As part of the milepost 2 International Primary Curriculum (IPC), the pupils of Tianjin international school in year 3 and 4 are studying all about entrepreneurs within the theme of conservation, animal welfare and protection and what it means to be a young entrepreneur within this context of learning. Although the majority of people are more than happy to work for an organisation, some choose a different path and opt instead to establish their own businesses. Such entrepreneurs, especially if they are successful, are usually extremely driven, creative in their thinking, have a wide-ranging skills-set and are incredibly resilient. The promotion of such skills, and making pupils aware that there are different approaches to the world, is an invaluable learning opportunity.
Pupils will gain skills and knowledge and be more aware of their responsibilities towards protecting the environment. They will understand more about different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, marine life, and their habitats while also being made aware that there are different types of organisations and functions.
With each unit of work in the Junior School, milepost teams map out how they can provide opportunities for pupils to learn and benefit from experts within the campus from the Junior school through to the Senior School. In this Tianjin international school, every Senior School subject is linked to the Junior School curriculum, ranging from art to science, covering a range of topics and year groups. In this case, we identified a design and technology project. We planned for pupils to work in the Senior School design and technology workshops under the expert guidance of Mr Wood.
The activities pupils undertook involved sketching a range of ideas for a key ring, choosing a final design and creating this using CAD (computer-aided design) software. They then used the CAD software to send instructions CAM (Computer-aided Manufacture) system to produce the product. The final step was to add depth and colour, to sell the key rings to raise money for animal welfare charities.
Mrs Prendi, Milepost 2 lead, commented: "MP2 is fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with the Senior School. This allows our young pupils to access high-quality equipment and specialist resources that are not normally available to Junior School pupils. They also experience a taste of what they can expect when they graduate to Year 7. Mr Wood, Head of DT, was impressed by the enthusiasm, ingenuity and creativity of the year 3 and 4 pupils – and the children themselves were delighted with their finished products!"
The benefits of such activities cover a wide range of areas, including:
Promoting creativity and problem-solving
Working collaboratively, and developing their interpersonal skills
Developing their understanding of the link between what they study, and the real world
Pupils gain access to specialist software and hardware
Becoming aware of the benefits and drawbacks of using specialist technologies such as laser cutters
Being taught by teachers who are specialists and experts in their subjects
Familiarisation with the layout and facilities in the Senior School
Supporting the transition into Senior School through developing essential foundation skills that they will need in the future
Enriching the curriculum of the Junior School
Providing opportunities for pupils to develop broader interests and skills
Mr Wood was thrilled to have the pupils attend the sessions in his workshop and commented: "My lasting impressions, after several hours spent with the year 3 and 4 pupils, was a sense that they arrived with eager anticipation, listened with genuine curiosity and were filled with awe and wonder at what the laser was able to do so quickly and accurately. It was a real privilege to give them a small taste of Senior School design and technology."
Education should be about awe and wonder, and the development of the natural curiosity that children have. In this Tianjin International School, when pupils are eager to know more, try new experiences, are excited about what needs to happen next and are not afraid to make mistakes, they will benefit and develop academically. Their confidence and interpersonal skills will grow, and they will have a firm foundation to be successful in anything they do. Such challenging, rich experiences promote the skills and attributes that we aim for all of our pupils. This happens as a result of regular close collaboration between teachers from different parts of the school. Pupils then can take these transferable skills and apply them within and beyond their academic studies.