Cypress Elementary strides towards global standards

Cypress Elementary recently took charge in the district and declared its campus an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, taking the first step in aligning our community’s educational practices in Newbury Park with that of the rest of the world.

Under the special IB Primary Years Programme, elementary school students will partake in one hour of foreign language classes a week, with Cypress’ choice of language being Spanish. Additionally, an outdoor learning lab is in the works on campus. It will feature sensory tables, a garden and an amphitheater with seating. These are positive additions to elementary school education that I wish had been popularized sooner and will allow students to gain an array of positive life skills.

According to the IB Primary Programme framework, the program works to “promote inquiry and foster the development of the whole child through a unique ‘transdisciplinary framework,’ meaning that children learn in terms of concepts rather than categorically defined subjects. This helps to deepen student understanding of concepts.” When children are exposed to this style of learning early, it encourages them to continue pursuing the IB style of learning throughout higher education.

Introducing a second language to students as early as transitional kindergarten is extremely beneficial and can only have positive effects. It can help boost memory and critical thinking skills. Ultimately broadening the mind to other cultures can help mend our past mistakes of ignoring the importance of other countries’ ways of life while amplifying our own.

Growing up without learning a second language and having little to no discussion of other cultures in my elementary or middle school education, it seemed to me at times that our American way of life was the only one that mattered and was relevant. However, we are alone in this mindset. As someone who lives with a European, it has been made clear that almost every country besides our own takes learning English and other world languages very seriously from a young age.

Instilling the IB Primary Years Programme in elementary schools, as Cypress has already done, we can pay it back in a way and allow the next generation of children to foster respect and love for our diverse world at an early age.

Though the language acquisition attempt is arguably the largest change in this new IB elementary program, there are many other positive aspects as well. IB attempts to establish a love and desire for learning which will only benefit students in the long run and encourage them to pursue an internationally focused route of education in the future.
More elementary schools in the CVUSD, and in our country as a whole, should take on the title of being an IB school, breaking the cycles of the past and aligning our education system with global standards. Expanding the learning horizons of students and developing an appreciation of the many rich cultures of the world is the first step in defeating the stigma of the ignorant American citizen.