I never cease to be amazed by how much young people learn from being part of a busy school. You’ve only just caught your breath from one eye-opening activity and the next one arrives to sweep you off your feet! That level of vibrancy – as long as it is done well – really can have a positive impact on a child’s understanding of the world in all its diverse, colourful, awe-inspiring glory.
Take the spell from 5 to 19 February at Regents, for example. Over the course of those two weeks, we began by celebrating Chinese and Korean New Year: all 550 Early Primary and Primary School students, resplendent in their intricate Korean and Chinese costumes of red and gold, paraded behind a band of drummers and a fearsome dragon and learnt about this important festival.
International Day at Regents was a colourful festival.
Within days, the Primary students had moved on to ‘Round Square Week’, when as a school we demonstrate our ongoing commitment to global citizenship and the six ‘IDEALS’ of Internationalism, Democracy, Environmental Awareness, Adventure, Leadership and Service. The range of activities our students took part in that week is too great to mention them all. Suffice to say, it included several residential trips for the children: for example, learning about elephant conservation at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai; taking part in sea life conservation on Koh Tao; and working with the local community on Koh Phi Phi. Those students who stayed closer to home chose to learn scuba diving, honed their photography and computer animation skills, gave up their time and energy to share theatre skills with children at a school for the blind, learnt dextrous ‘circus skills’ and much, much more.
Meanwhile, that same week an intrepid group of 20 Secondary School students headed from Pattaya to Tanzania to take part in the week-long Global Campus Worldwide – a unique initiative which brings together students from across the 42 Nord Anglia Education Schools around the globe. There they were exposed to a new culture and way of life, shared experiences with individuals from very different backgrounds, and came home to international school with a wealth of new insights and perspectives.
A sense of adventure – Mermaid’s Dive Centre in Pattaya helped Regents to create a memorable ‘Bubble Makers’ experience.
And then we all reached Friday 12 February and our annual International Day, when our community of 1100 students and hundreds of parents and staff come together to celebrate the school’s diversity and global outlook. The campus was awash with scores of national costumes, there was singing in several languages, a swirl of colourful dancing on stage and a delicious range of delicacies on offer from around the world.
All this on top of ‘normal’ teaching, home learning and examination preparation. That’s what I mean about being swept off your feet at a school like Regents! I know what some might say. It’s just precious time away from learning maths, science and English, isn’t it? No, it really isn’t. The days when young people could simple waive a certificate in front of a university admissions registrar or employer and expect to prosper are long gone. More than ever, if this generation wishes to have a bright future, they are going to have to be able to demonstrate they possess attributes like leadership, teamwork, self-sufficiency and cultural sensitivity; the best leaders will be those who have vision and the ability to inspire through actions and words those around them.