An idea for a helping hand

Collage of Elementary School Student Helpers interacting with other students

By Nick Yates and Zhibang Liu, ISB Communications

Published on Monday, March 20, 2023

“My name is Laura. I’m a brave 5th grader… I have an idea that will leave its mark on children like me and younger in this school, teach them about responsibility, and make a big positive impact.”

With this proposal, so began a new initiative at the International School of Beijing (ISB) that has seen Elementary School (ES) students volunteer to support being kind, safe, and respectful at recess times. In their bright blue vests, the ES Student Helpers remind their fellow students of rules like not running in the corridors, help clean up after lunch, facilitate social connections, and more.


Laura A, 11, wrote to the Elementary School principal team to pitch her idea back in the fall. Lots of ISB students like Laura have a passion for community service, something the school really encourages, knowing how much students learn through such benevolent efforts. While the ISB Middle School has the Buddy System and the High School has Peer Helpers, this is the first such group in Elementary School. Since Laura’s pitch, ES Student Helpers has grown to encompass around 20 helpers who sign up for shifts at lunch and break time.

It’s an example of how students at ISB are empowered to purpose and compassion, which is one of three strategic focus areas the school has established in order to prioritize how it is using its resources and which projects to pursue. This focus area includes ensuring students have integrity, strength of character, and that they can identify their talents and pursue their passions. Watch the video to find out how ES Student Helpers works!


ISB news articles in 2022-2023 are all looking at aspects of ISB that show the school’s three strategic focus areas in action. For more information and examples of the focus areas, click here.

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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