Primary Years Program

"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think"

- Margaret Mead

The elementary classrooms at Princeton Junior School are vibrant and caring learning environments.  Our students actively participate in their classrooms and are encouraged to pose questions, share their interests, and act upon their beliefs.  They are engaged in inquiry, exploration and reflection while building foundational skills in all subject areas. Our learners feel a sense of agency in their classrooms, leading to joyful learning and excitement to come to PJS each day.

The K-6 Elementary Curriculum is based on the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program, a globally-recognized education that challenges students to grow both academically and personally.  With a focus on the development of the whole child, our elementary curriculum provides students with the knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and actions to become empowered learners.  

PJS students study globally significant issues throughout the school year, deepening their understanding of key concepts across a variety of subjects. Each unit is 6-weeks long and integrates language, math, science, social studies, the arts and technology around a central idea. In addition to their units of study, students have concentrated blocks of time devoted to mathematics and language arts every day and attend special subject classes throughout the week.


The Exhibition is a culminating event of the Primary Years Program and a personal rite of passage for our Grade 6 students.  This in-depth presentation provides an opportunity for our graduating students to select and explore an issue of global significance which they present to our school community.  Throughout the inquiry process, students demonstrate their understanding of the IB learner profile and the essential elements of the PYP as they document their learning. Mentors and experts from the school and larger community support students as they plan and conduct interviews, surveys, field visits, or science investigations, collect artifacts, and search for relevant information. Students actively reflect on their learning process by keeping a journal or portfolio of work in progress and participating in self-assessment. Students take part in all phases of the planning and staging of the exhibition. They determine how they will share the story of their learning and action taken (or future plans for action) with the school community.  In addition to a research paper and oral component, students choose other presentation methods that may include artwork, poetry, song, dance, film, digital presentations, or use of other technology.

Problem Solving at PJS

"Learning from failures and making changes is what we look for as successful students, but also successful people." Zach Floyd, PJS STEAM Coordinator

Love for Literacy

"It's our job as professionals to know their passions, their interests as well as the level and pick a book that just can have that spark for them." Bev Gallagher, PJS Literacy Coach

Core Subjects