5 students move across to the Quinta where they will remain until Year 13. The Quinta hosts more specialised facilities which become more important as the students progress and allows them to explore a larger playspace and to mix with other students who provide good role models, a crucial part of growing up.

The Primary Years Programme curriculum framework begins with the premise that students are agents of their own learning and partners in the learning process. It prioritizes people and their relationships to build a strong learning community.

Moreover, PYP students use their initiative to take responsibility and ownership of their education. By learning through inquiry and reflecting on their own development, PYP students gain knowledge, conceptual understanding, skills and the attributes of the IB Learner profile to make a difference in their own lives, their communities, and beyond.

The PYP Curriculum

The PYP presents schools with a comprehensive plan for high quality, international education. It provides schools with a curriculum framework of essential elements — the knowledge, concepts, skills, attributes, and action that young students need to equip them for successful lives, both now and in the future. Schools work with these five elements to construct a rigorous and challenging primary curriculum for international education.

In addition, the Primary Years Programme aims to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant. The curriculum is transdisciplinary, meaning that it focuses on issues that go across subject areas.

For further information about the IB and its programmes visit