By now, you know that Chatsworth Hills Academy is thrilled to be the only only school in the San Fernando Valley that has been accepted as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for primary and middle school by the IB Organization. While the IB philosophy is incorporated into our CHA mission, we thought knowing a little more about the background of IB and how it came into existence might help everyone understand our excitement and the benefits that our young learners have in participating in this educational model. Since its inception in 1968, the IB program has expanded to both public and private schools around the world and now offers a total of four programs: the IB Primary Years Program for children aged 3 to 12; the IB Middle Years Program for students aged 11 to 14; the IB Diploma Program and IB Career-related Program for students aged 15 to 18.
What is the International Baccalaureate?
The International Baccalaureate 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 programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
The Foundations Of IB
The principles from which the IB programs originate are gleaned from some of the greatest thinkers and educators in the world. American philosopher John Dewey brought forth the importance of tapping into students’ natural curiosity. A. S. Neil, a progressive Scottish educator, noted the importance of students developing in an environment of personal freedom, free of constraints. The famous psychologist and philosopher Jean Piaget learned that academic intelligence develops in children through a cognitive cycle. And the break-through notion that students become better problem-solvers when they learn by doing and self-discovery of information was touted by American psychologist Jerome Bruner. In 1948, Marie-Thérèse Maurette, a Geneva educator, wrote “Educational Techniques for peace. Do they exist?”. Little did she know then that it would also be included as the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Program. All of these important philosophies and researched-based discoveries helped give inspiration to the group of educators who eventually formed the IB organization.
The Formal IB Organization
In 1962, a group of social studies teachers convened during the International Schools Association conference in Geneva. They created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which would later become the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and then the International Baccalaureate (IB). In the years leading up to the IB’s official registration in 1968, educators including Alex Peterson, Robert Leach, John Goormaghtigh, and Kurt Hahn developed the philosophy, structure, and content of the IB Diploma Program. They laid the framework for an educational program, pioneering the progressive educational reform trends of the time, which moved education from a teacher-centered, rote memorization platform to a student-centered, inquiry-based platform as illustrated in the chart below.
Education trends (by the 1960s)
Source: The History of the IB, International Baccalaureate Organization 2017
German educator Kurt Hahn founded the Atlantic College in Wales in 1962. His theory of “Outward Bound” and the Four Pillars inspired the Creativity, Active, Service (CAS) portions of of the IB.
- physical fitness
- expedition of challenge and adventure
- project to develop self-reliance and self-discipline
- sense of compassion through service
“There is more to us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.” — Kurt Hahn
John Goormaghtigh is a Belgian lawyer who was an instrumental administrator of the IB World School from before its formal beginnings until 1980, devoting countless years of service as:
- Treasurer, International Schools Association (1957 – 1962)
- Chair, Board of the International School of Geneva (1960 – 1966)
- President , International Schools Examination Syndicate (1965 – 1967)
- President, IB Council of Foundation (1968 – 1980)
Bob Leach was the organizer of the 1962 conference where the term “International Baccalaureate” was first mentioned. Leach developed a contemporary history syllabus and exam, which promoted critical inquiry and this pedagogy was applied to all IB Diploma Program subjects and later to the Middle and Primary Years programs.
Alec Peterson was the dynamic force behind the creation of the IB curriculum. His book “Arts and Science in the Sixth Form” (Oxford Department of Educational Studies, 1960) contained the following ideas that were integrated in the IB curriculum:
- Broader education with some degree of specialization
- Ethics in science
- Humanities specialists ought to know about “the beauty of mathematics”
- Critical analysis and learning to learn rather than to accumulate encyclopedic knowledge and learning through memorization
- Moving from three specialized subjects to four, spread over humanities and sciences
Peterson served as the First Director General of IB and was instrumental in forming the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in 1968.
Located in Geneva, Switzerland, the first IB headquarters focused on providing high schoolers with the IB Diploma Program. The program’s official objective was to “provide an internationally acceptable university admissions qualification suitable for the growing mobile population of young people whose parents were part of the world of diplomacy, international and multinational organizations” by offering standardized courses and assessments for students aged 16 to 19.
In 1970, students at 12 schools from 10 countries, including two state schools in Germany and France, took the first official IB Diploma Program exams. From the 1970s through the 1980’s, recognition of the IB programs was negotiated in many countries, including the United States which housed the IB’s North American Regional Office, opened by Peter Nehr in New York in 1975. In 1986 the IB expanded to other world-regions with the International Baccalaureate Africa, Europe and Middle-East (IBAEM) and International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific (IBAP).
The IB Middle Years Programs (MYP)
Once the IB Diploma Program became established and growing, organizers focused on developing a curriculum and pedagogy that would prepare students to enter that upper-level program. In 1980, educators at the International Schools Association Conference (ISAC) in Tanzania recommended the development of the IB Middle Years Program (MYP). in 1992, IB formally took over responsibility for ISAC. The Middle Years Program (MYP) was first offered in 1994 for students aged 11 – 16 with a focus on the six ‘needs’ listed below and within five years, 51 countries had MYP schools.
Six “Needs” of MYP
The IB Primary Years Program (PYP)
It wasn’t long before discussions began for expanding an international program for young children through primary grades. In 1990 at the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) Conference in Rome, educators discussed the need for such a program and began developing a curriculum around six transdisciplinary themes:
- 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
A Frankfurt ECIS steering committee, led by Kevin Bartlett, started the International Schools’ Curriculum Project (ISCP) ages 3-12. The program was piloted in 1996 in 30 primary schools around the world and the first PYP school was accepted by IB in 1997. Within five years, the PYP grew to 87 schools in 43 countries.
Career-Related Program (CP)
The last program to join the ranks of IB is the IB Career-Related Program which was first offered in 2012. In the early 2000’s, IB determined the need to cultivate a career-related approach to learning. Global trends and the growing need to support vocational and career-related learning spawned the IP Career-Related Program. The program attempts to bring academic and career-related study closer together and broaden the access to an IB education. The pilot program went out around the world in 2010 and officially introduced it to schools in 2012. The CP incorporates the vision and educational principles of the IB into a unique program specifically developed for students who wish to engage in career-related learning. Flexible educational framework allows schools to meet the needs, backgrounds and contexts of students in different geographical areas so that each school is able to create its own distinctive version of the CP.
A Great Place To Start Your IB Education
The IB World program has grown since its inception from 681 diploma exam candidates, estimate of 749 students in 7 schools to the most recent 2016 number which included 161,104 diploma exam candidates, an estimated 1,250,000 students at 4,538 IB World Schools. The phenomenal growth is an indicator of the success of the programs and the acknowledgement by parents, students and staff of the effectiveness of the curriculum in preparing global learners. There’s no better place to start your International Baccalaureate program than Chatsworth Hills Academy. Located on a beautiful 16-acre campus in the San Fernando Valley, CHA is the premier private school in Los Angeles. Find out more about how the IB program will be the perfect fit for your student and family by calling (818) 998-4037 to arrange a tour of our campus. See for yourself what an IB education can do for your child.