Sponsored by Beijing City International School (BCIS). Located in Beijing’s CBD, BCIS lives by its motto: “Empowering and Inspiring Through Challenge and Compassion.” This not-for-profit, co-educational day school provides a personalized, inclusive international curriculum under the International Baccalaureate (IB) World School system, offering the PYP, MYP and DP to both expatriate and Chinese national students from Toddler to Grade 12. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, the BCIS Calendar is jam packed with amazing events, student-led activities, workshops and information sessions for parents, sports matches — the list goes on and on. There is one entry into the calendar, however, that sparks very special excitement from both faculty and students — the Week Without Walls (WWW).
In the past, WWW was known as “ECW” (Experience China Week). The name may have changed but the fun learning experiences have remained constant and strong. The Week Without Walls is about providing a platform from which BCIS students can strengthen and deepen their connection with China, as well as their bonds with classmates and teachers. The Secondary School students depart for their WWW trips during the fall, and the Early Childhood and Elementary students in the spring. Each grade level engages in different activities, some held on campus, others held either locally in Beijing, or in other cities and regions such as Xi’an,Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Pingyao and others. It’s certainly an exciting week to be part of the BCIS community.
While the students obviously have a great amount of fun during WWW, the week is actually designed to be a serious and meaningful learning experience. In an article about ECW written in the fall 2015 edition of the school’s bi-annual magazine “Xue Xi”, MYP Coordinator, Jock Macgillivray wrote:
“ECW is more than just a class trip. As part of our curriculum, we believe it is important for student to be given the opportunity to experience learning out of the classroom as well as in the classroom. The goal of ECW is to give students an opportunity to take learning out of the school and into the real world, develop greater cultural sensitivity and provide authentic, direct exposure to China in order to nurture a better understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture.”
Beginning in the Early Childhood Center and Elementary School, WWW sees students taking part in fan dances, cookery, lunches in local restaurants, hutong visits, martial arts classes and more. By Grade 4 and 5 they embark on trips away from Beijing (Tianjin and Pingyao respectively). During Secondary School, the trips continue to grow in variety, with every grade visiting a different region of China. By Grade 11, however, the focus shifts slightly to show students the importance of being able to pass the IB Diploma Programme CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) requirements for successful completion and graduation. Opportunities are given to them during the week to be creative through skateboarding and making videos; to take action by hiking and other sports; and to serve by working with a local orphanage.
WWW is an important program designed to allow students to gain a better understanding of China and themselves. The school hopes that they are challenged to grow in those areas that the community feels is valuable. In short, it is an opportunity for theory and ideas to become reality.
Photos and videos: BCIS