IB Spotlight

Why start IB in Junior Kindergarten?

Lower Division teachers Kelly Bicknell and Rachel Fruchey

Kelly Bicknell and Rachel Fruchey are Junior Kindergarten teachers at the Lower Division. When asked this question, Miss. Bicknell stated, “Starting the IB programme in Junior Kindergarten sets the framework for learning at an early age.” Mrs. Fruchey added “It allows students to think independently and drive their own learning.” At present, Notre Dame is the only Catholic school in Michigan and one of two in the country who offer an IB education JK-12.  Miss. Bicknell has been teaching at Notre Dame since 2007. The school became an International Baccalaureate school in 2010.  This gives her the unique perspective of teaching with the traditional and the IB. One of the fears of parents is IB doesn’t allow for play time. Bicknell says her students still have time to play, but the classroom is more challenging than a “play-based” preschool.  The IB program allows children to flourish because they are naturally curious about the world around them.   Our Junior Kindergarten program incorporates inquiry and opened-ended learning activities. This allows for multiple ages in one classroom. These children grow and develop in a way that can only be done through inquiry, which is what makes starting the IB programme at a young age so important.

By Paul Frank
Notre Dame Lower Division IB Coordinator

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