Frequently Asked Questions about Primary Years Programme

What is the purpose of the homework given in the primary school, when parents seems to be the one doing most of the work?

Purpose of Homework:

  • To reinforce/ consolidate/ review what has been taught or learnt in class
  • To consolidate prior knowledge through practice
  • To encourage responsibility for self learning
  • To extend skills taught
  • To involve parents in their child’s learning
  • To reflect on the lesson taught
  • To practice skills (transdisciplinary and subject specific)
  • To practice living the learner profile
  • To make connections between what is being learnt and prior knowledge

All homework is intended to be done by the learner however there are times when students are given inquiry tasks such interviewing a parent or collecting an item that has a certain quality or significance.

How does the PYP programme align to Thai MOE curriculum. Can you clearly explain in a document or form that parents could go through?

This diagram represents the process we went through to combine the Thai MOE and IB PYP curriculum. You can see it reflected in our scope and sequence documents, Year Plans, and finally in our reports that show you the progress your child has made against each learning outcomes.

When do students learn? They seem to play all day. E.g. They should be learning comprehension by now in P5

The PYP is a constructivist program which means students learn by constructing their own understanding through carefully planned learning engagements. All the standards of the Thai MOE curriculum are covered at SBS but are taught through inquiry. Trained teachers facilitate the learners guided discovery so learners often feel as though they are playing and not learning when in reality they are learning through play. Click here to learn more about the benefits of play based learning

Where are the textbooks? What are they learning from? How is this method more beneficial to the first?

The IB PYP philosophy believes that students learn best through authentic inquiry. Textbooks do so much of the work for a child that they hinder development of the critical thinking skills necessary to becoming a successful lifelong learner. We want students to read and write authentic texts and to view themselves as readers and writers, active in the pursuit of their own learning and not just passive receptors of factual knowledge. The IB PYP also recognizes that it is not knowledge alone that makes a learner successful, but the skills and attitudes they develop along the way. A Textbook, not unlike the bible, is an interpretation of the facts. We prefer to allow students to draw their own conclusions from a variety of sources.

How can you ensure standard in quality of learning between two classrooms of the same grade level?

At SBS, we value collaboration, there is a schedule meeting with the whole grade level team with the PYP/Assistant Coordinator to discuss and share ideas that will help for the teaching and learning in the class. The POI, Year plan, PYP Unit planners, Weekly plans and assessments are all created collaboratively. Homework although planned together may vary to accommodate learner variability.

How do you assess students? What tools do you use? Please provide examples.

  • Pre-assessment or diagnostic assessment – assesses what the learner already knows and/or the nature of difficulties that the learner might have. It is often used before teaching. E.g. KWL chart, mind map, yes/no card, graffiti wall, etc.
  • Formative assessment – it provides information that is used in order to plan the next stage in learning. These are the daily activities of the students in the class. E.g. working on stations, think-pair-share, exit ticket, etc.
  • Summative assessment – done at the end of units. It sums up what the students know, do and understand. E.g. projects, presentations, etc.
Assessment tools such as rubrics, checklist, exemplars (portfolio), anecdotal records, continuums are used in conjunction with the learning outcomes from the curriculum. For more on assessment watch these SBS Assessment videos: video one, video two.

How do you assess students? What tools do you use? Please provide examples.

Students at International Baccalaureate® (IB) World Schools are given a unique education. They will:

  • be encouraged to think independently and drive their own learning
  • take part in programmes of education that can lead them to some of the highest ranking universities around the world
  • become more culturally aware, through the development of a 2 or more languages
  • be able to engage with people in an increasingly globalized, rapidly changing world.
You may watch a video that explains what IB Education is here.

When will they learn contents and when will they prepare for secondary school?

The PYP doesn’t prepare students just for secondary school it prepares learners for life. The IB learner profile gives students the attributes to tackle real world problems with 21st century skills. Research shows that PYP students outperform others in all areas. IB educators know that knowing how to learn is more important than regurgitating facts. Therefore the way PYP students are taught allows them to be successful on O’Nets, secondary school, university and most importantly life with all of it’s really challenging problems. See our results here:

or read more about the success of our graduates.

What strategy/transition programmes do you use for students in P.5 to P.6 when the programmes are quite different?

Every year in February the P5 students spend the day shadowing a buddy in P6. They get a chance to participate in lessons and life as a secondary student at SBS. SBS prepares learners for universities here and abroad.

See what this year’s P6s are saying about joining the secondary school at SBS in this video.

Why do you have non-native speakers expat teachers?

There are many qualities that make a great teacher. PYP teachers are highly trained and skillful educators. As we train our SBS teachers we have added experienced PYP educators to our family to help model how PYP educators teach. The most important quality of an educator is not whether they are a native English speaker or not. All of our expatriate staff are fluent in English. As an internationally minded school SBS believes we have a lot to learn from a diverse community. At SBS, we appreciate and celebrate diversity in our community.

Why do parents pay higher fees at SBS than many EP Schools in the area?

In Thailand there are 4 types of schools:

  • Thai schools- Thai staff teaching Thai MOE
  • Thai schools with an EP- the same as above plus a few English speakers teaching English in isolation
  • Bilingual schools- Mix of Thai and Expat staff that teach in both languages
  • International Schools- Mainly expat teachers with THai teachers teaching in isolation with external accreditation
SBS is offering something unique. We are the first school in Thailand offering a truly bilingual education with internationally accredited programs such as the IB PYP and Cambridge IGCSE.

Base tuition in International schools for IB PYP in the Bangkok area range from 600,000-1,500,000 Baht as it is an expensive program to run. SBS fees are excellent value for money at 200,000baht.

Who/where do parents go to when they have questions about the programme?

You can always speak with your child’s PYP classroom teacher or grade level leader but if you are still unclear please contact

  • Your school’s PYP coordinator Babita Seth on babita.s@sbs.ac.th for matters related to teaching and learning
  • For matters related to the day to day operations of the school please contact the vice principals of the section: Mark Gilheaney on mark.g@sbs.ac.th for KG and Rhiannon Morgan on rhiannon.m@sbs.ac.th for Primary and Rick Fourie on for secondary school (P6-M6)
  • For concerns about communications please contact Khun Nong our communication director on thatchakorn.p@sbs.ac.th

Are they learning Math in the PYP?

In short, yes they are. It may not look the same as what you would have experienced growing up. The approaches to teaching in the PYP continue through the discipline of math. Math in the PYP is not rote learning. It is not repetition of something you don’t understand. Math is taught through inquiry using concepts. Some of our math is taught through transdisciplinary units of inquiry and other times it’s a discrete unit of math inquiry. In both cases, the focus is on real world application of math skills. Learners, in order to be equipped for problems in the world, need to be able to identify problems and possible solution and the subject specific skills needed to create solutions, because problems in the real world are messy and involve multiple disciplines(subject areas).
PYP Math is taught in 3 steps:

  1. Conceptual understanding
  2. Transferring meaning into symbols
  3. Applying with understanding

When do you start teaching writing at SBS?

For young children writing is often challenging and a source of frustration. The trick to teaching writing is providing motivation to communicate in a written form. Children want to emulate adults through play. When a group of students play “house” the child who has adopted the role of the one of the parents might write a list of things to get at the shop. The children playing “cake shop” might want to label their baked creations as they set up their shop for the day. The spelling may be wrong, some might be letters and other scribbles but this is important step: the motivation to learn to write to communicate. Teachers are trained to provide engaging play opportunities that they can observe play and notice who is ready to learn to write. At this point the teacher is able to reflect and decide who was not motivated by the play engagements and plan new centers to engagement whose learners. For those who have shown they are ready to write the teacher continuously new adds language to their play centers. Through play learners learn social skills, critical thinking, and gain confidence. This confidence creates children that are desperate to share their stories. Writers workshops help learners share their stories in writing. As children mature their interest expand and so does their writing ability. Throughout primary school they are exposed to an increasing variety of text types and a growing vocabulary which enhances their writing ability.