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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?

Neighbourhood students

Cross boundary students

  • apply online for cross boundary school (February 1 - 28)
  • applicants will be informed of their status by March 31

How is the PYP different from other elementary school programmes?

The PYP draws on the best practices in elementary school instruction. There is a strong emphasis on learning how to learn and character building.

The PYP requires all teachers in the school to plan units collaboratively around six important themes. This collaboration means there is a carefully thought-out and sequential development of skills, knowledge, and conceptual understanding. The six organizing themes, which are repeated each year, ensure the learning is engaging, significant, challenging and relevant.

In the PYP, students are taught to understand that learning is about asking questions and looking for answers, which in turn may generate new, and perhaps more complex questions. As well, teachers help students understand what their relationship and responsibility is towards what they are learning.

What curriculum do you follow?

The IB is committed to making sure that students in IB programmes meet or exceed local standards. Schools are required to ensure there is alignment between their PYP units of inquiry and the local standards. As such, we use the BC Curriculum and map it into our PYP units of inquiry.

Can students with special needs participate in the PYP? What about gifted students? PYP schools are inclusive, and designed for all students.

Do PYP students have to take IB examinations?

There are no IB examinations in the PYP. All student assessment is organized and conducted by the teachers in the school. We use the same reporting schedule and format as other VSB elementary schools.

Are all teachers at the school IB certified?

Yes. IB requires that all teachers become IB-certified. Some teachers are already certified when they begin teaching at Southlands, and others participate in their first IB workshop once they begin teaching at the school. We encourage teachers to model life-long learning, and many teachers choose to participate in additional IB-sanctioned training.

How is multilingualism part of the PYP?

The ability to communicate in more than one language is essential to the PYP philosophy. Currently, students receive French language instruction beginning in kindergarten. This ranges from 50-100 minutes a week. Students who speak languages other than English are encouraged to maintain and develop their language proficiency in all their languages.

Where do Southlands students go for high school? Does the PYP prepare students for high school?

Many of our students choose to attend their local high school, while others attend specialized programs such as mini schools. The skills and attributes students develop in the PYP are beneficial to whatever option they choose for high school.

Interested students can continue in the IB if they choose. The Middle Years Programme is offered at King George Secondary and the Diploma Program is offered at Britannia Secondary and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary. In the VSB, each IB programme is separate, and there is not a direct path from one to the other.

Is there any research to show the effectiveness of the PYP?

Yes. Please visit IB Research. As well, the following document provides a summary of key research findings: PYP Research Findings

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