There’s always plenty happening at Malvern in Hong Kong, whether you’re one of the very youngest at the preschool or about to graduate from the college. We chat with a teacher at Malvern College Pre-School and a student at Malvern College Hong Kong about outdoor play at the Forest-Beach School and the student-led initiative, the Entrepreneur Society.
# The Great Outdoors
Following a two-year stint in Thailand, British expat EMMA DEAN has joined Malvern College Pre-School (MCPS) as Forest-Beach School Leader at Coronation Circle and Island West. We chatted to her about the wonderful opportunities that Forest-Beach School provides for young learners.
Tell us about the Forest-Beach School environment at MCPS.
It’s great exposing children to the outdoors so they foster a love of nature – a love that lasts a lifetime. In pre-nursery and K1, parents and aunties accompany the younger children to FBS, and, like the children, they also learn about nature and bond with one another. Quite a few dads come too. The parents look forward to FBS as much as the children do!
FBS involves child-led learning, which means we might have an activity planned to go one way, only for the children to go down their own path. We were recently making rattles with shells and sticks, and one boy wanted to change his rattle into a catapult! So I’m working on a catapult this weekend to show the children how to make one next week.
What are some things you enjoy about FBS?
I’m enjoying building relationships and trust with the children and giving them opportunities to ignite their imagination and to learn and experience something new in a safe environment. Each class is different. For water play, one class might love making gutters in the sand, while another just wants to play in the sea! We let them decide where they want to take their learning. It might not be where we anticipated, but that’s OK. I also plan my sessions in conjunction with the class teachers. If one class has been learning about space, we’ll make some rockets on the beach the next week.
What are the key benefits for students and how do these link back to the classroom?
Ultimately, it’s about the children’s confidence and self-esteem. Activities at FBS are broken down into small steps, and children achieve goals at different rates – but they always succeed. For example, if there’s a tree-climbing activity, one child might be worried and need more coaching or modelling; but they will climb the tree and get that sense of achievement that the other children get too.
It also helps with emotional intelligence as it shows children that things can go wrong and that the environment does change. Someone might have built a lovely stone mound, for example, only for it to be knocked over by weather or waves.
In reflection time in the classroom, the children look back at photos from FBS and talk about what they learnt from their time. This helps generate oral literacy. If I can see any opportunities, interests and ideas for teachers to follow up with in class, I’ll provide feedback on those too.
The class teachers are amazing and it’s great to have this collaboration. It’s also great for them to be with their pupils in a different environment. In the classroom setting, children behave differently. At FBS, they often play with different children, and grow friendship groups and build relationships with other children who they share common interests with.
Where in HK do you live, and what do you like to do in your downtime?
I live in Sai Kung and love the outdoors life here – stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, surfing and snorkelling
# Student-led Success
Students from Malvern College Hong Kong (MCHK) are brimming with great ideas – and four of them have now launched a society that allows the school’s budding entrepreneurs to easily share ideas and help bring projects to fruition. We chat with one of the founders, MIGUEL (Upper Sixth).
How did the Entrepreneurship Society come about?
It was co-founded by four Malvern College students – Lyla, James, Ryan and me; we’re all budding entrepreneurs. Several months ago, we each founded our own organisations. Since then, we have vigorously and enthusiastically developed these to where they are today.
I’m the founder of TheYoungStepHK, an organisation that partners with various companies to provide fellow secondary students with internship opportunities. Lyla is the founder of CommuniTeach, which uses the creative arts to teach English to underprivileged children. James is the founder of Hong Kong Student Ventures (HKSV), a non-profit consulting firm that helps charities and businesses increase their impact. And Ryan co-founded CANTO, which is a Web3.0 music and audio streaming service.
Why did you start the Entrepreneurship Society?
While developing our organisations, we often shared with each other how our projects were going. Most importantly, we would ask each other for feedback, insight, ideas and potential solutions for any challenges we faced. The system that we had between the four of us was extremely useful. We could develop our projects with the combined brain power of the four of us, and it also brought us much closer together, bound by our passion for entrepreneurship.
With this in mind, we wanted to establish a similar support system at our school to guide other ambitious students on the first steps of their entrepreneurship journeys. This is how the Entrepreneurship Society came to be.
What’s the overall aim?
It’s all about promoting an entrepreneurial culture within the school. We believe that a fundamental component of entrepreneurship is to channel one’s passions to create impact. So our guiding principle is turning “Passions into Projects”. The Entrepreneurship Society is an immersive and hands-on experience for our budding entrepreneurs: each member conceives an idea for a project or organisation, and works to develop and scale their project, striving to create impact.
At the heart of the Society is interactive learning. Everyone, regardless of age or experience, is encouraged to guide each other through recognising their passions, brainstorming the ways they can use their passion to solve an issue, providing feedback on new ideas, and suggesting solutions to challenges. Every member of the Society has access to helpful resources, including a fund, generously provided by our school, used to invest into eligible projects. Most importantly, each member is surrounded by a diverse community of budding entrepreneurs who are more than willing to provide insight and advice – that’s our proudest selling point.
Who is in the Entrepreneurship Society?
Currently, we consist of 13 budding entrepreneurs, with ages ranging from 12 to 18! They are all in the process of starting their own projects; some focusing on solving mental health issues, some raising awareness for animal welfare, some selling handmade goods, and a variety of other passions. We will continue striving to inspire more ambitious students to become out-of-the-box thinkers, leaders and, ultimately, entrepreneurs.
What do you enjoy about entrepreneurship?
It’s an incredibly rewarding experience – one of the few pursuits in which you are creating something, whether it be a business, NGO or simple project, from nothing. Being able to take an idea and see it materialise into something tangible has been a golden experience for me. But that’s the thing, you don’t just see your idea materialise; instead, you make a tremendous effort to realise your idea – that’s the entrepreneurship process.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2022/23 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.