Culture of Care
Culture of Care
ICS is a mutually supportive community of learners. Staff support students, students support each other and parents support the whole school community.
We believe that children learn best in a nurturing environment where they feel supported in learning. This view was reinforced by the accreditation team from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools & Colleges.
After visiting us in 2016, they commended: "The entire school community for putting into action the principles underlying the school's mission." Furthermore, ICS staff was applauded for "embracing the Guiding Statements in their classroom practice." They also praised our school community "for creating a warm, welcoming and positive school climate where respect is nurtured."
Our culture of care extends beyond our own community. At ICS we offer many opportunities for service learning: in helping others, students also learn about themselves.
Building Positive Learning Environments
ICS creates teaching and learning spaces where everyone feels safe, welcomed and respected. Establishing a shared language around which a positive approach to learning is built is essential. ICS has adopted a pro-social code, which provides this anchor point across school.
ICS teachers and students have created a culture of care through almost six decades of the school’s existence. The ICS mission statement encourages members of our community to “fulfil their responsibilities” A school-wide code of conduct reminds students that they have a responsibility to the ICS community. This year, these five principles are being taught to students under a new framework.
The Tiger code
In Primary School, these principles are known as The Tiger Code. The code is taught explicitly, and students are expected to know and understand it. In the opening weeks of the school year, focused activities helped students quickly learn and appreciate the code. Through the grade levels, teachers used a range of age-appropriate methods to instil this culture of care.
Teachers regularly guide students on how to apply the code when situations arise. Reflection on situations also revolve around how students applied the code. For example, in the Primary School, students identify examples of the code in action and reflect on how the elements of the code will create a positive learning environment. Primary assemblies are used to reinforce the importance of the code in fun or engaging ways.
In Secondary School, everyone is responsible for promoting the positive behaviours, known as the five principles of pro-social behaviour (safe, ready to learn, respectful, responsible, kind), needed to support ongoing learning and wellbeing. Behaviour expectations apply at all times, both inside school and during school-related activities outside school. It is a culture based on collaboration, consistency and ongoing conversations.
In Secondary School, the daily application of these principles is at times complex. Situations can be more nu anced and may demand cross-cultural understanding. Teachers regularly discuss the school’s expectations and their application in various settings. For example, the specifics of being safe might mean something different in Science class than in Art class. Another example is the ICS Digital Citizenship Agreement, which details the application of these principles in an online environment.