Schools need to teach so much more than academics. Front and centre on the International Baccalaureate (IB) syllabus is learning through community service. Here, Wesley Whitehead, CAS Coordinator and Science Teacher at ISS International School, relates what students gained from one recent creative outreach project.
Tell us about the collaboration between ISS and Rainbow Centre, a haven for children with moderate to severe special needs.
The nine-month creative project was based around the transformation of four commonplace Louis XV armchairs into art pieces that embody concepts of awareness, inclusion and empowerment. Each chair was a visual representation of the disabilities that the Rainbow Centre children live with. The chairs became part of a larger public exhibition and a donation campaign that funded the construction of a new wing at the Centre.
Why is the project important for ISS students?
This is one of many examples of a “Creativity, Activity, Service” (CAS) project undertaken by each student. It demonstrates how young people can make a difference, and help address world concerns. Their projects are global and diverse, from building a basketball court for an Indonesian orphanage to constructing boats to transport schoolchildren in the Philippines.
What’s the key take-home message for parents?
Elementary students are immersed in a variety of meaningful projects designed to help them meet their IB learning objectives while developing their social and civic conscience. By high school, students’ personal and interpersonal growth, as recorded in their reflections, helps support their applications to higher education. It’s the children’s own reflections, however, that demonstrate the depth of their experience. One student said she found ways to overcome her personal communication barriers with the Rainbow Centre children, while another said working with kids with disabilities showed her that anything is possible.
This is an article that first appeared in the March 2017 edition of Expat Living. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!