'Why mattering matters' from INSIGHTS - My thoughts-Why mattering matters from INSIGHTS - My thoughts-Nord Anglia Education
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Nord Anglia
01 February, 2024

'Why mattering matters' from INSIGHTS - My thoughts

'Why mattering matters' from INSIGHTS - My thoughts-Why mattering matters from INSIGHTS - My thoughts-3

For those who havent already read the Nord Anglia INSIGHTS magazine, firstly, may I recommend this wonderful new project to you.  As a school, weve already published thought pieces on each of the core articles which I hope youve also read, and I think its important to see how these thought pieces are demonstrable here at NAIS Pudong.

Jenny Andersons latest article in the series, entitled Helping kids see that they matter for who they are and not what they achieve provides a thought-provoking discussion on how everyone involved in nurturing a child, specifically parents, can make a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing.

From my perspective as Principal of the school, positive student wellbeing is a critical aim that my team are committed to achieving.  Although - by our very nature as an academic provider - grades are an important outcome for our school, these run alongside the critical element of nurturing student interests and activities beyond the curriculum.  Our values are clear in that we develop Creative, Confident and Considerate learners who are prepared for their future, and all three of these attributes are central features of Anderson’s piece. 

We enable creativity through a wide range of After School Activities (ASAs), engaging performing arts opportunities, and traditionally creative academic subjects, as well as through a variety of impactful projects in and out of school.  This includes through our engaging collaborations with The Juilliard School and MIT.  As Anderson highlights It means conveying in every way possible actions as well as words that kids are more than their performance, and we believe every student has a variety of avenues in and out of school to explore and develop their creative natures.

We build confidence in our students through a supportive wellbeing programme, leadership opportunities, and through a range of activities that help students to step out of their comfort zones, whether that be through stage performances, sporting activities, or through impactful expeditions like our recent mountain trekking or winter sports trips to Switzerland.  Acts which appear smaller, but which can be as impactful, such as the giving of awards specifically to students who have demonstrated themselves specific personal qualities, or through house point awards for positive actions, all contribute in small ways to build a childs confidence levels. 

We encourage students to be considerate in a multitude of ways at NAIS Pudong too.  Our direct collaboration with UNICEF means that our students are actively aware of the Sustainable Development Goals and how they impact our environment and the people around us.  Our service projects in Tanzania, where students help to build housing and facilities for communities in dire need of support, is for many a life-changing opportunity and way in which they gain a true understanding of how important it is to be aware of the needs of others.  Thomas Insel is quoted in the article as saying In many ways helping others is more therapeutic than getting help from others and this is abundantly evident as we observe the change in our students who have been part of service and community projects like this. 

Our wellbeing provision in school supports Andersons aims, through a programme of counselling sessions, dedicated staff professional development in wellbeing provision, and through our Guidance lessons.  Our Social Impact group whose aim is to raise awareness of and to support a variety of community projects and charities is a specifically good example of where NAIS Pudong guides our students towards betterment of themselves in both personal and social wellness. 

My counterpart at NAIS Hong Kong, Kenny Duncan, highlights a key theme of the article when he mentions that we need to look beyond academic performance, sporting prowess or other accomplishments, and I wholeheartedly support this idea.  We recently launched a scholarship programme in the areas of Academics, Sports, Performing Arts and Leadership, but this isnt just about finding the best of the best students and focusing only on one specific skill; the scholarship programme is specifically designed to nurture talent while also building on character via our 3Cs (Creativity, Confidence and Consideration).  We expect our scholars to support the rest of our student community to want to better themselves too, so everyone will benefit.

Weve also recently launched a New Horizons programme which looks to provide a supportive and personalised pathway for every student as they reach the upper levels of the school.  We understand that not every child may be suited to specific subjects or qualifications, and so this programme allows students and their families to identify individual goals and visions for their future, some of which may not be within the traditional trajectory of elite education.  This way, students should be able to focus on their interests and individual outcomes rather than tying their worth solely to their grades.

While schools will always find new ways in which to support their students, at NAIS Pudong I feel very confident that our personalized approach to education supports and nurtures wellbeing in all our students.  I would strongly encourage our parent community to read the full article and hopefully take inspiration on ways in which they can further to support their children.  Whether its through the Values Inventory survey (which you can find within the article), or by trying to implement some new strategies at home, everything will help. 

To further this, NAIS Pudong will also be hosting a Wellbeing and Wellness event on 25th May in which our whole community will be invited into school for a variety of activities linked to mindfulness and general health & wellbeing, as well as a range of talks for parents from industry specialists on subjects such as Regulating Emotions and How to support teenagers who seem to be isolating themselves, plus many more.  Its sure to be a wonderful way in which we can all seek to improve ourselves and to help our children understand that they really do matter.  Look out for more information on this event very soon.

I hope you enjoy the article, and the INSIGHTS project generally.

Written by Diane Vaughan