Primary Years

The Primary School encompasses students from ages 3 – 11. The curriculum is framed by the philosophies and goals of the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Program (PYP), an inquiry-based, concept-driven curriculum framework for children aged 3-11 years (grades EC – 5) and it combines current research practice from a range of national systems with the wealth of knowledge and experience from international schools. This program, which is broken into six major units of study per year, was developed to meet the needs of internationally mobile students.

The curriculum is grounded in beliefs that are consistent with the mission of HIS and the Primary Years Programme. It is developmentally appropriate at each level and embraces the spirit of internationalism. Some skills may be practised in stand-alone lessons of one subject area, yet at HIS, we believe that the integration of subject-specific skills in the study of meaningful, relevant and engaging units of inquiry is the most effective way for students to master the ability to transfer skills across the curriculum and become independent learners.

The PYP focuses on individual growth and personal fulfillment as well as educational achievement. It is organized by the use of broad, trans-disciplinary themes as the context from within which students explore relevant and significant concepts, develop and learn necessary skills, foster appropriate attitudes, take responsible action and acquire a wide body of knowledge.

Students at HIS are encouraged to ask questions and seek answers. The program’s curriculum framework is an expression and extension of three inter-related questions:

  • What do we want to learn?
  • How best will we learn?
  • How will we know what we have learned?

The Primary Years Program enables students:

  • to explore relevant and significant concepts, learn necessary skills, foster appropriate action and acquire a wide body of knowledge,
  • to use their own experiences as a basis for learning,
  • to engage in a variety of learning experiences,
  • to use a range of resources and technologies to find, document and analyze information,
  • to use critical-thinking skills,
  • to communicate what they have learned through a range of media,
  • to dialogue and work cooperatively with others,
  • to develop an ability to think and make choices independently,
  • to connect learning to real-life situations, and
  • to foster an awareness of and respect for the culture and traditions of Japan and the global community

The Primary Years Program includes:

  • a process-led, inquiry based curriculum,
  • a child-centered program that is holistic and integrated,
  • Science as a means of exploring how the world works,
  • Social Studies as a way of examining and understanding how human beings live and interact with each other and the earth,
  • personal, social and physical education to consider the well-being of ourselves and others and opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom (field trips) and from others outside the school (guest speakers).
  • The Primary Years Program culminates in an exhibition.

Early Childhood

The Early Childhood program at HIS centers on developmentally appropriate practices where children actively engage with their environment through centers, projects and learning experiences with their peers. Students are expected to master certain skills and concepts that are appropriate to their physical, social and emotional and cognitive development.

We offer a combined class for children between the ages of 3 and 5. Children must have their third or fourth birthday by 1st September for enrollment in the class. All children must be toilet-trained prior to admission. The class teacher is supported by a full-time teacher assistant.

All classes run through the normal school day from 8:50 to 3:20