Over Thanksgiving, I found myself in a bookshop in Oxford, Mississippi. As I made my way around the maze of literature, one book stood out to me more than any other and I devoured it in two days. Entitled ‘The Book of Charlie’, it tells the tale of the life of a 109-year-old man whom the author found himself the neighbor of for the final 7 years of his adventurous and well-lived life. Author David Von Drehle describes how Charlie “was a master in the art of thriving through times of dramatic change”. As educators, we face an increasingly difficult prospect of preparing children to go out into a world that continues to change at unrelenting rates. Many of the professions our current students will go on to are not yet even in existence, which throws up the question:
If we do not know what we are preparing children for, what do we teach them?
CREATE YOUR FUTURE
This is where our BISC-LP Purpose of ‘Create Your Future’ forms an integral starting point. It is fundamental that children develop a wealth of transferrable skills that, no matter how the world is shaped or continues to evolve, they are able to adapt to this and thrive in their own unique ways. Our goal is to enable children to create their own future, supporting them to achieve beyond their perceived limits. We believe in nurturing not only their academic excellence but also their confidence, resilience, and creativity, ensuring their success in any path they choose.
In order to achieve this, our philosophy for our students is to foster the next generation of Thinkers, Creators, and Future Makers. We strive to ignite their imagination, encourage questioning, and immerse them in transformative learning experiences. Being part of a global network of international schools, combined with our diverse community, provides a wonderful platform for this. Our curriculum is mapped out to provide breadth and depth in learning and regular reflection ensures it evolves with the times, whilst maintaining progression in essential knowledge and skills.
So then, why Thinkers, Creators, and Future Makers?
They have a love of learning that motivates them to be happy, open-minded and inquisitive.
In a world being driven by technology and rapidly growing AI, it is crucial children develop critical thinking skills to not only be able to interpret what they see but question and challenge it. This begins in the Early Years, from the moment children enter our program in Pre-Nursery, where ‘Creating and Thinking Critically’ forms one of the 3 Characteristics of Effective Learning. Children are encouraged to form their own ideas, create connections with what they already know, and make choices and develop strategies during their play. These are all early skills that provide a gateway to the growing levels of metacognition that follows as children move through the school. The ability to understand one’s own thinking processes facilitates problem solving, reasoning, and resilience in the face of challenge. The development of a growth mindset is essential in this, which is why we actively promote and provide challenge within the classroom to enable children to experience ‘positive struggle’ and develop their own bank of creative strategies to overcome this.
They are resilient problem-solvers who thrive when faced with challenge and intrinsically recognize their own success.
We are lucky to have collaborations with MIT and Julliard who are both leaders in the field of creativity in their own unique ways. Ensuring children are exposed to a range of subjects, many of which are offered by our specialist teachers, allows them to develop their creativity and exposes them to different ways of doing things and expressing themselves. Active learning opportunities that are open ended and autonomously driven form a key component of developing our students as ‘creators’. Our Goal Squad are central to this. Permeating everything we do, our Goal Squad instills core values and learner attributes that encourage our students to persevere when faced with challenge, find new ways of doing something, and communicate their ideas in different ways whilst demonstrating an understanding of others and the power of collaborative and adaptive decision making. Children should learn from one another as much as they learn from adults, and this is fostered through the culture of cooperation and teamwork that is actively promoted and planned for in our classrooms. This sense of community enables all children to feel safe to explore and make mistakes as part of their learning journey.
They are self-aware, confident global citizens whose holistic values empower them to make an impact.
It continues to become more evident that we live in a world with finite resources, and it is this generation of children who will be dealing with much of the impact of the climate crisis. Encouraging our students to be stewards of the environment, both through topic-based learning and the work of our Eco Council, are key in promoting the positive impact they can have on this both now and in the future. This is further enhanced by our access to Global Campus and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals which are an important way of showing how we are all connected around the world and how we can each make an impact when we work together. This supports the embedding of intercultural understanding and helps to ensure our children are socially astute. Understanding the needs within our own local community through charitable drives highlights experiences that are different to their own and the impact that they can have in improving the lives of others becomes more tangible to them. Our Student Voice group provides a means by which our students can identify need both in school and beyond and experience the process of bringing about change. Crucially, knowing they can make a difference is an important lesson to learn at a young age and, as Greta Thunberg states “You are never too small to make a difference”.
Whilst the future will always remain uncertain, change is guaranteed. One of the many things I learned from reading about the century long life of Charlie White, is that weathering change is dependent on resilience, ingenuity and, where possible, a hopeful heart. It is our goal that the skills our children leave BISC-LP with will undoubtedly set them up for success in whatever version of the future they experience and that they are able to contribute to the creation of a better world for all.
"The future is not something to predict. The future is something to build." ~ Franco Ongaro European Space Agency
Stephanie Davis, Early Years Curriculum Director & Reception Teacher