By Nick Yates, ISB Communications
Children are all different, and those in Kindergarten to Grade 5 at the International School of Beijing (ISB) now have some extra ways to enjoy break times to suit their diverse personalities and interests. To help build social skills and offer more options beyond the playground, Elementary School counselors and teachers have set aside spaces stocked with games and fun activities for “Dragons Alternative Recess” (DAR).
ISB will reopen to all grades next week following a period of restricted campus access to control Covid-19. One of the main reasons students are looking forward to returning is to socialize together. It’s an important part of school. Yet some children welcome a more structured way of socializing than others.
Daniel Chaney, an Elementary School counselor at ISB, had noticed while supervising recess that some students chose to play on their own, not enjoying the sports on offer in the playground or the quiet reading in the Elementary School Library. So, he pitched his idea for DAR to colleagues. By January, DAR was ready for launch in an empty classroom. Students have been able to get a DAR pass just as they can for the library at break times.
The new initiative supports ISB’s focus on social-emotional development – teaching children how to be healthy in body and mind alongside striving for academic achievement.
Mr. Chaney said DAR was an exciting success from day one. “I noticed things happening that would never otherwise have happened without this special venue for individuals to engage socially. There was a Grade 5 boy and a Grade 4 girl playing, two students who wouldn’t have ever come into contact on a playground. We saw that it was really beneficial and sustainable.”
DAR is offered for students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 on specific days each week during morning recess.
There is agreement in education that children need a variety of ways to enjoy recess if a school is to be inclusive. “There are students with athletic prowess who will go and grab a ball or Frisbee,” said Mr. Chaney, “and there are some students for whom that’s not their thing. They need to be able to sit around and chat or engage in creative activities. There’s a place now at ISB where they can do that.”
ISB’s Social and Emotional Curriculum was officially launched for the 2021-2022 academic year. To find out more, 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.