EVERY child begins journey through life with an incredible potential: a creative mentality that approaches the world with curiosity, questions and with a desire to learn about the world and themselves through a play. This mentality is often eroded or even erased by conventional educational practices when young children enter school.
As one of the greatest influencers on a child’s development, early education is of critical importance; how a child learns about the world will ultimately impact his or her place in it. With this in mind, parents are, understandably, keen to place their child in an ideal environment for his or her bright future. So, finding the right educational programme for your primary school-age child can be daunting, particularly in Dhaka, with its multitude of options, but it is a vital task for every parent.
In Dhaka, a growing number of families want to send their children abroad for higher education. For this reason, they want their children to study in a school that will keep pace with global learning and maintains an international benchmark of quality education. Such internationalisation is leading a higher demand for international early-years education that will support children in becoming global citizens.
These children are the future, and when they are given the right tools to learn and explore different aspects of knowledge, they can make the world a better and happier place to live in. International baccalaureate is internationally renowned and recognised by universities worldwide. IB schools undergo a strict accreditation process, so parents can be assured that the quality of education their children are receiving is one that has been thorough.
The IB programme is a system of education where a more holistic approach is taken towards a child’s well-being and overall development. It offers four educational programmes: primary years programme, middle years programme, diploma programme and career-related programme.
At the heart of PYP is inquiry-based learning. Catering to students aged 2–12, the programme aims to do more than other curricula — by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and carrying young people who are motivated to succeed. The PYP is a not a worksheet-based curriculum, nor is it a rote-learning approach. The children develop a deep understanding of content and how to make their ideas heard. Learning is tailored to each child’s needs to ensure that they are continually being encouraged in a fun, engaging way.
In the PYP, children are facilitated to become agents of their own learning to encourage understanding and foster a lifelong love of learning. Teachers always try to find different educational topics that will hold the interest of the children through engagement and the learners tend to go further and perform better. International research demonstrates that children who spend more time learning through play in their formative years perform better in the upper primary and secondary years. Play is the vehicle to scaffold children’s learning, to drive children’s curiosity and to help challenge children.
As an international programme, the IB also seeks to instil in children an awareness of and interest in the world and its people. It strives to develop students who will build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect. Children are encouraged to appreciate themselves and each other. They celebrate these differences to ensure that children do not lose their sense of identity. Identity is a very personal construct; only when that is acknowledged, do we make peace with it, embrace our own differences and accept the differences in others. In differences, we are the same.
With such efforts to aid children’s personal, social and academic growth embedded in the IB programme, it can act as a solid foundation as children move into secondary and even tertiary education. The PYP prepares students for the MYP through its concept-driven, transdisciplinary approach. As the students move from primary to middle-years education, they benefit from the IB’s consistent educational philosophy. The MYP shares the PYP’s commitment to learning through inquiry and continues to develop attributes of the IB learner profile. Careful alignment between the programmes helps students flourish personally and academically as they enter the world of early adolescence.
Children’s brains are influenced by our environment from a time before birth. In the early years of education, children’s brains show an extraordinary level of neuroplasticity, the ability for the brain to shape itself to stimulus. IB encourages children to think critically and challenge assumptions, and use complex, real-life examples to teach knowledge and skills. IB encourages children to embrace their potential and the future. The IB experience is not just a way to learn; it is a way of life and, for more than one million students each year, the way to a better, more peaceful world.
Vivian Huizenga is primary counsellor at the International School Dhaka.
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