What is an International Baccalaureate education and how does it benefit your child?

Tuesday, 06 February 2018 15:29
Developing Global Citizens

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is increasingly becoming the reference point in education, because it teaches children how to think more critically and apply knowledge creatively. The IB was originally designed as a global education to promote a more peaceful planet, by developing students to build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect.

When it was created 50 years ago, the IB programme tended to be more for the benefit of children of globe-trotting professionals, who needed mobile school credentials they could bring along from one country to the next. Today, it is embraced by a much broader community of families and schools.  There are now more than 4000 schools educating more than 1 million students in IB programmes worldwide.

I think therefore IB

In a complex and hyper-connected world, IB programmes encourage students to be internationally-minded, while also considering the local context. Moreover, IB programmes are compatible with national curricula and more than 50% of IB World Schools are state-funded.

IB students are taught to think critically and challenge assumptions. They are encouraged to try different approaches to learning and to take responsibility for their own educational progress. IB programmes also inspire students to be active in their communities and to take their learning beyond the classroom.

There are nine schools in Belgium offering the International Baccalaureate, but only one – Antwerp International School (AIS) – offers the full IB continuum of educational programmes, including the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP).

“The aim of all our IB programmes is to develop internationally-minded citizens who recognise a responsibility towards each other and the planet, creating a better and more peaceful world,” says Andreas Koini, who heads the school. “Our entire pedagogical programme is geared toward understanding cultures and reaching out to local communities, by learning the languages, as well as through sports, the arts and events,” he adds.

AIS angle

Debbie, an AIS mother from South Africa with two children in the Middle Years Programme, is convinced her children are getting the best possible education. She notes that the approach is distinctive from classic learning. “It’s a journey and the children have to understand the information and apply it,” says Debbie.

Nao, an AIS mother from Japan with two children in the Primary Years Programme, really appreciates the IB curriculum at AIS as well. She feels that the school teaches the students how to approach a problem and then solve it themselves. She sees her children applying this on a daily basis, which is important for their futures and for a happy, fulfilling life.

The curriculum goes beyond the textbook and classroom, with an emphasis on sports and the arts, as well on becoming active community members, committed to helping others and the environment. “One of the main objectives of the IB programme that we offer is open-mindedness, and that involves exploring the local environment and community,” says Andreas.

Future-ready

Through activities and events at AIS, like International Day, musical productions and a whole host of 50th anniversary celebrations, including the upcoming circus, the students are more aware of what is happening in the world around them. For Debbie, the education her children are receiving is a complete package. Nao adds that “you meet so many people from different cultures and walks of life through the school” and that her children are much more aware of other cultures as a result.

In the final two years of the IB, students follow the Diploma Programme, which is widely respected and recognised by leading universities across the globe. Proficient in at least two languages by the end of the programme, IB graduates are knowledgeable, conscientious and multitalented global citizens, well-prepared for their futures.

AIS 50th Anniversary Celebration

AIS celebrates its 50th anniversary during the 2017-2018 school year, with special events, some of which are open to the public throughout the year.

IB Learner Profile

The IB learner profile is a broad set of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success and which are the key attributes that AIS seeks to instil in its students.

·         Reflective
·         Balanced
·         Risk-takers
·         Caring
·         Open-minded
·         Principled
·         Communicators
·         Thinkers
·         Knowledgeable
·         Inquirers

To learn more about the IB programmes at AIS, contact admissions@a is-antwerp.be.

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