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The power of a supportive student environment

Greg Siccardi
Greg Siccardi (1 post) Head of Key Stage 4 View Profile

The concept of wellbeing is one which is not new in education nor new in societal mindset. However, what is new is the realisation of the importance it really holds in our capacity to flourish both personally and professionally. Students have always faced challenges whether due to academic or social pressure, yet today these challenges of growing up are combined with life in the 21st Century. Our thirst for speedy knowledge, the interconnectedness of social media and the manipulative nature of news media all means that student wellbeing is being tested to new levels. All schools will prioritise wellbeing, mental health and mindfulness but the aim of NAIS Pudong is to equip our students with the tools they need to cope with life’s challenges- to become independent, self-aware adults and global citizens.

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Foremost I believe we are lucky that we have such close relationships between our students and teachers. Each and every teacher really knows their students- meaning that delicate topics can be approached, and students feel comfortable within their school environment.  

We recognize the impact that balance can have on our wellbeing. This year we have raised the profile of the Arts. We have seen greater participation, increasing confidence and a wider community appreciation of the talents of our students. The musical performances in Shanghai venues, creative artistic displays around school, high quality journalism in our student magazines and the internationally-recognised prizes have fostered positivity and pride.  Our balanced approach is also maintained for our IB students including those in the final year of their Diploma. In our Extended Essay week, the students took time out for yoga and mindfulness sessions to help provide ways to cope with the potential stresses of their looming deadlines. Sports have always been a way to permit a healthy break from studies and whilst competitive sports have not been possible due to Covid-19, we have adapted. Our House and Sports events and our whole school 2KM runs were big highlights in seeing our students support each other’s wellbeing.  

At NAIS Pudong we also believe that we should empower our students. Our student leadership team is developing and taking part in thoughtful initiatives to bring wellbeing and mindfulness to the forefront in 2021. One such project is the creation of our mindfulness room which is being decorated and run by our leadership committees- providing a space for students to switch off from their studies or channel their creative minds. The students fully believe that service and social-responsibility should not be tokenistic endeavours but reflect a consistent awareness of the power that kindness can hold in both the school and their wider communities.

Our student community is truly international. Embracing this enhances our students’ empathy and cultural awareness thus bringing the emotional intelligence that enables them to best support each other. This is developed within our student-driven assemblies, global-curriculum and our Co-Curricular provision. We also enjoy the benefit of being part of the Nord Anglia family allowing students the opportunity to take part in activities online on our Global Campus, interlinking all 73 schools in a collaborative way that many schools are unable too.

Though wellbeing is often not quantifiable by graphs, results and tables it is certainly evident in the form of a positive, supportive student body. It is my hope that at NAIS Pudong we continue this journey to ensure that 2021 is our most encouraging, caring and mindful yet.