BEPS International School in Brussels adopts MYP

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BEPS International School in Brussels has chosen to adopt the MYP (Middle Years Programme) and is a candidate to become an IB World School. To get some perspective on what this curriculum provides, we talked with the school’s director, Mrs. Pascale Hertay.

What is the biggest advantage the MYP gives to pupils?
The MYP develops each student’s ability to transfer learning to new situations, by focusing on conceptual understandings and how to apply them to different global contexts. It also explicitly focuses on developing 21st century skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration, communication and self-management. These are skills which not only set students on the right track for further academic studies but also for their future careers.

Why did you select the MYP?
We wanted to adopt a rigorous curriculum that not only gives access to universities, but that also supports the approach we offer at BEPS International Primary School. The MYP is built around students becoming responsible for their learning through an inquiry-based approach where different areas of the curriculum are explored in relation to the world around them.

Compared to ‘traditional’ curriculums, in which areas does the MYP enhance the educational experience?
It depends on how the MYP framework is applied. If it is used in a traditional manner, it’s probably just a better version of what we already have. Whilst this is good enough for some schools, at BEPS we see the MYP as a framework to provide a truly enhanced learning experience and develop real world skills and understanding.

We have a focus on helping students develop their learning through project work and independent inquiry. These skills are essential for higher education and future success in life and work.

A great example is our ‘Meet the Professional’ initiative where students get to see real world examples of how their learning in STEAM (STEM+Arts) and Design can be applied in the real world.

How have students and teachers reacted to the MYP?
Everyone has appreciated the freedom this curriculum gives them. The students have enjoyed the group work and have reacted positively to the different approach to the core material in the curriculum. Staff have noted improvements in self-confidence and engagement from the students.

Implementing the MYP was challenging at the beginning as both teachers and students needed to adapt their approach to teaching and learning. The teachers collaborate and enjoy the connections they make with other subjects, while the students develop ownership of their learning. One student said, “It’s like my previous school was just black white and grey, now I feel like I am learning in colour.”

BEPS has a commitment to an iterative approach to the way we teach and prepare our students, and more broadly to school development. We believe that the MYP is a strong base to work from.

What else is important to you at BEPS?
We have the advantage of being family sized school, which means we have a friendly and caring atmosphere that is highly valued by our community. This allows us to support and challenge each student at his/her level. Creating strong relationships between teachers, students and parents is essential to our success.
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