• International Baccalaureate - International Montessori Schools Brussels

International Baccalaureate Middle Years programme (IB-MYP)
Years 1 to 5  –  11 to 16 years olds

International Baccalaureate

Success depends on self-confidence!

The Middle Years Programme is an authorised program of the International Baccalaureate. Students successfully completing this program receive an IB MYP certificate at the end of Year 5.

The MYP section is housed together with the Diploma Programme section in the beautiful ‘Hof Kleinenberg’ farm which consists of spacious classrooms, state-of-the-art Apple computers, electronic whiteboards, a science laboratory, a library, and an outdoor space used for games, sports, gardening and animal care, all of this in a historic and aesthetical setting.

We find that secondary students thrive well a small-scale educational set-up. The students work in small groups alongside their mentors and specialists who provide individual attention to their needs. They are helped to reflect on their own functioning, work on their strengths and challenges and continue to build on their self-esteem. Thus helping them to become strong people who can make strong decisions for the good of themselves and others.

Fundamental Concepts

Our vision, throughout the school, is to assist children in their development to become independent and self-thinking individuals who work to create a better world for themselves and others.

The IB organisation states it beautifully as to ‘develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world’. Mario Montessori verbalised it in giving to children the appropriate information and experiences so that they recognise the past, learn to understand today’s society and have the possibility to visiualise and contribute to the future. This holistic concept is embodied at International Montessori by valuing and promoting international mindedness, an integrated curriculum, and providing multi-age groupings on a small scale. This approach stimulates the development of empathy, critical thinking, urge to learn and respect for differences.

A positive feeling of self worth

Young adolescents want to explore society while at the same time search for meaning in their life. They need to feel good about themselves and the work they do. This positive feeling of self worth translates into positive behaviour towards the outside world. For this to happen, they need a learning environment with the following criteria:

  • Teachers who serve as personal mentors, who help young adolescents develop by themselves for themselves
  • Specialists that are positive, flexible and open-minded adult role models to share and relate their ideas
  • Individualised programs, which allow students to work at their personal level, versus an average level. Students are then able to move forward at their own pace, whether in a quick or deliberate manner.
  • Small groupings to encourage personal contacts.  This builds team and leadership skills and results in academic excellence.

Formation of identity

The adolescent years mark a radical change in their development.  During this transitional stage they undergo intellectual and physical changes. They are in search of the adult version of themselves and forming their individual identity. It is not inherent, as is commonly believed, for teenagers to be negative or apathetic. But this can be the result when an adolescent is related to in a way not in accordance with their inner developmental needs. We see the integrity of this age, their reflections and their urge to help the world ahead!

Collaborative Community

Respect and responsibility do not develop in a vacuum. A positive psychological environment is created that contains freedoms and logical limits. Students are asked to help each other. The message is that you grow when you can help someone else. The traditional habit of ‘shielding’ your work from others is not practiced. This habit does not help anyone in his or her professional career. In the MYP, students develop skills they need in the future; collaboration, assisting and explaining to others, communicating and so on. These are skills that are essential during and after university life!

Intercultural understanding and multilingualism

All students work on developing their Language A and B and are exposed to additional second languages, thus resulting in many students speaking four languages. Multilingualism and multiculturalism is the way to be at the Montessori school. People speaking several languages have the tools to develop respect and understanding other cultures. By means of interlinking the subjects and practicing critical thinking, they also learn to see life and its many facets from different points of view.

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A dynamic environment

A lot of teenage frustration develops due to the fact that they are ready to become part of society, yet the education system asks them to sit and study segmented and unrelated information. Therefore in order to stimulate motivation and interest, it is important to intertwine and integrate academic learning with work in and for the community. These two components of the program, society and school, are the key to help develop positive and responsible life long learners.

Learning in the real world

Together with the students, opportunities are created in becoming active participants in society. Many of these projects fall under the heading ‘Technology’ and ‘Community and Services’.  Projects change over the years, thus offering a variety of experiences. The objective is to encourage and enable students to:

  • Develop an appreciation for the significance of technology in life, society and the environment
  • Use knowledge, skills and techniques to create quality products, processes and solutions
  • Develop thinking skills involving problem-solving, creativity, and critique through the application of the design cycle
  • Develop respect for others’ viewpoints and appreciate alternative solutions to problems.
  • Develop organisation and communication skills, collaborating skills, leadership techniques, care for others and an attitude of service when the situation requires.

Within the school community:
Students receive first-hand experiences by means of a multitude of services given to the school community.  These services range from catering at school social functions, providing the decoration and catering at the yearly Christmas market, earning money through car washes (and administering the related bookkeeping), organising guided tours and excursions, and caring for and mentoring younger children at holiday camps. These real-world activities all contribute to the student’s development in empathy, communication, team skills and responsibility.

The Middle School children cook lunches regularly; for themselves, for younger students in the school and sometimes also for the parents. Therefore they need to purchase, manage the inventory, and do the necessary financing and related bookkeeping. Meaningful work creates necessary skills and independence.

In the wider world:
Students also interact with the community at large. One of their activities is organising events for the residents of the local retirement home. They initiate music and drama performances, art and craft activities and provide the full organisation of these events. This ‘real life learning’ helps the young adolescence in becoming more and more conscious of the world, they see that in order to become constructive members of society, it is fundamental to act as responsible ‘producers’.

The MYP students take part in ‘Roots and Shoots’ projects. This ecological programme is initated by the Jane Goodall foundation and stimulates youth to identify local problems and do something about it. By each group of young people acting locally, together they make a difference across the globe.

In line with their environmental awareness, the project ‘Rent a Christmas Tree’ is one of the MYP initiatives. They currently grow 40 pine trees that are potted just before Christmas and leased out to families. Instructions and a hand-made Christmas activity book accompany the tree for the children. Once the festive season is over, the trees are collected and returned to the soil.

By living in the heart of Europe, we find ourselves in a unique situation. It allows the students to have excess to policy makers and let their ‘voice’ be heard in the wider context of the European Union by attending conferences and workshops. Thus assisting multicultural awareness and respect in a framework of cultural diversity.

Academic Excellence

The curriculum

Skill-based learning through a solid curriculum gives a wonderful start to a professional future. The curriculum is very thorough and when continued to diploma level, offers an entry in just about any university worldwide.

There are eight subject groups which are strongly related to each other and linked to the ‘real’ world in the following focus: Environments, Health and Social, Community and Service and Human Ingenuity. Concretely it means that with the help of guiding questions, everything that the students see in class is connected to the society in which they live. They can start to understand the world at large and learn to see the connections and interdependencies. Consequently they can find their own place and purpose.

Language A – Mother tongue

Students study their mother tongue or language they know best whilst being abroad at a thorough level. The chosen language can be English or French. Students read, analyse and compare various texts from informal to formal sources.  These range from magazines, newspapers, essays, and literature.  They study grammar, visual communication in films, advertisement, and various periodicals.  They write texts in a variety of styles and learn to perform critical comparisons and synthesis of information. On an oral level, they deliver presentations and speeches with the use of various tools including electronic media.

Language B – Second languages

Speaking second languages is a tool in discovering other cultures, learning about other people and thereby developing respect and enjoyment of diversity. Beside the study of English and French language, Dutch, German and Spanish are on offer as second languages. These are taught in a dynamic and varied way, and are integrated in real life contexts. Students take at least one second language, and depending on their background can take additional languages.

At the foundation level, the students learn to communicate orally and in writing in everyday situations. At the standard level they are exposed to extended speech in books, articles, news and films and expand vocabulary within non-familiar areas. The spoken language becomes fluent and they use all tenses. They become able to express their ideas and opinions.

At the advanced level, students can understand extended speech and texts, both factual and literary. They can express themselves fluently, using a broad vocabulary. And they are able to write clear, well-structured texts using an adapted style and vocabulary. They are able to translate a complex message into their own words and present it, adding their own points of view.

Humanities

Current society becomes a point of departure. Interdisciplinary project work includes human history, geography, philosophy and social sciences. The subjects are integrated thus forming a meaningful whole. Students practice critical and logical thinking based on important academic knowledge. Literature, essays, research documents, presentations and exposition of work are some forms of the visual outcome of the internal processes.

Adolescence love to connect and reflect; they can now think about their own thinking! Amongst other books, Jostein Gaarder`s “Sophie`s World” is one of the student’s favourite.

Mathematics

The course extends from arithmetic knowledge to algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, probability to discrete mathematics. The students deal with all aspects that appear in traditional curricula and additionally are exposed to applied math focusing on the opportunities for real world problem solving. Students learn to use inductive and deductive reasoning when solving problems. They develop mathematical curiosity and abstract, logical and critical thinking skills.

Knowledge and understanding allows students to interpret results, and use mathematical reasoning when solving problems. Students are challenged to recognise patterns and structures, and explain their reasoning. This process supports inquiry-based learning skills. By using mathematical communication with its different forms of representation, students learn to convey their findings and reasoning effectively, both orally and in writing.  Reflection provides the students with an opportunity to look at their processes and evaluate the significance of their findings in connection to real-life contexts.

Overall, mathematics aims for students to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of mathematics as a remarkable cultural and intellectual legacy of humankind, and as a valuable instrument for social and economic change in society.

Sciences: Physics, Chemistry and Biology

The adolescent wants to contribute. Through participation in real work they create a sense of belonging and add value to society. The theory demanded in order to do their work is brought to life in the different subjects, also in the sciences being biology, chemistry and physics.
Science is a discipline in which students are exposed to scientific knowledge and learn to apply it in order to construct scientific explanations of phenomena found around them. Experimental work and investigation is used to develop the logical and critical mind. There is emphasis on the awareness of the ethical, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental implications of the practice and use of science and technology as seen today in society.

Computer sciences

The computer and its applications are discovered through IT lessons and autonomous work. IT is used amongst other things for Internet research, creation of newsletters, creation of websites, presentations, photo work and graphs. The curriculum includes:

  • 
Online safety and recommended best practices
  • 
Understanding of commonly used terms in computing
  • 
File management, both locally and across networks
  • Use of spreadsheets to understand data manipulation and data control
  • Coding in HTML5 and CSS to create personal websites
  • Use of online web publishing applications for students to create personal websites

Arts: Visual and performance

The students discover themselves and build up concentration and self-confidence through the use of different forms of art.

Adolescents need time and place to be expressive and creative. The environment includes dance, music, drama, art, craft, drawing, poetry and creative writing. Modes of self-expression are exhibited through oral presentations, meetings, visual displays, video recording, theatre productions, journaling and interviewing others.

Art classes help develop students artistic creativity as well as an awareness of their talents. Visual art lessons give the students an opportunity to learn about history of art as well as developing practical skills to express themselves and their ideas. They explore through a variety of themes and learn to interpret in an artistic manner.All students play a musical instrument and can choose between violin, piano and guitar. Music specialists give individual or small groups lessons on a weekly basis. Students also form bands and choirs depending on and related to their drama performances and music initiatives.

Physical Education

Sports, gymnastics, circus activities and games allow for individual motor development, skill coordination and team participation.  Its primary aims are to encourage the development of “intelligent performers” and to stimulate students in understanding the importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. A sports committee, made up of MYP students and their sports teacher, establish each academic year five sports that will be played. They also organise sport hall fac

ilities, fields, equipment, transport and parent communication.

The objectives of teaching and learning physical education are:

  • To encourage and enable students to work to their optimal level of physical fitness,
  • To become aware of movement as a creative medium connected to communication and expression,
  • To develop the motor skills necessary to participate successfully in a variety of physical activities,
  • To experience enjoyment and satisfaction through physical activity,
  • 
To develop social skills that demonstrate the importance of teamwork and cooperation in group activities and
  • To learn to reflect upon physical activity in both a local and intercultural context.

Parent Infant Group (0 – 1 years)
Toddler Community (15 months – 3 years)
Children’s House (3 year – 6 years)
Primary Years (6 – 11 years)
International Baccalaureate – Middle Years Programme (11 – 16 years)
International Baccalaureate – Diploma Programme (aged 16 and up)