MONTREAL, AUGUST 30, 2011- – Two elementary schools from the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), Michelangelo in Rivière des Prairies and Carlyle in Town of Mount Royal, begin the 2011-2012 academic year one step closer to formally becoming part of the prestigious International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Programme (IB – PYP).
"The IBO-PYP program addresses the child of the 21st century," said EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. "It engages them in learning and thinking, while constructing knowledge."
Ms. Mancini will be on hand at Michelangelo (9360 5th Street) for the first day of classes on Wednesday, August 31 (11:30 a.m.). She will meet with staff and students and be available for media interviews.
Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Programme (IBO) is designed to develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world through a dynamic, engaging and intellectually stimulating method of teaching. The curriculum has six trans-disciplinary themes that surround six subjects : language, social studies, math, arts, science and technology, and personal, social and physical education. The IBO program encourages a positive attitude to learning by encouraging students to ask challenging questions, to reflect critically, to develop research skills, and to learn how to learn. Students develop international-mindedness and a strong sense of community service and responsibility.
The Primary Years Programme is aimed towards students between the ages of three and 12, in which its emphasis is on the total growth of a developing child. It helps to touch the hearts and minds of students, as well as encompass their social, physical and cultural needs along with fostering strong academic development through an inquiry-based approach Students develop the skills to become life-long learners.
Since the first IBO school was established in 1974, there are currently over 2,200 IBO schools in 127 countries, with 258 IBO schools in Canada and 10 in Montreal. Three EMSB high schools – Marymount Academy in NDG and John Paul I and Laurier Macdonald in St. Léonard – offer the IBO program.
"The IB – PYP is a good pedagogical program, which offers students the best in pedagogical practices," said EMSB Commissioner Rosa Cerrelli. "It helps children to construct knowledge and develop an internationally minded attitude through questioning and investigation of various topics. It offers the best in quality education for students. This is more than just a content-oriented program, it deals with concepts and is an engaging approach to learning. Students will develop skills that will serve them in their pursuit of constructing knowledge and social and international mindedness as they continue their studies. Liz Leaman, the commissioner for Carlyle, points out that children can make the world a better place by the actions they take. “When they become educated, conscientious citizens of the world, they are able to understand and respect our multicultural society and globalization.” says Commissioner Leaman. “That way, they become lifelong learners."
Michelangelo Principal Anna Della Rocca emphasizes that her school has given its students exposure to how encompassing the IB-PYP program can be for them. Guest speakers from many of Montreal’s ethnic and cultural communities have appeared to inform students about their respective cultures and customs; they embarked on several community service projects such as collecting food and other goods for the needy; and they even raised money in 2009-2010 for the organization Free The Children, so that a school can be built in Kenya.
Michelangelo has been raising money to build a well in the same village.
The process for a school to get IBO status is a long, complex one and can last from three to five years. Teachers receive training in order to learn about the IBO program’s philosophy, standards, and how it’s organized and taught. An IB coordinator helps coordinate the framework of the program, its 42 units of inquiry and how the IBO philosophy and inquiry-based approach is used to deliver the curriculum. IBO certification is granted to a school once the visiting committee members from the IBO agree that it has met all the standards and requirements according to the IBO.
Ms. Della Rocca says that Michelangelo School was accepted as a candidate school as of July 1, 2011 and will be working towards becoming a fully authorized IB - PYP in 2012-13. Carlyle Principal Anna-Maria Borsellino hopes to have her school fully authorized by 2013-2014.