Primary School Principal of Hong Kong Academy, Virginia Hunt, reflects on the new facilities at the school, and its goals for 2018.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your career
I’m in my eleventh year as Primary School Principal at Hong Kong Academy. Prior to that, I was the Early Childhood Assistant Principal at the American School of Dubai. I began my international career opening a school in Frankfurt, Germany and it was such a wonderful experience that I knew I wanted to be a part of international education.
How have students’ needs changed in Hong Kong during the time you’ve worked here?
Children are still children and their developmental needs haven’t changed significantly over the years. But the world our students are growing into has changed. We support our students by creating environments and curriculums that allow for them to think, question and go in search of knowledge and not wait for facts to be taught to them. Technology is no longer kept in a room where students visit once a week, but at their fingertips and integrated into their learning.
You have just installed new “playscapes” for Early Childhood and Primary School students. What was the aim of creating these facilities?
The Early Childhood playscape was designed with play at the centre. It’s a place to develop gross motor skills on the climbing structures and by riding trikes, scooters and wagons, and a place to explore the qualities of sand, mud and the integration of water between the two. It also allows the extension of dramatic play on a grander scale as they replicate life experiences.
Both spaces have organic gardens to allow students to study the plant cycle as they watch plants go from seed to plant with each seasonal harvest. The water collection system requires students to make important decisions about how best to use water as a resource. The aquatic pond and terrariums allow students to study and care for living things first hand by gaining a better understanding of their natural world.
Our Upper Primary playscapes are a place to climb, bounce, balance and create while being social. Our mini football pitch provides an opportunity to play organised sports and create new games.
What are the goals for Hong Kong Academy in 2018?
It’s an exciting time for Hong Kong Academy as we undertake a year-long self-review in preparation for our periodic joint accreditation with the Council of International Schools (CIS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and the International Baccalaureate (IB).
Read more: ‘What’s the best school in Hong Kong?’
This article first appeared in the December/January 2017/18 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.