Primary Years Program


Primary Years Program



A stimulating and challenging learning environment

The Alturas International Academy uses the Primary Years Program (PYP) designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a curriculum framework for young learners. Founded on a philosophy that recognizes a child’s natural curiosity, creativity and ability to react, the PYP generates a stimulating, challenging learning environment. Like all IB programs, PYP is transdisciplinary, meaning students learn across subject areas while investigating big ideas. In the process, students develop critical thinking, research, self-management, communication, and social skills.

At Alturas, students learn about significant concepts through units of inquiry. The six trans-disciplinary themes that guide units of inquiry are:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Units of inquiry interweave subject areas such as mathematics, language arts, information technology, science, and social studies, helping students make meaningful connections between what they learn in core subject areas and how it relates to the world around them.




The Primary Years Program (PYP) is based on a commitment to inquiry-based teaching and the development of the whole child; socially, emotionally, and intellectually. A core belief is that children learn more effectively when they are actively involved in the learning process and build upon existing knowledge in real-life contexts – In other words, when learning is relevant and engaging.


Spanish is the language of instruction in our K–5 elementary school program.  We welcome students from all language backgrounds. Over 80% of our students begin with no Spanish language at home.

Nurturing environment: 

Alturas' smaller class sizes ensure that the teachers and staff can focus on students’ social and emotional development in addition to their intellectual progress. From a place of safety, students are encouraged to inquire, wonder, and investigate—to lay the foundations of interculturally sensitive and inquisitive lives.

Experienced, Caring Teachers: 

Alturas' teachers provide opportunities for students to build meaning and refine understanding through structured inquiry. Outside the classroom, Alturas teachers are an integral part of our community.

Real world connections: 

Students synthesize and showcase their learning by applying new knowledge to real-world problems and working collaboratively to find solutions.  For example, 5th grade students work in groups to prepare an exhibition and presentation about a topic of their choice, showcasing their self-guided learning to the community.