Whether or not you are familiar with the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, you may be wondering what makes IB special and why some public and private elementary schools are adopting the IB philosophy. The IB is the world’s fastest growing curriculum and our Primary Years IB program provides a globally-focused, inquiry-based learning experience to promote the development of the ‘whole child’. At Seneca Academy, one of the core reasons we pursued becoming an authorized IB school is that our vision for our students matches well with what the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) calls being “international-minded” or the IB learner profile.
IB learners strive to be:
- Inquirers: Students develop their natural curiosity.
- Knowledgeable: Students explore concepts, ideas and issues that have both a local and global significance.
- Thinkers: Students think critically to engage themselves in figuring out complex problems.
- Communicators: Students express themselves and information through a variety of modes of communication.
- Principled: Students act honestly and with a strong sense of fairness, justice, and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups, and communities.
- Open-minded: Students appreciate their own cultures and personal histories and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities.
- Caring: Students show respect and compassion towards the needs of others.
- Risk-takers: Students approach unfamiliar situations with courage, as well as defend their beliefs.
- Balanced: Students understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being.
- Reflective: Students give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience.
These attributes serve as the focus of an IB education. They also address the call from universities and employers for candidates who have more than just “book smarts,” but who have the interpersonal and thinking skills that allow them to work effectively with others.
In our increasingly globalized world, where critical thinking skills and intercultural understanding is so desperately needed, promoting international-mindedness is essential. An IB education isn’t just for some children—all children can benefit from an education focused on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom.
The beauty of these attributes is that they can be fostered in anyone; even our youngest students can understand these concepts. By starting our children early on the path to international-mindedness, we can give them an advantage as they become citizens of the world.