The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme Exhibit (PYPx) is an immersive experience that transports visitors into a world of young minds brimming with creativity and knowledge. The culmination and celebration of a journey filled with inquiry, exploration, and growth for young learners, the International School of Lausanne’s 2023 PYP Exhibit took place at the end of May, and showcased the achievements and discoveries made throughout students’ PYP experience. Highlights from the PYPx launch through to the event itself can be seen in the International School of Lausanne PYPx 2023 video here.

The IB PYPx provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and understanding of the six transdisciplinary themes that form the heart of the IB PYP curriculum. In preparation for the event itself, the students prepare exhibits, write presentations, and create their own portfolio on the ISL PYPx website. So what do the learners themselves have to say about their experience? Read on to discover why the PYPx is such an “amazing adventure and night”, in an interview with International School of Lausanne Year 6 students, Aimée, Francesca and Josephine.

How did your teachers launch the ISL PYP Exhibition to the Year 6 students? 

Francesca: My teacher introduced to me the PYPx by explaining what it was and what we were going to do throughout the PYP process. 

Aimée: My teacher introduced the PYPx to me by explaining what we were going to do and that it was going to affect our whole term by changing our home learning and our extra work.

The International School of Lausanne Year 6s open the PYPX evening with a song inspired by the UN SDGs.

How did you feel about the PYPx project when you learned about it?

Francesca: I was excited about choosing my own topic and United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and taking action to resolve the problem I was going to research about. 

Aimée:  I was really excited about building my big project.

Josephine: I was excited about learning about my topic but also making my project.

The ISL Year 6s pose proudly by their final exhibits as they wait with nervous excitement for the 2023 PYPx evening to begin.

What topic and SDG did each of you choose for your project, and why did you choose this?

Francesca: I chose SDG number ten (Reduced Inequalities), with a focus on migrants that escape to Europe because their country has been invaded by war (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria…). I chose this topic because I really feel bad for refugees when they have to travel to get to safety. 

Aimée: I chose the SDG number 14 (Life Below Water), more specifically focusing on how climate change affects the ocean; it is getting warmer and warmer and so the coral reefs are dying and the little islands are disappearing under water.

Inspired by UN SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities, Francesca delivers her presentation at the PYPx on the need to raise awareness and help migrants.

Why did you think that it is valuable to connect your project to the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Josephine: I think it is important to connect it with the UN SDGs because they connect to things that are happening in our world right now and we need to fix them before 2030. Everybody should be aware of them.

Francesca: I think it is important because the UN SDGs are important to our planet so we can help the world become a better place for everybody. 

International School of Lausanne Year 6 student Josephine (right) believes that “everyone should be aware” of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

How did your teachers help you to prepare for the PYPx?

Francesca: My teachers helped me to prepare by doing everything step-by-step, so when I got to the stage of working on my project independently, I knew what to do.

Aimée: My teachers helped me prepare by doing everything in time and by explaining clearly to help me understand all the things I had to do. 

An International School of Lausanne Year 6 student adds some final touches to her PYP exhibit poster on UN SDG 5, Gender Equality.

Was there anything that you did in homework time that you found particularly helpful in preparing for the PYPx?

Francesca: The homework time came in very useful when we had to practice our speech because when we had to present, we had to repeat the speech a few times. 

Josephine: I think it was practical when we had to do research, because we needed a lot of research for our projects.

The International School of Lausanne Year 6 students introduce the PYPx and deliver their individual presentations with passion and confidence.

What did you enjoy most about preparing for the exhibit, and why?

Aimée: Knowing that we will perhaps change the perspective of people at the PYPx night and act for the world to be a better place in the future was really exciting. 

Francesca: Preparing for the PYPx was fun because having to be organised and having to manage your own schedule is what I really like. (Because I like being organised!)

For ISL Year 6 Aimée, whose exhibit was based on UN SDG 14, Life Below Water, the most exciting part of the experience was the prospect of inspiring her audience to make a difference.

How did you feel as all the Year 6s waited for the exhibit evening to begin?

Aimée: The Year 6s were really excited about the event and a bit stressed, but really were enjoying the moment.

Francesca: I felt nervous and excited. But I also felt shivers of worry because presenting in front of maybe more than ten people had never happened that much in my life. It had happened but not multiple times in one evening, as what happened during the PYP Exhibition. 

The commitment and effort displayed by the Year 6s throughout the PYP journey was rewarded by the enthusiasm and interest of their exhibit audiences.

What were some of the reactions that your exhibits received?

Francesca: A lot of comments were shared, but most of them were: “Good Job!!!” “That was AMAZING!” “How do you know all this stuff?!” “This is so cool!!” “I loved it!!! I loved how you described the percentages and the numbers related to your topic!!” 

What were the highlights of the whole PYPX experience, from start to finish?

Francesca: For me the highlights were that we could research and write our own speech (like we had already done earlier in the year), choose what our action could be, and it was very fun how we got to create anything. We also had extra STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) time which was amazing if we needed to work or create in the ISL STEAM lab.

Time in the International School of Lausanne’s new STEAM lab is always a learning highlight for the primary students.

What have been the key learning experiences for you?

Francesca: During the course of the PYPx, I acquired research skills, communication skills, and you became the most knowledgeable person on your topic that EVER existed. Because with all the research the Y6 teachers make you do, after a while, you might even get bored of it. I remember, when at the beginning of the PYPx, I wanted to start researching SO badly, but when we were in the middle of researching, and when we started researching I had put SO MUCH effort, I noticed I didn’t have anything else to research on. I was actually bored! But all that research was actually worth it, as everyone saw on the PYPx night itself. 

What would be your top 5 tips for the International School of Lausanne Year 6s next year to help them prepare for the PYPX successfully?

Aimée: Take lots of notes, keep track of your work and your portfolio, don’t stress about the time, do your PYPx home learning, learn your speech clearly, enjoy the adventure and the moment of the PYPx because it goes super fast.

Francesca: Take a LOT of notes. Choose your topic wisely so that you are actually engaged in it. (TOP TIP: Don’t choose what your friends choose otherwise, like I said, you might get bored of it but once you start you HAVE to continue). Listen to people that give you feedback and advice. Think about the time wisely so that you won’t have to rush. And finally enjoy those ten weeks which, I promise, will pass in a blur.

International School of Lausanne Year 6, Francesca: “Enjoy those ten weeks, because it will pass in a blur…”

Is there anything else that you would like to say about the 2023 International School of Lausanne PYPx?

Aimée: That it was an amazing night and adventure that everyone enjoyed doing.

Francesca: The PYPx was an amazing adventure to go through even though things do not always go right. But remember: You HAVE to persevere – because trust me, it’s worth it. 

Thank you to Year 6 International School of Lausanne students Aimée, Francesca and Josephine for taking the time to participate in this interview, and congratulations to all the students, teachers and family members who took part and supported the highly successful 2023 PYPx! If you missed the link at the top of the article, then tap here to watch our video production of the learning journey.