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    Building Meaningful, Shared Experiences Through Historical Understanding

    School News

    14 May, 2013

    10 : 00

    • In tandem with YCIS Shanghai Primary Curriculum focus on mathematics, literature, Chinese fluency, and more, students are empowered to explore significant topics that build understandings of the world through connections with other people,  including those in other places and other times.

      This year, the Primary Topic units – from Year 1's People Who Help Us all the way through to Year 6‘s Fuelling the Future: Renewable Energy – have been a varied mix of topics that promote thinking and develop deep understandings.

      A major part of developing authentic topics is for teachers to plan “shared experiences” – field trips, guest speakers, and incursions – which will engage students in their learning and leave a lasting impression. Year 5 Evacuee Day was one such shared experience. Through the unit Children in World War 2, students explored fundamental questions, including: Why is there war; How are children affected in wars; and How can wars be avoided or prevented?

      Evacuee Day provided an opportunity for students to reflect on what it would have been like to have lived during WW II and have been evacuated from their homes. Students were asked to come to school dressed in period, bringing a suitcase packed with items they might take during an evacuation. In lessons leading up to the day, classes had explored and discussed the experiences of children who had been evacuated.

      Ms Wendy Ayer, a YCIS parent, shared some of their family discussion that emerged from this experience, “My son came home saying his class was going to spend one school day living like an evacuee. We, the parents, were to write a goodbye letter to our son. The experience resonated with my son and even brought tears to his eyes, while at school, reading his letter from home.”

      Charles, a Year 5 student, reflected, “When I used to think of war, I thought ‘cool’ – all of the camouflage and equipment. But when I learnt about what really happened, it changed my perspective. Evacuee Day was important – it made me think about what children at times of war must feel. When we read out the letters it was emotional. But it was also a nice day to have because we found out a lot about each other – our families, and what is precious to us – through our suitcases and what we packed.”

      By incorporating these exceptional experiences within the Primary Curriculum, that serves to inculcate a broader understanding of the world, YCIS students are guided to develop into empathetic, globally-minded individuals.

      Contributed by: Lisa Edwards, Primary Curriculum Co-ordinator, YCIS Shanghai Hongqiao Campus