Wednesday, February 1, 2012

School Days

01/30, Monday
It's the start of a new semester for Emma after several days off during Chinese New Year. Today the school (Canadian International School, CIS) welcomes parents back, too, with a special event...The Parade of Nations. All the kids can dress in a costume representing their native country. Emma looked very nice in her yukata. There are quite a few Japanese students.

I counted 41 different countries, each one with their own flag. Canada has the most students followed by China and India. There are some surprising countries: Czech Republic (1), Italy (3), Russia (1), Argentina (1), Chile (2), Romania (4), and others. CIS has over 400 students in grades from Early Learning to 10th grade.

Of course, parents are all proud of their own children and want them to have a good education. There are lots of moms and dads in the audience, and a few g'parents. It is impressive and reassuring to see all the nations' children and parents cheering for all the countries. Maybe this is the way for us to realize we can all work together for a better world.

02/01, Wednesday
CIS is sponsoring an International Food Fair at school. Parents from each country bring a sampling of several items that represent their country's cuisine. Fortunately, it starts at 9:00 until 12:45, so Sandy and I get breakfast and lunch in one meal. There is food from at least 40 countries "forcing" us to make several rounds to taste some of each. Lots of the items are sweets which is fine by me.

The students start filing in at 9:30 circulating from table to table to find items for their lunch. We have to work our way around and between them to get our "fair share". By 10:30, we have had plenty to eat, we have visited with parents and staff along the way.

Helen Hoff, the CIS director we encountered on Monday, is there to greet us (and others, too). She and her husband, the principal have been in Singapore for just over a year having been recruited from Calgary, Canada. She corrects me; there are actually 49 countries, soon to be 50, represented in the school.

They use a study method called IB, International Baccalaureate, common in private schools and some public. Colorado and California schools are among USA schools which use this program. I saw on their hallway display, how the program is implemented across six disciplines for each age group. I will have to look into it further to get a better understanding.

Chicago has 37 schools licensed for portions (PYP primary and MYP middle) of IB; 2 in the state of NH; 9 in DC; 14 in MA; over 1200 in the USA. The program originated in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland. It an NGO within UNESCO. Its focus is on preparing students to become globalized citizens. There is some controversy about the philosophy, mostly by conservatives.

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