In March this year, a representative group of teachers and administrators attended a three day workshop in Bangkok on integrating service learning into the curriculum. The facilitator of this workshop was Cathy Berger Kaye, a world authority on curriculum development with particular expertise in service learning. Cathy took a real interest in our school and was excited to hear about our vision for service learning and the progress we had already made towards integrating it into our curricular and co-curricular programs.

Cathy provided the group with some actionable ideas, including the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of our curriculum framework, that we were able to immediately implement. Upon the enthusiastic recommendation of the group that worked with her in Bangkok, we invited Cathy to work with all of our faculty for four days earlier this month before our students returned to school.

Over four days, Cathy worked with us as a whole faculty and in our teaching teams to ensure that we had a common understanding of the purpose, process and progress of service learning at ISY that can be applied in all grade levels and all subjects. Our faculty’s commitment to service and developing people who will be a force for positive change in the world was clear throughout the four days. It is this commitment that will ensure that our students learn with the purpose and perspective required to be able to apply their learning in an uncertain or unknown future. Cathy provided us with definitions and models of service learning that were tailored to us, our students and our wider community. These models are designed to incorporate specific initiatives such as our partnership with United World Schools while also allowing students of all ages to apply and extend their knowledge and skills in all subjects.

We believe now more than ever that a curriculum that centres around service will give our students a sense of purpose and self-belief that will enable them to fulfill their potential and make a positive difference to our world.