Annie Wright is an International Baccalaureate World School and is fully authorized to deliver the Primary Years Programme (PYP) in the Lower School. The PYP is a flexible curriculum that addresses children’s needs holistically, focusing on developing them as inquirers, both in the classroom and the outside world.

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • I’ve heard a lot about IB. What exactly is it? 

    The IB, short for International Baccalaureate, is a non-profit organization founded in Switzerland in 1968. Its mission is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better world through understanding and respect. Originally developed for children of diplomats, IB programs, currently offered to more than one million students in 144 countries, encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners. These programs also provide a framework to assess performance according to world standards.
  • Isn’t IB just for high school?

    Actually, the IB has programs for students as young as three. The Primary Years Programme, or PYP, is a flexible curriculum for students aged 3 to 12 that focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the outside world.  The Middle Years Programme, or MYP, encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers and highlights communication skills and intercultural understanding. The IB Diploma Programme, a rigorous curriculum for high school students, is considered the gold standard of academic programs.
  • Okay, so how is the PYP really different from a standard curriculum for young students?

    Like many solid programs, the PYP includes language, math, science, social studies, arts and physical education. The most distinctive feature of the PYP curriculum is its focus on six themes that students explore across different subjects:
    • Who we are
    • Where we are in space and time
    • How we express ourselves
    • How the world works
    • How we organize ourselves
    • Sharing the planet
    The essential components of learning include acquiring knowledge; applying new concepts; gaining skills; developing positive attitudes to learning, people and the environment; and, finally, taking action. Together the six themes form what is called a Program of Inquiry. Through these programs, students learn to learn through engaging and authentic experiences.

    Beyond just academics, the PYP also addresses students’ well-being, encouraging independence, active learning and strong personal values. Students end the program in Grade 5 with an in-depth, collaborative project that incorporates global issues.
  • It sounds good in theory, but how does it play out in the classroom?

    Here are a couple of examples:
    Annie Wright students in Grade 4 recently studied food distribution, exploring the PYP theme “Sharing the Planet.” Their study included research, action and reflection. After auditing Annie Wright’s own level of food waste, the students established a school-wide composting program. They also promoted awareness of food waste and hunger through visual art, songs and videos. The project is ongoing.

    Annie Wright students in Grade 1 enjoyed a cross-curricular project on the circus which led to further inquiry and action. While studying old-time circus posters as part of their research into the history of the circus, they became aware of the issue of animal rights and felt compelled to help. Incorporating the action component of PYP, they learned that even little people can make a difference. The circus performance became a fundraiser, and our first graders proudly collected enough to rescue two orphaned elephants.
  • Why did Annie Wright decide to adopt the PYP?

    We believe that a strong, inquiry-based curriculum is essential for our mission to cultivate individual learners to become well-educated, creative, and responsible citizens for a global society, so that our students may thrive in the 21st century. In addition, we also found that many of our philosophies, values and practices were already aligned with PYP. 
  • Would my kids get the same experience in any PYP school?

    In a word: no. In more words: the PYP does provide a framework for inquiry-based learning, and schools that have adopted the PYP share its core curricula and philosophies. At Annie Wright, however, students receive individualized attention in small classes, enjoy hands-on learning with lab science and cutting-edge technology, learn swimming, Spanish and music, and are embraced as individuals in a strong and nurturing community.
  • How can I learn more about the IB Primary Years Programme?

    The PYP section of the IB web site, www.ibo.org/pyp, has detailed information about the program. Even better, learn about the PYP at Annie Wright by contacting Lower School Director Vicki Ball at 253.284.4161 or PYP Coordinator Jennifer Bills at 253.284.4169. They eat, sleep and breathe PYP and would love the opportunity to talk to you about it.


Annie Wright Schools
Main Campus:
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403

Downtown Campus:
936 Broadway
Tacoma, WA 98402

Translate this page:

Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower and Middle Schools offer co-ed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.