By Brooke Chenoweth
From new openings to campus expansions to the latest curriculum trends, there’s always plenty of developments in the city’s education offerings. Here we give you an update on what’s been going on.
The Juilliard School, New York, is known as the world’s best performing arts university, and now students at Nord Anglia International will have access to it through an exciting new collaboration between the two schools.
Launched in June with a music concert featuring piano duo (and Juilliard alumni) Anderson and Roe as well as students, the Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme is a new arts curriculum developed by specialists from Juilliard. The curriculum is also supported by Juilliard alumni and artists, bringing their talents and expertise to the programme. Principal Brian Cooklin says, “The Juilliard School shares our vision for the value of the performing arts to society, and we strongly believe the curriculum will equip our pupils with the skills needed to excel in their future careers.”
Something for everyone
With music being available as a subject to all students at NAIS, the new curriculum has been designed with students of all abilities and interests in mind – not just those with a passion for musical performance or the ability to play an instrument. Through this collaboration, the school aims to nurture cultural literacy and develop the skills and confidence in students that come through learning a creative discipline. Nord Anglia is the only school in Hong Kong to offer this curriculum.
Nord Anglia International School is at 11 On Tin Street, Lam Tin
Today’s kids not only have access to far more technology than we ever did, they’re super tech-savvy and leading the way towards a digital future. We spoke to the CDNIS’s Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies Dr John Turner about how they’re keeping up with the demand for digital learning.
What is digital learning, in a nutshell?
It’s using digital tools to advance learning opportunities that can reach all students in authentic and progressive ways. At CDNIS this is done through a Digital Learning Infusion (DLI) approach. This has built up over more than 10 years to an integrated K-12 approach that is adaptable to take in new learning in line with changing technologies.
How is it incorporated into the curriculum at CDNIS?
Every student from Grade 4 onwards has their own digital personal learning device. At CDNIS this is a MacBook, which allows learning inquiries to be undertaken when needed. These devices enable every student to create multimedia presentations and other digital products. Finally, all students blog their learning journey in conjunction with the use of Google Education Apps as classroom productivity tools. Starting in 2015, all Grade 1 students now have an iPad. This includes EasyBlog for students to learn to blog in secured ways to share their learning with their teacher and family. This will be extended to Grade 2 in August 2016 and Grade 3 twelve months later, so that the approach will connect Grade 1 through to Grade 12. Teachers are also involved as digital content providers and users, with all lower school class teachers blogging, and Chinese teachers using digital books created in school. These are also available at home to help extend the classroom.
Why is it so important for students to develop these skills?
Feedback from universities is that we cannot assume that students will develop required study and learning approaches just through exposure to digital technologies that have become an increasing part of their lives. At CDNIS this means we have a targeted Digital Literacy curriculum to help prepare students as learners for the Digital Age. The curriculum builds skills in planning, adapting, organising information, making, problem solving and connecting with fellow learners.
The Canadian International School of Hong Kong is at 36 Nam Long Shan Road, Aberdeen
More and more people are talking about the concept of mindfulness, and schools are no exception. We spoke to Joanna Hotung, founder of Mills International Preschool, about how she and her team are shaping the minds of their students with their MindUP curriculum.
What is MindUP?
It’s a teaching philosophy that is fully integrated into the regular school curriculum. It guides children, through regular practice and participation, in how to be calm, regulate emotions, make good choices, and develop focus and concentration on the particular task at hand.
How do the children respond to this way of teaching?
Children always respond with interest and attention as the tools, resources and games related to MindUP are fun, developmentally appropriate, and engaging. When the concepts are applied consistently over time, the children are able to incorporate them naturally themselves without reminders from the teachers.
How is it integrated into normal lessons at Mills?
Each morning after the children are gathered together, the teacher rings a chime and asks students to remain completely silent while they can hear the tone still vibrating in the air. Because the chimes we use can resonate for up to 20 or 30 seconds, the children actively focus on listening to the sound for an extended period of time. This calms them at the beginning of the day for what is to come. The chime may also be used during the course of the day when children are going from a fast-paced activity like PE to a quieter one like reading. Other techniques include distraction props, such as water bottles full of sparkles that the teacher shakes and passes to a child who is disrupting the class for some reason. The child holds the water bottle and watches the swirling sparkles until they all settle at the bottom of the bottle. By the time they have settled, the child is usually calm and has forgotten what was bothering them earlier.
Mills International Preschool is at The Spectacle, 8 Cho Yuen Street, Yau Tong, Kowloon
STAMFORD AMERICAN SCHOOL HONG KONG
Opening in September 2017, Stamford will offer an American curriculum combined with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program* for ages five to 18. Highlights will include a problem-based STEMInn (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Innovation) Program and a World Language Program, with daily Mandarin or Spanish. (*Stamford will apply to the IB for programme candidacy in October 2018; the opening of the school is subject to approval of the provisional school registration by the Education Bureau.)
FAIRCHILD JUNIOR ACADEMY (FJA)
Based in the Park Commercial Centre, Tin Hau, FJA opened in February this year. It offers inquiry-based programmes with a focus on play, for children aged six months to four years. Holiday camps, after-school programmes and regular parent/caregiver workshops provide additional experiences. Meanwhile, Fairchild Kindergarten, located in Sai Ying Pun, is currently in development and will offer classes for ages two to six years; it hopes to open in late September 2016 pending approval from the Education Bureau.
SAFARI KID INTERNATIONAL NURSERY
Set to open its first HK day-care centre in Happy Valley inSeptember 2016*, Safari Kid will offer unaccompanied programmes for ages one to 2.5 years, with a ratio of one caregiver to three children (maximum capacity: 13 children). Staff will work with parents to customise each child’s routine, from feeds to nap times. Equipment and resources are imported directly from the UK, and facilities include indoor and outdoor activity areas. Parents can choose from full-day, half-day and twohour programmes, and the nursery is planning hourly babysitting and play sessions for short drop-offs. (*Safari Kid will begin to take enrolments once it receives a childcare centre license from the Social Welfare Department.)
Open for applications in September 2016 for admissions in 2018, Malvern will offer the IB curriculum, and will initially open for Years 1 to 9, eventually become a through-train school all the way to Year 13. The school will draw upon its 150-year British independent school heritage, and the majority of places will be offered to students with an international background. A new state-of-the-art campus is being built next to the Hong Kong Science Park and Tolo Harbour, easily accessible by road and rail. Watch Malvern’s Facebook page for details on parent information sessions.
AMERICAN SCHOOL HONG KONG (ASHK)
ASHK is a Kindergarten to Grade 12 nonprofit, college preparatory school offering a holistic education taught by qualified North American teachers. Opening in Tai Po in August 2016, it will offer the US Common Core with IB Diploma Program, a STEAM focus, daily Chinese programme and more, plus a global programme partnering with ASHK’s sister schools in Esol Education. The school is currently accepting applications for Grades K-8 (ages five to 13).
This article first appeared in the Aug/Sep edition of Expat Living magazine.
Find out more about schools in Hong Kong.