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
Academics at BCIS are rigorous in all areas, including the arts, sports and other subjects that exist outside of a so-called “core” that some might perceive to exist in schools. Parents visiting BCIS for the first time are often struck by the sight of students reflecting and writing about their experiences in P.E class. They are surprised to see that works of art also come with carefully prepared statements outlining the inspirations behind the work, and details on what students think they have done well or need to improve on next time. The fact is that academic rigor should never be confined to a small collection of classes, and at BCIS we are proud to say that it is not.
Students from Grades 6 to 10 take part in four 50-minute sessions of design technology each week. They learn great skills in graphic design, advertising, product design and development and more, even learning about how to use 3-D printers. Grade 8, for example, complete a unit called “The Apprentice Unit” where they spend several months working in groups of five to create their own small company. Together they conduct market research on target markets to which they can sell their new products. All their work culminates with them taking part in the Spring in the City community event in May, after which they donate their profits to charities such as the Migrant Children’s Foundation. Last year they managed to raise RMB 18,000.
At BCIS, the Arts include Music, Drama and Visual Arts. Students in the Early Childhood Center and Elementary School take Visual Arts once or twice a week depending on grade level, unleashing their creativity to create wonderful projects that frequently decorate the hallways of the campus. Music classes are taken twice a week as well, with students often having chances to perform what they learn in assemblies and concerts held during each semester. On reaching Secondary School, arts education expands to include drama, which sees students exploring a new way of expressing their ideas and feelings to the community. Annual productions are staged for both the middle school age students (Grades 6-8) and the high school age students (Grades 9-12). This year’s high school production will be a play based on Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors.” Secondary students also continue their studies in Music and Visual Arts, at first working on a rotating trimester system until Grade 9, and then choosing one to concentrate on during Grade 10. All arts subjects are available to study up the IB Diploma Programme level, giving students interested in pursuing arts at university level a very strong foundation from which to build.
The aim of physical education at BCIS is to foster a lifelong love of physical activity. Learners at all grade levels experience a wide range of activities that start with dance/movement and water confidence classes with younger students, and develop into more advanced team games by Elementary and Secondary school. BCIS students take full part in athletic programs such as those organized by ACAMIS and ISAC, playing under the team name “Warriors.” The U19 Boys Basketball Warriors, in January 2016, won their first ISAC Division 1 Tournament.
The children are encouraged to think about their activities, reflecting on their successes and where they need to improve. They examine the essence of teamwork, effective communication within a group, and how a they can work together towards a common goal. For our youngest learners, physical activities like dance will help them develop their gross motor skills, such as running, jumping, and moving to music/rhythm.
Finally, students up to Grade 6 will have at least one full session in their Library each week. The dedicated Librarian teacher will lead these lessons, working on literacy skills with our youngest learners, and always encouraging and developing a love for reading in the children. As students get older, the sessions also cover important research skills, which are vital for those looking to complete big IB milestones such as the PYP Exhibition, the MYP Personal Project and the DP Extended Essay. The Libraries are stocked with thousands of books in various languages, and also have access to a selection of databases, as well as monthly and daily media publications. Getting to know how to use this amazing learning resource is incredibly important, which is why so much extra time is dedicated to it.
Outside of lessons altogether, every Tuesday and Thursday (and sometimes other days), students will take part in Enrichment Activities (EA); extra-curricular activities arranged into three annual sessions, each lasting about eight weeks. This means that each student can take part in around three to six EAs every year. In the end it adds up to a rich volume of experience when creating a college application.