Last Monday, we attended the grand opening of the new Beanstalk International Bilingual School (BIBS) campus in Shunyi. The grand opening ceremony was led largely by Director John McBryde, an educator with 25 years of experience as both a director and head of school at five international schools in Asia, including the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) during its growth and development phase. In addition to campus tours, the grand opening included a meet-and-greet with teachers, a cutting of the ribbon ceremony, traditional Chinese performances, and a BBQ.
The new BIBS is best described as a fusion of the east and west, aesthetically combining both traditional and modern Chinese culture with laid back western elements. The result is an immediate comfort level and sense of community, reminiscent at times of a cool and funky coffee shop you might hang out in. Culture and appreciation for design can be felt all throughout the campus whether it’s the vibrant walk-through library with big bean bags for curling up with a book, the student cafés (not cafeterias) with overhead umbrellas, or classrooms with Chinese art and poems painted on the walls; each represents a traditional Chinese character from a story with a corresponding virtue.
Technology is also very much a theme of BIBS’ new campus. The school is equipped with high speed Internet and every elementary student will be given an iPad while middle and high school students will have laptops. Other elements of an international school are also in place from an Olympic sized swimming pool to tennis courts and plans to build a dome. During this period of development, BIBS also plans to focus on quality in its programs, which includes kicking off a dance and drama program.
McBryde sums it up best during his speech: “We’re excited for the opportunities at this campus. This opening is more than a celebration of a beautiful new school – it’s a celebration of the human spirit; to take daring risks and to believe that anything is possible.”
The new campus opens with 160 students and is able to hold a maximum of 600 students from preschool to Grade 12. As of now, about 70 percent of children are Chinese and 30 percent are foreign with a total of 35 nationalities represented. BIBS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is authorized to provide the BIBS high school diploma, the IB Diploma Programme, the Primary Year’s Programme (PYP), and the Middle Year’s Programme (MYP).
Photo: Courtesy of BIBS