At the British School in Tokyo (BST), we pride ourselves on ensuring that our students leave us as well-rounded individuals, fully equipped for the challenges of the future in this fast-changing world. Academic success is one way in which we prepare our students and I am hugely proud of our GCSE and AS results this year. We also look outside the classroom to develop self awareness, self confidence and determination. The BST Outdoors residential programme is a whole school initiative which, while fully supporting core curriculum subjects, offers a real opportunity for personal growth in developing a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
At the beginning of our academic year in September, all our Secondary School students spend a week in Hakuba. This residential experience is about starting the year with the right frame of mind. Students are challenged to face new adventures such as camping, hiking, kayaking, canyoning, rock climbing and mountain biking. It is about developing new bonds and friendships outside their usual group and a true sense of pride in what they do. The Hakuba experience expands the limits and boundaries of all participants; students learn to be accountable for their actions and to support and encourage others to achieve a common goal.
Secondary students revisit Hakuba in February for four days of skiing and snowboarding and to see the lush green landscape transformed into a winter wonderland. Students again get the opportunity to study and apply what they have learned in a different context with Year 7 studying poetry in English, Year 8 studying physical changes in Science, Year 9 completing a photography project in Art and Year 10 and 11 students taking part in the Mathematics Olympiad after a long hard day on the slopes.
In Primary, all students from Years 1 to 6 take part in the residential Outdoors programme which always generates much enthusiasm and excitement throughout the school. For many students, this will be their first trip away from home and it encourages independence and friendships in a safe environment.
After the Christmas holidays, Year 5 students spend three nights in Norikura, Nagano Prefecture, where they complete a Design Technology challenge, write winter-inspired poetry, and take part in ski or snowboard lessons. In March, Year 6 spends three nights in Ashigara, Kanagawa Prefecture, exploring traditional Japanese crafts, physical, environmental and scientific investigation. In the same month, Year 3 children travel to Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, for two nights where they make the most of sporting, science and environmental opportunities. In April, Year 4 visit Yamanakako, Yamanashi Prefecture, for two nights, where they hike and learn about the natural environment and vegetation in Japan, experience weaving on looms, and enjoy spectacular views of Mt Fuji. In May, Year 1 and 2 children spend one night in Hachioji, Tokyo, where science, art and PE programmes are taken outside.
Through both the curriculum and outdoor programmes on offer, our students are encouraged to care about the environment in which they live and they develop a curiosity for the world around them. Ultimately, as educators, our goal is to prepare happy, confident young people for life and equip them with the necessary skills to fully participate in the future as global citizens. I have no doubt at all that we achieve this at BST.
For more information, please visit www.bst.ac.jp