We go behind the scenes of this forward-thinking school in Aberdeen whose focus on innovation and the future has earned it international status.
Global leader in education
When a school is recognised by the Cambridge University Students’ Union, you know it must be doing something right. In the case of the Canadian International School Hong Kong (CDNIS), this recognition has come in the form of its inclusion in the Innovation 800 report. Published by St. James’s House, in partnership with the Students’ Union, the report lists global leaders in education. CDNIS gained a spot on the back of its “Project Innovate”, which has helped cement its status as one of the most innovative schools in the world.
About Project Innovate
Adopting a model developed by the World Economic Forum, CDNIS launched Project Innovate as a school-wide curriculum focusing on future-ready learning. Lower School Principal Dr Helen Kelly explains that the project sees teachers employing the “C’s” of foundation: core skills, character building, creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration. Students then use these skills as they attempt to solve the world’s problems.
Through hands-on experimental learning and design, says Dr Kelly, students work together using a range of traditional and current tools (and the latest technology) to prototype solutions. Even children as young as five or six years have mastered the techniques. For example, they designed and constructed an outdoor mini-maker space to be used by the school’s youngest learners.
With recognition comes attention. And it’s no surprise that the school receives its fair share of visits by international dignitaries and leaders. In September this year, Sebastian Kurz, Federal Chancellor of Austria, visited CDNIS and was suitably impressed by the commitment to innovation in education. The kids got to show off their digital portfolios and e-book programme, and were given the chance to demonstrate how they use iPad Pros, 3D printers, laser cutters and Virtual Reality headsets as part of their learning.
Despite this recent recognition for its unique educational direction, CDNIS has aimed at a forward-thinking approach for all of its 27 years. “We’ve long been an exceptional school,” says Head of School David Baird. “But our recent drive to instil 21st-century skills into our IB and OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma) curriculums ensures our students are challenged to be creative thinkers, problem solvers and effective communicators – skills they will need to thrive in the future.”
Join a tour
Want to check out the school for yourself? Join one of the regular tours led by a CDNIS Senior Administration Team for prospective parents every Tuesday during the school year. CDNIS caters for pre-reception to Grade 12, with a student body of about 1,800.
See more in our Schools section
This article first appeared in the December/January 2018/19 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.