Living In Hong Kong Schools

Designing a school for the future

By: Melissa Stevens

Classrooms with retractable walls that open onto a central communal area, students conversing seamlessly in two languages and playgrounds with hanging gardens and a plethora of eco projects. When the French International School of Hong Kong opens its new Tseung Kwan O campus in September (2018), it will aim to provide a progressive primary school experience for students both in and out of the classroom.

The school’s existing campuses offer two streams: a French stream that follows the French National Curriculum and an International Stream that follows the English National Curriculum to IGCSE and then International Baccalaureate.

French International School of Hong Kong
International Stream head Ian Clayton

Ian Clayton, head of the school’s International Stream, says the new campus will allow the school to move away from a more traditional school layout and introduce the latest innovations in teaching and technology.

It has also been designed to create a naturally bilingual environment where students can switch effortlessly between English and French.

The concept of open space was integral in the design
The concept of open space was integral in the design

Key features

The idea of a central “agora”, or open space, was seen as key in the new campus design, as was the “villa” concept, Ian says. “Each ‘villa’ contains an entire year group, with five classrooms from both streams, each with retractable walls, opening onto a central communal area,” he explains.

“The areas can be used as traditional classrooms or as flexible spaces when that need arises. The agora gives students and teachers the opportunity to spill over from classrooms and work together not only across classes but across streams and across languages.”

French International School
Student interests will be nutured

Ian says another important aspect of the new campus is the emphasis on green space. The 8,200-square-metre site will have three main playgrounds, classroom-sized hanging gardens, shared terraces on every floor and a botanical garden that will be open to the community.

“We are leading by example with students learning about sustainability through the environment they spend time in,” Ian says. “The campus will have real grass, plants and trees, and will maximise outdoor sheltered space and use of natural daylight.”

Ian says the campus will also nurture the creative and sporting sides of students with dedicated music and art rooms and state-ofthe-art sporting facilities. There will be a gymnasium, swimming pool and 300-seat auditorium.

The new campus in Tseung Kwan O will be the school’s fourth, adding to its Jardine’s Lookout, Chai Wan and Blue Pool Road campuses. The school’s temporary Hung Hom campus will close by the end of 2017. The new campus will be located at 28 Tong Yin Street, Tseung Kwan O. Contact tkocampus@lfis.edu.hk or 2577 6217 for more information. fis.edu.hk/en

This article first appeared in the December/January 2017/18 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.

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