Our Elementary School offers a welcoming, inclusive international experience for children from Nursery to Grade 5 in which engaged parents and highly skilled and committed teachers work together to nurture each child’s unique academic and social-emotional learning needs in an environment of quality learning resources and world class facilities.


IST is fully authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB-PYP), an internationally celebrated curriculum framework for children from KG1 (Nursery) to Grade 5 specifically designed to facilitate a smooth transition between both international and national school systems. 

Dear Parents, Students and Members of the IST Community,


It is with great pleasure that I welcome you and your family to the International School of Tianjin Elementary School. At IST we are committed to working, learning and acting together to help each student fulfil their unique potential. We value IST being a friendly place, where people from around the world unite to form our special community. We pride ourselves on developing an inclusive environment where each student, parent and staff member plays an important role in fostering relationships that promote positivity and belonging. Our students learn and grow together, guided by an experienced and highly qualified faculty, who are dedicated to meeting the diverse learning needs of our students.


Our school strives for academic excellence whilst maintaining a holistic view of every child. We provide a strong academic program as an accredited International Baccalaureate World School. We deliver the Primary Years Program starting with an early childhood education in our Early Learning Centre (Nursery, Pre-Kinder and Kinder) progressing to Grade 1 through to Grade 5. The International Baccalaureate program also aims to develop internationally minded students who possess skills, knowledge and understandings that are adaptable and transferable in various settings. We also value and respect our host country China and embrace local connections at every opportunity.


Typical learning areas in the Elementary School include English, Mathematics, Science and Social Sciences with the homeroom teacher, and specialist subjects such as Chinese, Art, Music, Physical Education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Our facilities are world-class which includes a gymnasium, sporting fields, library, theatre, I.T lab, science lab/kitchen, music suite, and art rooms which value-add to the quality of the curriculum program. Students have access to various technological devices (iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, VR, etc.) to support teaching and learning programs. Students can be involved in Co-Curricular Activities (CCA’s) each afternoon to further develop their interests and skills. Some of the CCA’s at IST include choir, football, badminton, cross country, chess, musical practice, table tennis, art club, chess club, cooperative games, and cooking. Many of our students are also involved in interschool sports tournaments with other schools in Tianjin and Beijing. Through these activities, IST Elementary students are encouraged to challenge themselves to nurture lifelong growth and learning.


This year will again provide many new and exciting learning opportunities. As the Elementary School Principal, I am looking forward to partnering with students, parents and teachers in ensuring that each child reaches their full potential as I truly believe in the age-old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child!”. IST is a community of friendly and open-minded people who care for one another. Our Elementary School Team is committed to continually reflecting upon our school wide programs with a view to improving and refining these programs each year as we subscribe to the mantra, “if better is possible, then good is not enough!” I sincerely look forward to meeting and partnering with every family as we embark on a rewarding journey.


Kind regards,


Cam Wallace
Elementary Principal


Our school places students in developmentally appropriate grade levels based on the child’s birthdate on 30 September for KG1 (Nursery, 3 years), KG2 (Pre-K, 4 years), and Kindergarten (KG3, 5 years). Grades 1 to 5 placements are based on previous grade levels completed. Children will be admitted into the half-day program (8:10AM to 12:00PM) from 2 years 9 months, but must no longer require diapers, demonstrating basic independence with toileting (assistance is nevertheless provided as needed).

Our school day begins at 8.10AM and finishes at 3.15PM. There are eight 40-minute periods per day, with the exception of Wednesday when lessons are condensed to allow for an early finish at 2.15PM. Students have a 20-minute morning recess from 9:45AM to 10:05AM, and a 60-minute lunch break from 12:10PM to 1:10PM. Students in KG1 and KG2 run a separate schedule of breaks (see Early Learning Center pamphlet).

  • KG1 and KG2: 14 students (1 adult to 7 children)
  • KG3 to Grade 2: 18-20 students
  • Grades 3 to 5: 20-22 students

Our faculty includes highly qualified and experienced Homeroom, Specialist subject, English Language Acquisition (ELA), and Learning Support teachers from around the world. Experienced Teaching Assistants provide additional support across the Elementary program.

Students spend the majority of each school day in the care of our homeroom teachers who support high quality learning in the core subjects, including Mathematics, English language and literacy, and Science and Social Studies. Core subjects are further integrated into the transdisciplinary ‘Units of Inquiry’ as relevant.

While all of our teachers are language teachers and actively support English language development, a team of skilled specialist ELA teachers provide scheduled ELA classes for Grade 1 to 5 students in need of additional assistance, with in-class support offered in KG1 to KG3. New applicants from KG3 to Grade 5 are required to sit an English proficiency assessment to determine what level of learning support is required to best meet their English language learning needs.

Students receive weekly lessons from our dedicated team of specialist teachers in Physical Education (2-3 lessons), Music (2 lessons), Art (1-2 lessons), World Languages (3-4 lessons), STEM/IT (1-2 lessons), and Library/Information Literacy (1-2 lessons)

A child’s school experience is greatly enriched by a family that is well informed and active in school affairs. In the Elementary school, our main platform of communication is Seesaw (accessible via website or App). Seesaw provides information on curriculum, classroom activities, homework and special events. As parents you are encouraged to be active participants by posting your own feedback!


Balance in the various aspects of your children’s lives is important, and our students are therefore provided with multiple opportunities to engage in different forms of learning beyond the traditional subject disciplines, including through field trips, Co-Curricular Activities (offered every day after school), sports, student leadership, and community service experiences. All field trips and most CCAs are offered at no additional cost to parents.


IST boasts Tianjin’s largest international school campus with 7.2 hectares of park-like grounds and over 30,000m2 of architecturally designed, purpose-built facilities. The Elementary School is primarily based in the Qin Building and houses an engaging Early Learning Center dedicated to meeting the unique developmental needs of pre-school children, and spacious grade level pods with generous homeroom and collaborative learning spaces for KG3 to Grade 5 children. Additional state-of-the-art facilities support high quality learning in specialist subjects, including Physical Education, STEM, Library and Information Literacy, Music, Art and Drama, and Chinese and Modern Languages.

PYP Early Years
3 - 5 years KG 1 - KG 2
6 - 11 years KG 3 - Grade 5

Key resources

Brochure Elementary