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. 

We welcome your involvement, suggestions and reflections in our Elementary School!


Dear Parents, Students and Members of the IST Community,


It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the IST 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.


The school provides a strong academic program as an accredited International Baccalaureate World School. We deliver all three programs, the PYP, the MYP and the DP, beginning with primary childhood education in our Early Learning Centre and concluding with Grade 12 in the secondary school. Our secondary Diploma Program boasts exceptional results, with two high scores of 45 points in 2018/19, and four scores of 44 points in 2019/20. The IST DP average score is 35 points compared to the world average of 29, and the average for 2019/20 at IST was 38 points. These results reflect the quality of our educational program at IST and the dispositional attributes that we instill in our students from a very young age. Alongside academic achievement, we use the IB PYP program 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.


The Elementary School at IST aims to create well-rounded and balanced students. To support this goal, students learn English, mathematics, science and social sciences (Units of Inquiry) with their homeroom teacher, in addition to specialist subjects such as Chinese, art, music, physical education and STEM. Specialist facilities, including a gymnasium, sports fields, library, theatre, I.T lab, science lab/kitchen, music suite, and art rooms enhance the quality of the program and student experiences. Students have access to technological devices (ipads, Macbooks and iMacs) to support teaching and learning programs. Students can be involved in Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) to further develop their interests and skills. Some of the CCAs at IST include choir, football, badminton, cross country, chess, musical practice, table tennis, art club, chess club, cooperative games, cooking and t-ball. Many of our students are also involved in interschool sport 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 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. IST is a community of friendly and open-minded people that care for one another. If you can offer support to enhance any of our programs by volunteering as a guest speaker or by joining our Parent Faculty Organisation (PFO), we would be greatly appreciative. Our Elementary school team is committed to improving and refining our school wide programs and any suggestions or recommendations from the community to support our students are always most welcome.


Kind regards,


Justin Lobsey
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