International Baccalaureate for Gifted Students, Ages 3-19

The International Baccalaureate or IB Programme has long been recognized as a rigorous high school curriculum for students who are academically talented. Many gifted students search out high schools that offer this program because they know it is a feather in their cap for admittance to a selective college.

What many people do not realize is that there are also programs available for middle school and elementary school students.

The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB Primary Years Programme (ages 3-12) is the six transdisciplinary themes, which allow students to move beyond the confines of learning within subject areas. The themes are
  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet
In the Middle Years Programme (ages 11-16) students are required to study their mother tongue, a second language, humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education and technology. In the final year of the programme, students also engage in a personal project, which allows them to demonstrate the understandings and skills they have developed throughout the programme.

The Diploma Programme (ages 16-19) is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, students must complete an extended essay; take a theory of knowledge course; and  participate in a creativity, action, service experience.

To become an IB school, teachers and administrators go through special training. Curriculum is taught through a transdisciplinary approach. An emphasis is placed on students
  • learning to ask challenging questions
  • learning how to learn
  • developing a strong sense of their own identity and culture
  • developing the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures
Schools can only offer the IB curriculum if they are approved by the organization. Approval takes time and is explained at IB's website. Once accepted, schools are reevaluated on a set schedule.

There is a search device on the IB website that will allow you to find schools at each level in your area. If you are able to locate a school in your area, you may want to schedule a visit. I highly recommend educating yourself about specific schools and programs years before your child enters that particular level. That way you have time to adequately research and make appropriate decisions.

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