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Renowned program expands at Christ the King

IB grows at CTK
Posted on 08/28/2019
laura and marta

Last spring Laura Mills came upon two young boys in the playground at Christ the King Catholic Elementary School who were down on the ground, staring intently at a bee that had landed upon a dandelion.

“What are you wondering about?” the vice-principal asked the two students.

Not the standard query that an educator might ask of her students, but it’s one that speaks to the inquiry based culture that’s being cultivated at the school ever since the launch of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) there.

Established in 1968, International Baccalaureate programs aim to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who are motivated to succeed by offering specific programs geared to students in certain stages of their development. Schools must be authorized to deliver IB programs and currently, more than 4,000 schools around the world are established as IB schools.

WECDSB is an IB leader in the region, with programs established at five of its schools.

The PYP program at Christ the King – still in its candidacy stage, meaning the school is working to meet all the necessary requirements to become a full-fledged IB school – was launched last year for students in JK to Grade 3, making it the first primary years program in Windsor-Essex.

This year, it’s been expanded to include students in Grades 4-6 at the French Immersion school, with more teachers being trained to implement the world class pedagogical system.

“As the year progressed the teachers became more and more confident,” said Marta Marazita, the school’s principal. “The teachers have changed their practice to instill a greater love of learning, and as a result, the students are becoming more inquisitive and engaged.”

Inquisitiveness is just one of the many learner profile attributes that the IB program promotes. It also aims to develop key qualities students can live by through molding them in to knowledgeable, caring, principled, reflective and open-minded communicators.

A key method of developing these attributes comes through “provocations” – simple thought-provoking questions like the one Mills asked of those boys gazing at a bee, which help develop a sense of wonderment about the world around them.

“We’re trying to make students curious about their learning,” explained Mills. “Instead of just feeding them knowledge and information, we’re trying to give them a sense of ownership of their education. That makes them more passionate about learning.”

Word of the program’s success is getting around, according to Marazita. Enrolment at the school has expanded dramatically in the last couple of years. In fact, she said, one family that had planned to move out of province decided to remain in Windsor because they couldn’t find another school that offered the same kind of programming for their children as Christ the King.

“I recently had eight walk-ins and a number of them came specifically because of the IB program,” she said. “I think parents are just pleased that they have a variety of really good quality opportunities for their children here.”

Those students in the PYP have the opportunity to remain in the IB continuum after they finish Grade 6 by going to Assumption College Catholic Middle School, which offers an IB Middle Years Program.

 

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