The first Polish-Canadian primary school and kindergarten Maple Bear, belonging to the world’s largest educational network, were ceremoniously opened on September 4th 2023. After an 8-month renovation of the historic building at Stawowa 6 in Katowice, the Maple Bear campus welcomed its first students and their parents.
The 2023/24 school year was inaugurated in the presence of city officials and guests from around the world.
Honorary guests included Rodney Briggs, the legendary co-founder of Maple Bear schools from Canada, and Vice Mayor of Katowice, Jerzy Woźniak. Canadian Ambassador Catherine Godin participated in the ceremony virtually; guests were able to listen to the ambassador’s speech through an online broadcast. All the pupils of Maple Bear Katowice were welcomed on stage by an international team of educators. Local Silesian elements were not forgotten either: along with wishes for success in the new school year, all children received traditional “tyty”.
The school in Katowice is the first Polish institution of Maple Bear, the largest and fastest-growing educational network in the world, which currently operates more than 580 schools in 39 countries worldwide. Maple Bear schools share with the world the best of Canadian education, offering a bilingual methodology and teaching strategy that combines the Canadian and national curriculum. The schools operate in accordance with local education regulations, and students completing their education receive both Polish and Canadian certificates.
The start of the school year in the Katowice school and kindergarten was also the start of the Polish Maple Bear school network. Additional schools are already being established in Wrocław and Poznań (planned opening in September 2024). Maple Bear will also construct a modern school building in Warsaw. A school in Krakow will also be established in due course.
Rodney Briggs, the creator of Maple Bear, said:
“The curriculum at Maple Bear has been carefully designed to support and nurture the development of each child, encompassing their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth. Our goal is to equip children with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We are fully committed to delivering exceptional Canadian education to the children of Katowice while expanding our network of schools, all while maintaining high educational standards in Poland. Our aim is to provide as many children in Poland and Central-Eastern Europe as possible with the benefits of excellent bilingual education.”
Canadian education consistently ranks among the top five countries globally and at the top among English-speaking nations, evidenced by the PISA rankings, which stands for the Programme for International Student Assessment by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Maple Bear is an export product of Canadian education, bringing the best practices and proven teaching methods of Canadian pedagogy to local markets, effectively blending them with local curriculum requirements.
Grzegorz Esz, the CEO of Maple Bear Schools Poland, emphasizes:
“Polish-Canadian Maple Bear schools bring a new quality of education to the Polish educational market, where children are at the center of attention, and the curriculum solidly prepares them from a young age to become responsible global citizens. Our students will learn critical and creative thinking skills from a young age, as these are now considered some of the most essential competencies of the 21st century. To facilitate this, we create a friendly and curiosity-driven environment where making mistakes is a way to learn, and asking questions and seeking answers are highly valued.”
During the inauguration ceremony, Rodney Briggs presented the school with a certificate confirming full compliance with Maple Bear’s requirements and standards. This not only indicates compliance in terms of classroom equipment and the availability of Canadian educational materials but, above all, the quality of education.
The teaching staff at Katowice is as international as in any Canadian school, and their highest competencies are overseen by the Canadian Academic Council, consisting of 200 outstanding Canadian educators. All teachers working in Maple Bear schools regularly enhance their skills and deeply familiarize themselves with the teaching methodology that underpins the global success of Canadian education. In each school and kindergarten class, two teachers work simultaneously. This allows for the implementation of a curriculum tailored to group activities and the educational process based on various thematically focused activity centers.
One of the milestones on which Maple Bear has built its success worldwide is bilingualism. In Polish Maple Bear schools, just like in Maple Bear institutions around the world, early childhood education will be conducted using an immersive approach: teachers conduct classes in English to ensure constant exposure to the most commonly spoken language. In primary school, the program will be delivered in both languages: local curricula, such as Polish literature and history, will be taught in Polish.
English is also the language in which school life unfolds during breaks, meals, and sports activities. Thanks to this, children of different nationalities can find a common language and develop their social and language skills together.
The bilingual primary school and kindergarten Maple Bear in Katowice are in one of the most beautiful historic buildings in the heart of Katowice at Stawowa 6 Street. The renovation and ensuring full compliance with Maple Bear’s global standards took 8 months and cost over 6 million złoty.
Today, the Maple Bear campus consists of a painstakingly restored historic school building, a modern and safe playground, and an additional building with two gymnasiums. All of this in the heart of Katowice!
As part of the tuition, the school provides a complete set of textbooks and exercise materials necessary for implementing the curriculum, both in the English and Polish parts, as well as 3 additional extracurricular activities per week. Parents will also have the option to choose additional activities and take advantage of organized school bus transportation for their children.