Head of Primary – Welcome

Welcome to Xi’an Liangjiatan International School (XLIS), and thank you for your interest in one of the most attractive and ambitious schools in Xi’an.Greetings, and welcome to Xi’an Liangjiatan International School. My name is Brian Lalor, the primary principal. It is a great honor to be completing my sixth year at XLIS and our second year in our new campus.

If you are new to the XLIS community, you have just entered an environment of inquiry where risk-taking is encouraged and mistakes are celebrated. At XLIS we strive to educate the whole child through a project and play based conceptual curriculum. Our mission is to enable confident, open-minded global citizens through life-long learning and a sense of community. We hope you will enjoy being part of this community.

Our highly qualified teaching team at XLIS comes from a range of different nations. This brings a cultural flavor to our community and allows us to learn best practices from one another. I have always seen teaching as a craft and we truly have some masters here at XLIS. It is the most professional and supportive group of educators I have had the pleasure of working with.

As one of the top international schools in Xi’an, we are committed to offering a student-centered, holistic education to prepare students to pursue a higher education and a successful life.

We encourage you to browse through our website and learn more about XLIS and the Our school has been growing steadily over the past six years, under the leadership of Dr. Liu. In order to support our students and teachers we have developed a very diverse and experienced primary school leadership team. Melissa Biglands has joined us as our early years lead teacher, Kelley Phillips as lower primary lead teacher, Madhuparna Bhattcharyya as our upper primary lead teacher and Julia Fan as our assistant PYP coordinator. Having regular input from these experts has been a huge help to our PYP coordinator Maria Zialcita and myself. Distributing leadership and making team decisions are the cornerstone of our primary school.

To that end, I invite you also to partner with us to achieve our vision – to lead education through innovation and a student-centered and community-driven approach.

Head of Primary

Mr. Brian Lalor

Primary Years Programme (PYP)

The primary school at XLIS is made up of students from three to eleven years old. We use a curriculum framework called The Primary Years Programme (PYP), which is designed around the best of research practices in education.

It is transdisciplinary – meaning the programme strives to balance between traditional stand-alone units and transdisciplinary units. Stand-alone units are usually taught in isolation in the areas of Mathematics, Physical Education or other single subjects. Transdisciplinary units combine different subjects. This way the students make connections in their learning across different disciplines. Each unit, whether it be a stand-alone or transdisciplinary unit contains aspects of Knowledge, Concepts, Approaches to Learning (ATLs), Action and IB Learner Profile attributes. This way our students experience consistency in the program and make connections across disciplines. This continues into middle and high school.

The PYP is concept based – meaning that each unit is based around a central idea. This is a guiding statement that contains concepts the students will be inquiring into. The program is also driven by six key concepts (form, function, connection, causation, perspective, change & responsibility). Each unit’s lines of inquiry are connected to three of these key concepts. 

The PYP is an inquiry-based curriculum – meaning the programme is driven by students’ interests. The students are taught to research information on topics of their interest, within the boundaries of the unit of inquiry. One of the main theories the PYP is based upon is constructivism. Students are taken from their current level or understanding to a new level of understanding at differentiated paces. Differentiation is very important at XLIS and our teachers have received extensive professional development in this area. 

The PYP values play – throughout the programme a high importance is placed on play. Play is what children enjoy most and PYP teachers skillfully guide learning through play. Careful provocations are set up so students can interact with content and concepts through play. 

Assessment in the PYP is based on Understanding by Design – meaning a backward planning approach to assessment is utilized. Each unit’s summative assessment is planned at the start of the unit. Lines of inquiry are formatively assessed throughout the unit and planning is adjusted regularly in accordance to students’ needs. XLIS also uses standardized testing to track our students’ progress. Three times a year our students are assessed in the areas of Mathematics, Reading and Writing.

PYP Links

The primary school at XLIS host many workshops, open days, and collaboration events throughout the year. Please see our PYP links below to find out more information.

Primary Student Handbook

Click the button below to read our XLIS primary handbook.

PYP Newsletters

Click the button below to view our monthly PYP newsletters.

Assembly Schedule

Click on the button below to view our assembly timetable.

Year Long Plans

Click on the button below to view our year long plans.


XLIS provides a non-profit education focsued on enabling confident, open-minded global citizens through life-long learning and a sense of community.


To lead education through innovation and a student-centered, community-driven approach.

Schoolwide Learner Outcomes












The XLIS makerspace is where engineering comes to life in a transdisciplinary manner. Students come to the space to extend their learning into our units of inquiry. This is a space for creating, designing, tinkering and playing.

Students have the opportunity to inquire about our essential elements and science learning outcomes. They learn to write in computer code, build structures, build robots, learn pneumatics, basic CAD drawing, manufacturing, and other aspects of engineering. 

Creativity, design, and play are core values at XLIS. The Makerspace is a place where these values are developed each day.

Reggio Inspired

It is our belief that children are capable, curious, and limitless in their creativity. Having a positive image of the child is at the heart of what we believe.

Our students learn through play at XLIS. We believe play to be the most natural form for our students to learn. This may be carefully constructed play in our ECE where our highly professional teachers teach our learning outcomes through play to project-based learning throughout the PYP.

The environment also pays a large part in our philosophy. It is seen as the third teacher and an important source of learning for our entire school community. Our learning spaces have been designed around the philosophy of inquiry and with the student at the centre. Each of our classrooms is designed with 5 essential spaces (makespace4learning.com). There is a display space, community space, private space, presentation space and virtual space. Students can write on the walls or the desks in order to make their thinking visible.

Primary Student Council


Hearing students’ voices and allowing them to feel that school is a place that belongs to them is of the utmost importance for creating a nourishing learning environment.

Encouraged by the students’ initiative to have a governing body, the school has opened the door for a Primary Student Council. The Council gives students a platform to express their ideas and be able to take action.

Reflecting on the needs of having a government in the community lead P6 students to an extraordinary result. During discussions in the class they reflected on designing a summative assessment task that would promote student agency. They established the objectives and the primary structure of the Student Council at XLIS that would relate to students’ issues, represent them in the community and serve others.

Get In Touch!

Whether you're already in Xi'an or on your way, we're here to help answer your questions!


International Community, Xi’an,
Shaanxi, China, 710119

School Open Hours

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+86 (29) 85915100-8000
+86 (29) 85915100-8001