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The Value of Language in an IB World School

  • International Baccalaureate World Schools emphasize access to learning second and even third languages.
  • The focus on learning multiple languages goes hand-in-hand with the cross-cultural emphasis of IB education.
  • ISDenver offers the Middle Years Programme and is a Candidate School for the Primary Years Programme

What Is an International Baccalaureate World School?

An international baccalaureate world school, IB school for short, is an educational institution focused on cross-cultural interaction that gives graduates access to colleges and universities worldwide. With roots in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate serves as the guiding force for IB schools worldwide. The IB philosophy aims to develop students into socially aware adults who understand the world around them and seek to make it a better place.

Which Age Groups Can Attend an International Baccalaureate World School?

An IB education can begin as early as three years old for your children. The earlier your child has access to multilingual education, the more efficient the brain is at language acquisition.

  • From age three to age 12 (at ISDenver, K1 - G5) , students enroll in the Primary Years Program (PYP) - we are currently a candidate school for the PYP. The focus at this level is on teaching learners to ask insightful questions and become critical thinkers.
  • For students between 12 and 16 years old, IB learners attend the Middle Years Program (MYP), offered at ISDenver for students in grades 6-8. Instructors work to help teenagers make connections with the world.
  • Young adults can attend IB Diploma Programs (ages 16 - 18) to prepare for college and beyond, or Career Programs if they plan to pursue a program of study for a career.

What Is the Value of Language in an IB World School?

One primary feature of an IB education is learning a second or even a third language to the point of fluency. Teachers often instruct in a second language to encourage students to think about the subject in a new way. This focus on multilingual education and cross-cultural understanding has made IB schools a popular option in the United States as parents seek international opportunities for their students. More than 1,800 IB World Schools operate in the United State, among 7,300 peer schools globally.

What Are the Benefits of a Bilingual Education?

The benefits of bilingual education are well-documented in multiple studies. Students who start learning a second language at a young age demonstrate increased mental flexibility, more efficient use of the brain, and an improved ability to learn a third language. Students who speak more than one language tend to perform better on standardized verbal testing in English. Multilingual students also score better on math and logic skills than students who speak only one language.

Children who speak multiple languages also display improved social, emotional, and interpersonal interaction skills. Many parents seek a multilingual education to give their children a competitive edge in college and career opportunities, but there are other benefits to learning a language other than English. For example, speaking multiple languages helps develop self-confidence, problem-solving skills, mathematical ability, and creativity. Children who speak more than one language may be more sensitive toward other cultures while maintaining a strong sense of personal identity.

What Does the International School of Denver (ISDenver) Offer?

Our program starts with children as young as three-years-old. Our faculty includes native speakers in multiple languages, including French, Chinese, Spanish, and English, who know how to support your children in their learning. Classes are limited to 20 or fewer students, and we offer an IB middle school, a rare option in the area. Sixty-eight percent of our teachers hold advanced degrees. At ISDenver, studies in all subjects are taught in more than one language for maximum immersion.

How Do Young Children Learn Languages at ISDenver?

As an IB World School for Middle School and a candidate school for Primary, ISDenver features a bilingual, immersion-based education for students from pre-K through fifth grade, taking advantage of when students learn new languages most easily. Your child will learn from native speakers teaching in and through language, as opposed to learning from English translations. Our curricula are accredited by the ministries of education in France and Spain and recognized by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), which is affiliated with the China Ministry of Education. While the materials are the same ones used in those countries' classrooms, the curriculums still align with Colorado state standards. Your student will learn to write, read, speak, and listen in English and the target languages from the youngest ages, with the support of our knowledgeable and experienced team of teachers.

An example of the unique learning experiences available at ISDenver is the Chinese program where students learn exclusively from native Mandarin Chinese speakers. For about 90% of the day, our K1 students learn in Chinese. English is progressively added until it is roughly equal with Chinese in grades three through five. In normal years, students participate in an annual Chinese New Year Festival. Fifth graders spend two weeks in China each year with faculty to learn the history of Tiananmen Square and see important symbols of the culture, such as the Great Wall.

The Spanish and French programs have similar opportunities. These unique features make ISDenver’s education so much more than just learning a new language. They equip your student to understand the history, values, and culture of people in other parts of the world.

How Do Older Students Learn Languages at ISDenver?

In grades six through eight, IB students experience the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IB MYP). The learning is project-based in a global context. In addition to teaching languages, the IB philosophy seeks to teach your middle-school-age child how to think, ask informed questions, and support and respect others. Even if your student isn’t bilingual when they begin the MYP, ISDenver can still support their learning as they pick up a second language in addition to English. Graduates of ISDenver go on to attend prestigious high school and college programs locally and worldwide.

How Can I Learn More About ISDenver?

Find out for yourself why more than 500 families have chosen ISDenver and a bilingual, bi-cultural education for their children. Our community represents more than 34 countries, and faculty members have lived and worked in more than 40 countries. Located just five miles from downtown Denver in the Lowry neighborhood, ISDenver is conveniently located for families living and working in the area.

As a parent, you have many things to consider when it comes to your children's education. Maybe you want something completely different for your child. If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional public or private school education for your student, contact us today to give your children access to the path to global citizenship. 


Featured Image: Eszter Szadeczky-Kardoss/Shutterstock



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