The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
Millarville Community School offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to students from Kindergarten to Grade 5. For more information about the IBO, please visit their website at www.ibo.org. For more information about the PYP at Millarville Community School, please visit our PYP page or contact,
Millarville Community School has recently celebrated 5 years as an International Baccalaureate World School offering the Primary Years Programme. As well, in May of 2012 our school was reviewed by the IBO team who provided us with feedback on our continuing programme development. During the last five years our staff has attended a variety of professional development sessions in both Canada and the United States and put in countless hours in order to meet the rigour of working with the IB programme at the Primary Years level (Kindergarten through grade five). Millarville being a k-8 school, we maintain the IB approach throughout our Upper School.
Including Millarville there are six such schools in Alberta offering the Primary Years Programme. In Edmonton there are three Separate System (Catholic) Schools, one Public, and in the Okotoks area there is one private school. The history and philosophy of the IB was well explained at a conference in Marrakech in July of 2008 marking the organization’s fortieth anniversary:
This IB education is not only about study skills, cognitive skills and critical thinking skills, it is a preparation to work in a knowledge economy and it also involves character building. I am not going to repeat to you the attributes of the learner profile, attributes that we all, as adult members of the IB community, need to model for our students, but I want to insist on a specific aspect of an IB education, one that is at the core of who we are: this IB education is meant to position students to further the advancement of knowledge in this world by making connections, finding similarities and complementarities, probing contrasts and conflicts not only in their own surroundings but in the global society we live in now. This is where for me, a well taught IB program is at its best when it combines an academic education with a sense of duty, a sense of service as responsible local, national and world citizens.
David B. Hawley, headmaster at the International Atlanta School recently gave a bit of the history of the IB School development:
The idea sprang from the minds of Kurt Hahn and Alec Peterson. Kurt Hahn, a German of Jewish origin who later became a British citizen, was an educator who worked for a negotiated peace toward the end of the First World War. He dedicated his life toward developing a program of education that would contribute to changing:
‘…national and racial prejudices and the causes of war; the preference for watching other people do things rather than doing them oneself; the declines which were affecting youth as a result of the exhausted, disenchanted, and increasingly cynical culture of post-war Europe and America – the decline in physical fitness, in enterprise, in memory and imagination, in skill and care, in self-discipline, and in compassion.’ (*Spahn, Blake: America and the International Baccalaureate).
Kurt Hahn first founded Outward Bound. Later, he partnered with Alec Peterson who was Director of Oxford University’s department of Educational Studies. Peterson was fighting to end the practice of forcing young students to specialize into three narrow academic subjects at an early age.
These two leaders laid the foundation for the depth and breadth of the IB, including the emphasis on inquiry and research, exploring how we know what we know through the Theory of Knowledge course and making “creativity, action and service (CAS)” a requirement of the IB. Today, the IB enjoys a worldwide reputation for university preparation. Students with inquiring minds, international understanding and compassion for others are just what university professors want and what our world needs.