Bashamichi Campus
(Age 2 - Age 3)

Kannai Campus
(Age 4 - Grade 12)


The IB Learner Profile, but for parents!

Column February 29, 2024

One of the best things about being a teacher is that we are constantly learning. It also makes our job difficult, because we are never done learning. But part of the IB mission is to help develop lifelong learners. We’ve talked about the Learner Profile in reference to our students, and internally in reference to our staff. One area we need to address is how our parents can exemplify the IB Learner Profile, both to help model its development in their children and to help contribute to our growing CGK community.

The IB Learner Profile has 10 attributes that help learners to be- reflective, thinkers, risk-takers, inquirers, balanced, caring, open-minded, knowledgeable, communicators, and principled. Part of our curriculum is intentionally helping our students to develop those attributes, through planned learning experiences as well as when spontaneously appropriate. In line with this approach and committing to fostering lifelong learning for all members of our school community, we would like to focus on key attributes for parents and how they can use those traits to support CGK and their child.

While all traits of the Learner Profile are helpful, the key ones for parents are to be communicators, risk-takers, balanced, inquirers, and open-minded.


As parents we naturally have questions and sometimes concerns about what is happening at school. This is never a bad thing. A parent’s most important job is advocating for their child’s health, safety, and well-being. When parent’s entrust their child to us, we understand the importance of that relationship and how critical the school years are to a person’s development. So while we all want what’s best for our children/students, sometimes we have different perspectives about what that is, or what is happening at school (or at home). The reality is that our children also sometimes mislead us, at a certain age intentionally but also just because they get confused themselves. Therefore one of the most important things a parent can do is to ask the school if there is something they have a question about, something they are concerned about, or something they are unhappy about. One thing that DOES NOT help is talking to only children (possibly reinforcing misinformation) or talking to other parents (possibly spreading misinformation). While of course we hope that parents build relationships and can discuss their children with each other, it is inevitable that if parents are upset and talk to each other instead of to the school then things can be misunderstood and trust broken when it shouldn’t have been. So in order to be good Communicators, we request that parents contact the school whenever they have questions and/or concerns. You can message your child’s teacher through app, call the office, or schedule a PTC. We will also continue to try to improve our communication with the CGK community.


Being a risk-taker can be a difficult concept for some people. This does not mean doing dangerous things, or making choices that negatively impact our health, growth, and safety. It does mean trying new things, and sometimes trusting the process when we can’t quite see the end product. Every family at CGK embodies this trait to a degree as we are an IB PYP candidate school and were founded with a mission that is not typical in Japan. The main way that we ask parents to be Risk-takers is by continuing to trust us when we follow educational practices that might be different from what they experienced or are familiar with. We always strive to follow the best practices, and this means we will always take risks in order to improve learning at CGK. We ask that parents continue to be Risk-takers by trusting the process and our talented teachers.


It is so important that we focus not only on our children’s academic development, but on their personal growth, social skills, and physical health. When you want the best for your child and are helping them to plan for future academic and career success, it can be easy to think that we need to push them in academics so they can excel. But making sure they have time to rest, sleep, play, and connect with their friends and family is equally important. This is where being Balanced comes into play. Parents can help their kids be Balanced by ensuring a good night’s sleep, a healthy diet, and time to play and be bored. Parents can also model being Balanced by not only focusing on academic success, but connecting with their child’s interests in other areas, playing with them, and going on outings that have nothing to do with school. Not only will practicing being Balanced result in happier children, it actually helps learning by allowing their brains to rest and rejuvenate.


Kids love asking questions. It’s what makes our jobs as teachers and parents so fun, and exhausting! It’s important that adults continue asking questions and seeking out new information. At CGK we are doing new things and trying new approaches. Not all of it will be super clear or make sense to those outside the staff. But we want parents to understand what we’re doing and why. So parents need to be Inquirers. If there is something you don’t understand, or are unsure of, please ask! Join an IB information session. Message your child’s teacher. Research IB online. We are not trying to keep anything secret, but it’s hard for us to answer questions that are not asked. We might think everything is clear until you let us know you are confused. And as you’ve probably already heard, IB teachers love questions! That includes from parents!


We know we are doing things differently than you might expect. We know that teaching without textbooks, tons of worksheets, and hours of homework might seem like we’re not doing much. The IB framework is based on inquiry and the relatively new understanding that children create their own knowledge based on previous understandings and new experiences. This is called constructivism and calls for a different approach to teaching and learning than the one most of us are familiar with. We are also an international school, welcoming families from all over the world and from different cultures, religions, and approaches to life. This all requires that parents remain Open-minded to new approaches and new ideas. It doesn’t mean you have to abandon your principles or the things that matter to you. But it does mean that you need to understand there are other ways of doing things that might also be right.

We appreciate all the members of our CGK community, students, teachers, and families. We are all lifelong learners, and we hope you will continue to work with us towards creating the best school community possible. Developing the traits of the Learner Profile is one important step towards that goal!

Author Profile

Darby  -  Elementary Principal & IB PYP Coordinator  (USA)us

Elementary Principal and IB PYP Coordinator of CGK International School. From New York, America with Master's Degree in Education.
A graduate of the International Baccalaureate (IB) DP herself, she has been passionate about teaching children and IB education for over 30 years.

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