International Education

Elementary School (K-5)

Kindergarten through 5th Grade

Silicon Valley's best international and bilingual elementary school program lays the foundation for students to become self-directed and independent lifelong learners, engaged global citizens, and inquirers with the capacity to see issues and ideas from multiple perspectives. Students explore, discover, and create through a series of rich and varied learning experiences built around engaging bilingual curricula in French/English and or Mandarin Chinese/English.
The school combines rigorous and dynamic language immersion education with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP), an innovative framework for promoting inquiry-based learning through which students are active and engaged participants in constructing meaning for themselves.
Throughout our outstanding program, children are not just students – they are artists, writers, scientists, mathematicians, historians, linguists and diplomats.

Students are consistently connected to the world beyond the classroom through field trips, virtual exchanges, service learning, and overseas exchanges with peer schools in China, France, and Taiwan. Throughout their educational experiences, they develop their social-emotional skills and attitudes towards learning, as described in the PYP Learner Profile.

Curriculum Overview

List of 6 items.

  • Inquiry-Based Learning

    The PYP (Primary Years Programme) framework is based on a structured inquiry approach, where teachers facilitate the understanding of specific content and skills outlined in our curricula, but in ways that allow students to connect, be curious about, and build their own understanding of the content and skills through a deeper grasp of concepts.
  • Language Immersion

    Research consistently shows the cognitive and academic benefits of the bilingual brain. In comparison with their monolingual counterparts, bilingual individuals show greater mental flexibility and stronger executive function, in addition to the ability to see the world from multiple perspectives and consider problems from a variety of different angles. We provide immersive language learning experiences that build a strong foundation for students to become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural individuals. In Kindergarten through 2nd grade, students spend 70% of their time learning in French or Chinese. In 3rd through 5th grade, the program is balanced between English and Chinese or French, to begin preparing students for the academic work they will encounter in the most academically rigorous US high schools and universities.
  • Literacy

    ISTP uses a balanced literacy approach to building reading and writing skills in all three of our languages (English, French, and Chinese). Teachers use a highly intentional approach to teaching literacy in meaningful contexts, and to allow students to develop a love of reading and writing. Students develop the ability to use a wide variety of reading strategies to decode and interpret texts alongside the ability to write for a variety of purposes. Students have ongoing opportunities to develop their literacy skills through small group instruction and guided reading opportunities. Both reading and writing instruction are woven into the PYP (Primary Years Programme) Units of Inquiry.
  • Social-Emotional Learning

    ISTP strives to create a nurturing environment in which students are encouraged to reach their full potential. Guided by the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile, social emotional learning is woven into the fabric of the curriculum, as well as taught explicitly. Classes work collaboratively to create Essential Agreements in the beginning of each year, which work in tandem with our Citizenship Standards to guide all community members in common behavior expectations. Our international and bilingual approach to education reinforces the idea that each person is a unique and valued member of our learning community.
  • Chinese Program

    ISTP has one of the leading Chinese immersion programs in the country. Using a highly integrated curriculum that balances inquiry-based learning through the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP), second language acquisition, and individualized and small group reading instruction, the program nurtures the development of students’ Chinese language skills in natural and meaningful contexts. Through partnerships with schools and universities in China and Taiwan, and collaborations with other Chinese immersion schools, ISTP’s Chinese program fosters a culture of continuous improvement and field leadership. By the end of 5th grade, students in the ISTP Chinese program are already reading, writing, and speaking on sophisticated literary, historical, and cultural topics in Chinese.
  • French Program

    The French program at ISTP has long been a leader among French-American schools. The curriculum is delivered by highly trained, credentialed French teachers and combines the French national curriculum of the Ministry of Education with an inquiry-based approach through the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The program maintains a robust network of connections to peer institutions in France and worldwide, provides a wide array of opportunities for students to connect and collaborate with their peers in France, and to interact with French artists, writers, musicians, and scholars. By the end of 5th grade, students in the ISTP French program are already reading, writing, and speaking on sophisticated literary, historical, and cultural topics in French.

List of 5 items.

  • Art, Drama, & Music

    At ISTP, artistic expression is considered another “language”, another way for our students to communicate. Students are engaged through multiple medias, senses, and sounds. From full theatre performances to gallery-like exhibitions to classroom projects and activities, students are encouraged to explore their creativity. ISTP takes great pride in its arts program, which includes visual arts, music, and performing arts.

    Beginning in 1st Grade, the arts (visual, music, and performing) classes are instructed by a specialist teacher and are based in the French and Chinese cultures. The arts teachers collaborate with the classroom teachers to incorporate the arts into the Primary Years Programme Units of Inquiry wherever possible, as well as take an inquiry-based approach to the arts overall. Students collaborate, create, and perform throughout the year, and their work is often highlighted in community events.
  • Math

    Students at ISTP have the unique opportunity to learn mathematical skills and concepts from a variety of different angles and perspectives. The inquiry-based curriculum follows the International Baccalaureate Scope and Sequence and draws from core resources such as Singapore Math, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and French and Chinese approaches to mathematics education. The math program emphasizes the importance of learning mathematical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. It integrates math concepts with their real-world applications through inquiry-based units that ask students to utilize their math reasoning and skills to investigate and solve issues and problems both within and beyond the classroom.
  • Physical Education

    Physical education, health, and wellness are key elements of the ISTP elementary school program. In Kindergarten through 2nd grade, students do PE in French or Chinese and the program emphasizes teamwork, collaboration, and the development of motor skills. In 3rd through 5th grade, students work with a Physical Education specialist to continue developing their motor skills, alongside learning more specific athletic skills through their participation in a variety of different sports and games. Social development is central to this program as students learn to work both independently and as part of a team. The students also continue their explorations into health and wellness with the overall aim being to develop lifelong learners who lead a physically active and healthy lifestyle.
  • Science

    Science is a core component of the ISTP elementary school program and students have the opportunity to learn and apply the scientific method in a wide variety of contexts within the Primary Years Programme Units of Inquiry. The science curriculum integrates the physical, biological, and earth sciences through an investigation of Living Things, Earth and Space, Materials and Matter, and Forces and Energy, with an emphasis on students learning to develop and test hypotheses, design and create experiments, analyze data, and use deductive and inductive approaches to scientific reasoning through real world connections. In addition, all students in grades 1 through 5 have the opportunity to learn computer science in a hands-on, engaging, and age-appropriate way.
  • Social Studies

    ISTP’s Social Studies curriculum is an essential element of each Primary Years Programme Unit of Inquiry. Students become acquainted with human systems and economic activity, social organization and culture, continuity and change through time, human and natural environments, and resources and the environment. They learn to understand today's world and act upon it as a free and responsible individual, be active citizens in a diverse world, and confront history and geography from a variety of perspectives.

Key Features of the Elementary School Program

List of 10 items.

  • Our Teachers

    Our highly qualified and skilled teachers are native speakers of the language in which they teach.
  • Immersion Programs

    Established, long-running, nationally-renowned bilingual programs (French and Chinese).
  • Innovation Literacy Programs

    Excellence in English, French, and Chinese.
  • Transdisciplinary Approach

    ISTP incorporates all subject areas into comprehensive learning experiences.
  • Design Thinking

    Design thinking curriculum and innovative MakerSpace that promotes hands-on learning and problem-solving.
  • Coding & Beyond

    Computer science (coding and beyond) for all students in grades 1 through 5, as part of an integrated technology curriculum and digital citizenship program.
  • One-to-One iPad Program

    In grades 3 through 5.
  • Overnight Trips

    For grades 3 through 5, and international exchanges in grades 4 and 5.
  • French & Chinese Culture

    Strong emphasis on French and Chinese cultural literacy and competencies.
  • The Arts

    Music, art, drama, and physical education woven throughout the curriculum.
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