We live in a world where adults have to be able to balance a number of competing demands. The need for young people to develop the skills to handle these demands is increasingly important, as is their ability to manage social, technological and academic pressures. Here’s how Australian International School Hong Kong (AISHK) is responding to these challenges.
AISHK psychologist MEG JONES says the school places great emphasis on wellbeing, and tailors aspects of mindfulness to each age group, as part of ensuring students develop the ability to achieve balance in the face of major life stressors.
“I believe strongly in developing children’s inner strengths and capabilities, and accessing all aspects of their potential,” Meg says. “With a mindfulness-based practice, children gain some mastery over their bodies and those big emotions, feelings and sensations that we all experience. It’s quite empowering for a child to realise, ‘I can handle this!’.”
Head of School MARK HEMPHILL is a passionate advocate of broadening the definition of success in school and in life. While AISHK celebrates outstanding academic results by both Hong Kong and Australian standards, Mark is quick to point out that “success differs for every individual”.
“By ensuring we are focused on personal bests and wellbeing, we are educating the whole student, nurturing their academic, social, physical and cultural potential,” he says. “I believe this approach to a well-rounded, balanced education is key in preparing young people for the many opportunities they will encounter in life – rather than just exam results.”
Another of the ways the school, which follows the Australian curriculum, achieves balance is by offering its senior secondary students the option of either the International Baccalaureate Diploma or the New South Wales Higher School Certificate.
Head of Secondary HOWARD WEST says the school has a curriculum balanced with adaptations to best serve a multicultural and internationally-mobile student body. This is increasingly valuable as universities around the world are looking at more than entrance scores alone when assessing applicants.
“Our emphasis on balance is a key feature of our school and will provide our students with greater opportunities to gain entry into their universities of choice,” he says.
Work and play
Perhaps one of the most important balances in life is applicable to all of us – that of work and play – “Having fun is one of our priorities!” says Mark. Recently, the school embraced this sense of fun, with primary and secondary students and all staff getting involved in a Jump Jam. Year 10 students led the entire school through a series of routines and choreographed dances to upbeat pop songs. The result was 1,100 students and staff coming together in the name of wellbeing, happiness and positivity.
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This article first appeared in the August/September 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.