MESSAGE FROM THE SCHOOL ADVISOR
Welcome to the orientation day of GIS!
During my almost 40 years of work in various roles in the education field – teaching, curriculum, inspection, teacher education, and recently as school manager and supervisor, I often reflect on what makes a good school, which is also a frequently asked question by parents.
Firstly, as a parent I would look at whether the curriculum is well conceived and well organized to contribute to and facilitate children’s learning and development at different ages and stages. Will it cater for their needs and interests? Is the emphasis only on academics or all-round development? Is the development of language competency and numeracy an integral part of learning in the early stages? Does learning involve exploration or simply knowledge transmission? Is the expectation for achievement sufficiently challenging to develop their full potentials and prepare them for their next stage of schooling?
Secondly, I would consider whether I identify with the intrinsic values and attitudes of the school. Do I wish my child to be independent and responsible, to develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills and perseverance in face of difficulties, become a global citizen with understanding for different peoples and cultures, with roots in traditional culture and values that are worth preserving? The intrinsic or hidden curriculum, the ethos of the school, affects the children every minute of every day in school. Is it a cheerful, safe, supportive yet motivating environment for my child to develop happily as an individual? Is the management efficient, open and responsive? Is there good teamwork among staff? Is there communication and good collaboration with parents? Is it a school with a heart?
Thirdly, teachers undoubtedly play a prominent role in pupils’ learning. Good teachers should be well-qualified, possess passion and professional teaching skills to engage and motivate pupils to learn and enhance their learning capability. European countries are globally recognized for their well-qualified teachers. In Finland for example, a degree is required as the basic qualification for early-childhood education.
Last but not least, a good school provides a warm and cheerful surrounding supported by a variety of facilities. As the miniature of society, schools should not be confined to indoor learning but expand to outdoor exploration for the curious minds. This can develop and nurture their social outlook at an early stage. At the library, pupils’ interest and confidence in reading can be built through the sharing of inspiring stories and books with their classmates. At the canteen, pupils are encouraged to strike up conversations and social talk like adults, rather than to sit quietly to finish their food.
I understand that GIS plans to implement the IB PYP (Primary Years Program). It possesses well-qualified teachers in a well-equipped campus to provide a pleasant learning environment with the goal of fostering sociable, responsible and high achieving children with intelligence and global vision. I hope the questions I have highlighted above can help you to favorably consider GIS as a good choice for your children.
Mrs. Brenda Wong