As part of ISB’s burgeoning MYP Service program, students are part of a variety of initiatives with the same aim: to use their knowledge and skills from school to make positive contributions to the community and the people within it.
For one of the Service programs, named “Growing Together”, sixth grade students work with senior citizens in a local community center to show them how to use technology and social media to stay in contact with their families and friends, keep up with the news, and even learn some English. The students also spend time with the seniors doing arts and crafts as a creative outlet and stress reliever. The “Growing Together” program, which started in the 2014-15 school year with a handful of sixth grade volunteers, has been successfully running each week of the 2015-16 school year, thanks to the participation of the entire sixth grade class and several dedicated ISB teachers.
In addition to “Growing Together”, a new service program, called “Pass the Knowledge on”, is being piloted this year. “Pass the Knowledge on” was initiated as part of her Personal Project by a grade 10 student who was searching for an organization for which she could volunteer to support disadvantaged youth. In this program, a small but eager group of ten 8th grade volunteers is meeting with children from a local youth center which serves children from marginalized families. The ISB students are helping the children on their Math and English homework, as well as socializing with them and engaging in sports. The goal is to continue and expand the “Pass the Knowledge on” program to include all of the 8th grade students in the next school year.
The MYP service programs have also served as a platform for the Grade 5 PYP Exhibition. The Service Coordinator and PYP Coordinator planned a series of field trips and guest speakers at the beginning of the PYP Exhibition. The grade 5 students and their supervisors visited some of the centers where the MYP students volunteer, such as the ProAnima animal shelter, a vocational (disability) school, and the community center for the “Growing Together” program.
Before the field trips, the Coordinators strategically planned for the MYP students to present their projects as guest speakers to the PYP students in order to share the purpose and the way in which they support the community and describe their regular commitments.
This connection between the PYP and MYP students has broadened ISB’s community connections and has helped the students to identify local issues which they can explore and support through their meaningful actions.
By Patricia Deo and Rachel McLeod