As lockdowns ease and schools start to reopen around the world, the focus is now on student wellbeing. As many schools discovered when they transitioned to home learning, staying connected and putting the community first are key to providing a compassionate and supportive environment for pupils.
What will happen when students return to their physical classrooms in the new normal? Fear and uncertainty are expected. Maybe some feelings of disconnection too, between the limited after-school programmes, restrictions on group sizes and wearing of masks.
This is where the school community comes in. To foster wellbeing, teachers and staff must continue to prioritise care and compassion in their teaching and administration. Having a kindness-first approach to education will teach children how to be more caring and help them feel safer and more fulfilled. Here are four international schools in Asia that put wellbeing first:
Singapore’s Dover Court International School is widely known for being a caring and community-orientated school. Students are not just taught the tools for future scholastic success; they also learn about empathy and connection in equal measure. It is a kindness first approach, and it is one that is proving popular among expat families living on the picturesque island.
Fostering a culture of kindness among students is important, where real peer-to-peer and student to teacher connection are made, as it promotes understanding and empathy. At Dover Court International School, creating an environment of real trust and depth within classroom learning allows for individual students to feel valued and their unique individual contributions acknowledged. Positive emotional environments allow for students to learn more efficiently and with greater awareness.
Community and inclusivity have always been a central focus at Dover Court International School, and these qualities are paramount as young children and teens learn to adapt to the “new normal” so to speak. Care in times of uncertainty, an emphasis on kindness towards others, and the strong foundations and perspectives of an international education are a winning combination for the planet’s future.
Teaching the English National Curriculum, Dover Court International School starts their term in August along with other schools in the northern hemisphere, making it an ideal choice for parents wanting to enjoy the long, sun filled days of European and UK summers.
If Dover Court International School sounds like the kind of place your child can thrive, their staff encourage you to arrange a personalised virtual meeting with them here. For admissions and other enquiries, click here.
Jerudong International School (JIS) is a well-established and well-resourced co-educational school in Brunei with more than 1,500 students. As the leading independent school in the country, they offer a British International curriculum with graduates consistently getting accepted to the world’s highest ranking universities.
At JIS, the emphasis on providing an education that develops individuals as a whole rather than solely focusing on their academic grades. Teachers get to know each student to identify how they can maximise their full potential and what they can contribute to the community to make a difference.
Everyone is considered family at Jerudong International School with their strength being built on relationships that embrace diversity — this encourages students to listen with empathy and communicate kindly. In a 2019 report for British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspections, it was remarked: “Every student is expected to say ‘good morning’ on the front gate as they enter …. The ethos across the school is calm, caring and respectful ….The school is highly successful in helping students to develop their personal skills and qualities.”
Other key values students are encouraged to achieve are: engagement, leadership, thinking, resilience, and integration. For every action that fulfills these aims, a student gets a “Polio Point”. When a pupil gets a point for each aim, JIS will donate US$1 to UNICEF to help in the global fight to eradicate polio. Find out more at one of their upcoming open days.
Thailand’s first and largest British international school, Bangkok Patana School is a not-for-profit IB world school, accredited by CIS. It is one of the most respected educational establishments in Southeast Asia.
Student welfare is a key priority for the school community here. Their wide range of extra-curricular activities provide a holistic approach to learning to ensure that their students graduate as well-rounded individuals ready for higher education and to positively impact society.
Charlie Golsby, who has been a student at Patana since Year 5, thinks he has developed a lot at this “great school”. He shares, “It helped me settle into living in Thailand and I’ve grown a lot. The school instils a sense of responsibility to not just yourself but to the community at large.”
New teacher Antony Wilson was sold on Patana from his first impressions. “I’ve worked internationally for more than 15 years so I know a well-resourced school when I see one; everything here is very purposeful. I was so impressed by the initial reception where I was greeted with so many smiles and warm welcomes. Even before I looked at the facilities and the grounds that alone was enough to sell me on the school.”
2020 has been a tough year, and Wilson is committed to helping his pupils reach their goals again. He says, “I am looking forward to seeing the kids grow and get their confidence back. It’s been a difficult year for them. I can see they are getting to get back into a bit more normality, you can feel it ebbing back.”
International School Ho Chi Minh City made history as the city’s first international school and IB world school. They pride themselves in genuinely caring for their students by providing them with 10 minutes of mindfulness per day.
By providing daily time for mindfulness, encouraging positive emotions, having social and emotional counsellors and other special services – students are given the support needed to reach their full potential and become independent, self-reliant individuals.
The school has embraced preparing their students for uncertainty by teaching adversity as an opportunity to learn, grow and develop the skills needed to succeed and live a fulfilling life. To help adjust to the “new normal”, students have been given face masks in their house colours and the school’s community has come together to recreate a safe and caring environment with parents and teachers helping to serve food.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International