There is a lot to be excited about! All of our music rooms have been refurbished over the summer break and are fantastically well equipped to deliver our unrivaled Juilliard music curriculum. Our inspirational new Head of Music, Stephen Morris, fresh back from an intensive week of professional development training at Juilliard in New York, told me that, ‘We now have an amazing platform from which to deliver our inspiring curriculum.’ He is bubbling over with ideas that will electrify performances.
All of our Early Years classrooms have also been refurbished and look brilliant. Modeled on the very best practice from the UK, they are light and airy with beautiful real wood furniture and great equipment to inspire the children’s curiosity and activities. The newly modeled entrance to the EYFS also provides two parent consultation rooms and a wide open learning area as soon as children enter the school. It is a great space that will be further enhanced in a few weeks when we host one of the UK’s leading EYFS specialists for a week as she delivers professional development for our super EYFS staff.
The MIT-inspired Da Vinci Centre is now completed and is quite simply breathtaking. In my long career in education I have never seen such an inspiring space in which to foster creativity and from which to teach a superb STEAM curriculum. Our brilliant new Head of Primary School, Jared Nolan, rightly said that, ’This is a truly 21st century learning space which offers unrivaled opportunity to create magical learning.’ In a few weeks we will invite parents to come and view the new space as we celebrate its opening and describe for you the learning that it is inspiring. Already the children have been thrilled to visit the centre in their first day back at school, their faces eager at the prospect of working on design projects in there. Primary parents will see some ‘start of the year’ homework arriving very soon that will help you to get involved in the exciting creativity and curiosity at home.
Similarly the external construction of our secondary STEAM centre is nearing completion. Scheduled to finish in late October, we have chosen its name from a shortlist suggested by our students and affirmed by colleagues at MIT. So I am delighted to introduce you to the Hamilton Centre, named after the MIT alumnus, and former NASA scientist, Margaret Hamilton, who coined the phrase ‘software engineering’ whilst working on the Apollo missions. She has the rare honour of also being immortalised as one of Lego’s ‘Women of Nasa’. Work will start shortly on the internal construction of the Hamilton Centre, but it is already shaping up to be a stunning new facility for STEAM education.
To round off a fantastic summer of school developments managed by our excellent (and inexhaustible) facilities manager, Kyle Gong, our new uniform shop is open in a bright new home next to the Primary School entrance, whilst our new coffee shop is due to open very soon in what used to be our uniform shop. So, there is little wonder that we have so many excited students and staff starting our new academic year, as they renew their friendships and explore so many inspiring new developments across the school.
It is my pleasure then to welcome you and your children back to the new school year, and back to our learning community here at the British International School, Shanghai, where we can all unite in following our vision to Be Ambitious: think more, achieve more, be more.
Dr Neil Hopkin FRSA, Principal