First published in ACCESS Autumn 2015 e-zine
One of the key commitments of The British School in The Netherlands (BSN), is to develop students into well rounded individuals and global citizens.
Citizenship supports social development throughout early years and primary education, enabling children to develop an understanding of their communities and society, as well as how to engage with others appropriately. During this period, children learn things such as developing a positive sense of themselves, and others; forming positive relationships; respecting others; social skills; managing their own feelings; understanding appropriate group behaviour and developing confidence in their own abilities. At the BSN, each of the three junior schools have introduced a series of programmes that encourage and enable such development.
Putting it into practice
Learner profile attributes, such as working indepentently or communicating with others effectively, enable students to build on their global citizenship. One of the BSN’s key initiatives sees Year 1 to Year 6 students getting involved in their community by participating in a project at ‘De Tuinen van Mariahoeve’ a local community garden. Whilst there is an educational benefit for the children, as they learn about planting and growing organic fruits and vegetables, there is an equally imortant emphasis on community support.
Responsible Citizens Awards have also been introduced which allow children to work towards achieving a Bronze, Silver and Gold award by collecting badges as a result of completing a set number of tasks, chosen from a range of categories. For example a ‘Creator’ badge would be awarded for performing a piece of music or reciting a poem, or a ‘Responsible Citizen’ badge can be achieved for doing the washing up at home for two weeks, or acting as a playground buddy to help new students make friends. A wide range and variety of award categories have purposely been made available so that children don’t feel they’re being asked to complete a task they don’t connect with, as this has the potential to become a de-motivator rather than an incentive.
Providing opportunities for children to take control of their own development in this way, offers teachers the chance to allow older students to ‘lead by example’. After all, the good behaviour demonstrated by peers everyday, is by far the best foundation of good citizenship.
The British School in The Netherlands is an independent British international school with three Junior School campuses in The Hague and a Senior School in Voorschoten. With around 2,000 students, the BSN is the largest provider of International education in the Netherlands for children aged 3 to 18.
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