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Shrewsbury International School Bangkok City Campus, 982 Rim Klong Samsen Road (Rama 9), Bang Kapi, Huai Kwang, Bangkok 10310. Thailand

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982 Rim Klong Samsen Road (Rama 9), Bang Kapi, Huai Kwang, Bangkok 10310. Thailand 

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Principal's Blog

PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 18TH JUNE 2021 - THE VALUE OF VIRTUAL

A busy (socially distanced!) week on campus, with many highlights. As with all educational establishments across the world, we have faced the necessity of moving our extensive school events programme online. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue our community-building values via virtual platforms.

It was lovely to host a welcome event for our new EY1 2021 families. Our new cohort of parents and children were very excited to get to meet their class teachers and teaching assistants. The families were given an extensive introduction to our Early Years and how we will start our new term. 

We also hosted a live onsite tour of our campus for prospective families, who were able to enjoy our welcoming and informative school tour experience in the comfort of their own home. Myself, Ms Betts and Ms Cath ventured around the whole campus sharing our beautiful spaces bringing them to life while explaining our values, pedagogy and curriculum. 

A few families also opted to book our safety-checked pre-booked individual tours onsite with our Admissions Team. It was wonderful to welcome them.

Congratulations to Year 2, who attended their graduation online today. This marks an important milestone for this year group at Shrewsbury, as they prepare to transition into Year 3 with a new uniform, a new floor in the primary school building and a set of increased responsibilities within their learning.

End-of-year reports for City Campus students are going out today in preparation for Parent-Teacher meetings next week. 

Our final two weeks of term are packed full of exciting events, including an author visit, a virtual book fair, year group transition activities, class parties and a whole-school Sports Day, all hosted virtually of course. 

As I type, our second round of extremely popular Take a Break Bags being prepared by our wonderful TAs for our children to enjoy - I may sneak one home too - they are amazing! This time, we’ve designed the bags with a ‘Back to Nature’ theme - as we continue to bear in mind the wellbeing of our children, and the gift of time away from their screens. 

City Campus is certainly not slowing down as we reach the end of term! 


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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 4TH JUNE 2021 - IN EACH OTHER WE TRUST

This week we started our new value of the month, which is ‘Trust’. 

We have been discussing with the children the importance of trust and how we can nurture this value within ourselves and put it into action.

How can we be a trustworthy person and what does this look like in practice? Here are a few of my reflections:

  • Be true to your word and follow through with your actions
  • Learning how to communicate effectively with others, which is always an ongoing focus here at City Campus.  
  • Allowing ourselves time to make decisions and think before acting too quickly.
  • Helping our children understand that it takes time to build and earn trust.
  • Leading by example in proving the value of trust, and that it is a key character trait to want to have. 

We’ve been seeing trust in action this week at City Campus, during our special online transition events, hosted for our parents by our fantastic Early Years Team Leaders.

Our parents trust us to thoroughly prepare and guide our students through key transitional milestones in the Early Years, and the exciting steps taken into Year 1 in the primary school.

We’re looking forward to seeing our youngest learners flourish in their new year groups, as we see the trust play out between our children, their parents and our teaching teams. 


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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 28TH MAY 2021 - BETTER TOGETHER

As we continue to safely work in our own bubbles we are managing to find creative ways to connect virtually, to have some fun and to socialise.

The staff who are working on site have theme days for our dress code, for example a special colour, animal print...'Under the Sea' was a bit challenging, but today's theme of sparkles was easy for me!

Our children connect 'live' with their teachers and classmates everyday, as we continue to maintain a strong and well-balanced online curriculum for our students. Whole year groups have got together for singing, sharing stories and other immersive activities. Today, our Year 2’s had a wonderful session altogether, delivered by local plant experts Tiny Tree - the children created their own mini terrariums, their very own living world in a jar.

We’ve had live workouts with over 100 children joining in with our Head of PE Ms Buehler; it’s so important for us to keep active and moving during these restrictive times.

The staff have been connecting via Zoom at ‘playtimes’ for informal chats which has been great fun too. Our Social Committee are running a full programme of after-school Zoom events to support staff wellbeing through connecting and ‘downtime’ activities

Our new staff who are excited to be joining us in August have been connected to a ‘buddy’ to support and welcome them to our community, as they prepare to join our ever-expanding team.

Next week we will connect virtually with our Governors for our third and final meeting of the academic year

The joys of connecting, socialising and having fun together is still crucial for keeping our spirits up. Across all channels in our City Campus community, we are finding imaginative and fruitful ways to stay connected in these unique times. 

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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 21ST MAY 2021 - OPPORTUNITIES TO DO GOOD

Ms Dennison, Ms Betts and Ms Okill join 'PJ Day' fundraiser to support the school's Charity Partners

This week at City Campus we have had a strong focus on supporting our chosen charities.

However tough we are finding these challenging times we are lucky enough to be able to always find the silver linings.

Many more communities are not so lucky and it is important that we reach out and  support each other in whatever way we can, however big or however small.

As part of their ‘Charity’ topic this term, Year 5 have been learning about local charities here in Bangkok. In particular they have been researching Second Chance Bangkok (SCB) and the wonderful work they do with the community of Khlong Toei.

SCB relies on donations which creates employment and they also run an upcycling project transforming clothing into beautiful bags and giftware.

Ms Kearns and the Year 5 children organised two events for our school community, to support the fantastic causes at SCB. Firstly a Donations Drive to collect dried food goods and secondly a  'PJ Day'  for the whole school community to take part in today.

Whether in the office or at home on Zoom, all of the City Campus children and staff took part to have some fun and more importantly to raise awareness and raise money for this wonderful organisation.

Meanwhile earlier this week, our dedicated Community Engagement team set out for a 'big shop' at their local Makro store to buy essential supplies for SCB and another one of our charity partners SOS Thailand. The team purchased masks, food, water, cooking equipment, hygiene products and hand sanitiser. 

Finally to top of a fantastic week of giving, City Campus was able to make a 35,000THB donation to worldwide children's charity Unicef. Thank you to all who have donated to the school’s Charity Fund so far, you have made this all possible.

 
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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 14TH MAY 2021 - TAKE A BREAK BAGS

I drove to work this morning with ‘Bear Nobel’ (who worked from home with me last week) by my side, so I could film the announcement of this week's House Point winners in school (the correct House shirt must be worn for the big reveal!). 

As I reached the school gates, I was delighted to see all the ‘Take a Break Bags' were lined up beautifully, ready for our families to collect with exciting activities to pursue together (away from a screen). There is a warm welcome as there always is from Loong Jai, our wonderful loyal and friendly security guard.

These bags represent the spirit and the drive of my team - from the inspiration for the content, the creativity of the teachers and the fabulous team work, energy and commitment to have them ready in time for the weekend for the children.

Families drive up to collect the bags and we have the opportunity to see some of the children’s excited smiling faces...My spirits were lifted, even before I reached my desk.

Here in Thailand we continue to navigate our situation as many more cases of COVID-19 are being reported. I am generally a very optimistic and positive person, but I know that many of us are beginning to feel deflated with all the continued uncertainty. 

However, I remain extremely proud of the dedication of our students, our wonderful parents and our amazing staff team.

 
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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 7TH MAY 2021 - YOU ARE UNIQUE

As we start the month of May - with the school site closed and online learning in full swing - it does seem fitting that our value of the month is ‘Uniqueness’.

We are in unique times, and everyone is experiencing and coping with the challenges in their very  own way. It is really important to hold on to a sense of ‘self’ who you are, your values, goals and what you stand for. We need to stay strong.

To be a unique person means that you are one of a kind and no other person is exactly like you. This uniqueness partly comes from within, shown through our actions and behaviours. 

Bella, one of our founding pupils and a City Campus alumni, wrote a wonderful insightful and progressive award-winning book called Lemon Boi. The story follows a restless yellow lemon who looks at other fruits and decides to try out different identities and appearances. The moral of the story is that we must learn to be our unique selves and not try to fit into any particular box, develop your own sense of identity and be yourself…...

As we focus on uniqueness this month, why not try to embrace it and  develop yourself further, discover more and explore your true self…….

The quote reflection in our community this month is: “As we grow as unique individuals we learn to respect the uniqueness of others.”

Before the recent school site closure, Ms Dennison gave a special reading of Bella's award-winning book, Lemon Boi. Watch here:


 
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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 2ND APRIL 2021 - SONGKRAN

We are here! We have reached the end of Term 2 and the Songkran holidays begin!

...I say this with a tinge of sadness and anxiety as Thailand enters another period of rising COVID cases. We all await news and information of the restrictions and safety measures that will be put in place over the holiday period.

Songkran is an important event in Thailand’s Buddhist calendar; it is a festival of water and marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘passing’ or ‘approaching’.

This year, the streets won’t be filled with crowds of people throwing buckets of water, neither will we see water pistols being used and the familiar trepidation of being absolutely soaked (and the thrill of soaking absolutely everyone one in the vicinity!) will be replaced with something quieter and more reflective to start the new year.

What remains the same however is family.

Appreciation of family is an important aspect of the festival, with many Thai people making their way to their home towns to spend time with relatives. Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran, where water is poured on Buddha images and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a mark of respect. It is a time to refresh, to revitalise and to reset the balance.

I wish you a positive and refreshing period of revitalisation and reset over the coming weeks: whether you are in Thailand and celebrating the festival or – for that matter - wherever you may be in the world. 

What will this year bring we wonder? We have had so many challenges already. Nevertheless, I take solace in the knowledge we have all travelled through them together, we have built resilience together and we have learnt how to manage scenarios we never thought possible. We have seen the world from a totally different perspective…and sometimes, perhaps, that’s necessary. We will remain strong and hopeful.

I wish you a beautiful and graceful start to the year.

Happy Songkran Everyone!
 
สวัสดีวันสงกรานต์
 
        sà-wàt-dee wan Songkran
 
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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 2ND APRIL 2021 - RESPONSIBILITY

This week, our new ‘Value of the Month’ is launched for  April - ‘Responsibility’. 

I talk a lot about coming together as a community; with this I also mention the importance of a sense of personal responsibility too. 

What I mean by that is taking responsibility for yourself; for your actions and words and for your decisions and choices. 

We all make both good and bad choices; no matter what age we are. It is only through taking responsibility for our choices, both the good and the bad, that we can reflect, take full ownership of our actions and allow ourselves to learn from them and most importantly to grow, mature and change. 

The past twelve months - for myself and for us all - have seen unprecedented change to our daily lives. Many things outside of our control have dictated the ways in which we interact with others, how we travel and how we live. But in taking responsibility for our own reactions and emotions; for how flexible we allow ourselves to be and how willing we are to see the silver linings (however small!) I believe we take back a sense of control. 

This is the message that I will be taking to all of our children over the next month. I believe a sense of responsibility over personal actions and decisions dovetails so naturally with a wider sense of responsibility for your friends, your family and your community. 

As our children grow and as many of them will, I believe, take up positions in life with great influence - I hope that this message of responsibility is remembered...and that ultimately, it starts with yourself. 


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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 26TH MARCH 2021 - COMMUNITY

This week I’ve been thinking about community. Specifically, I was thinking about a sense of community which many of us strive for and which, for a few, they’re incredibly lucky to already be a part of. 

I feel incredibly lucky. It goes without saying that I very much feel a huge sense of community when I’m here at City Campus and I speak a lot about this; about our families and our staff, via social media and other digital channels...

...last weekend however, I got the chance to thank our community in person for the first time since lockdown. 
On Saturday 20 March we hosted an Easter Family Fun Day here on campus; a celebration of colour, fun and (yes, that’s right…) COMMUNITY!

There was so much happening! We had Easter crafts and games, a swimming competition, live music and singing….we had extremely cute animals from our friends at Farm de Lek, which the children loved to feed and experience up close, we had a fairground train ride, photo booth and even some colourful clowns walking around making balloon animals...and I haven't even mentioned the many many market stalls selling delicious food, drink and craft products. 

That’s when I started thinking about community - the seed that has been in my mind all week. It dawned on me how much I had missed that physical interaction - the smiles, the spontaneous conversations and laughter - that only comes from real and interactive engagement. 

I was so happy to be able to be part of an event which thanked our community and which reminded me again about how much we all share. I believe the sense of belonging to something - the interdependence which comes from this - is such a positive thing. It's certainly true that we teach our children about independence and personal responsibility - but this goes hand-in-hand, I believe, with an acknowledgement of belonging; membership to a shared feeling of connectedness. 

This weekend, I hope you are able to find your sense of community in whatever guise that might be. The wonderful thing about a sense of community is exactly that - it’s a sense. A feeling. There is no set structure or organisational right or wrong. It’s a sense of belonging to something - and wanting to belong to something - which I believe we all share.  

Please take a moment to think about all that you’re part of; the people and the shared experiences that bring you together with others - and take a moment to be thankful for your community, wherever they may be.   


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PRINCIPAL'S BLOG - 19TH MARCH 2021 - A DAY OF HAPPINESS

Tomorrow, 20th March, is International Day of Happiness

It’s been a dedicated day to be happy since 2013. In fact, it was the United Nations (UN) which first celebrated International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of this vital emotion in the lives of people all around the world. 

Six years ago the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were set out with the aim to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness. 

Each year the United Nations invites everyone; of every age; every classroom, business and government to join in the celebration of this international day and I think it’s one of the very best: a whole day dedicated to feeling happy! 

In preparation for tomorrow, City Campus embraced their own happiness day today by inviting everyone to dress in clothes that made them feel happy and to style their hair differently in ‘Wacky Hair Day’. The purpose was to make us all smile and have fun - as well as raising money for our 3 chosen charities: Scholars of Sustenance, Second Chance Bangkok and UNICEF.  

The day started with happy tunes being blasted out through the school's sound system; children and staff dancing into school in their colourful creative attire!

Year 2 children were amazingly confident in their polished assembly which launched our special day. Children shared what makes them happy  - and friends and family were top of the list! They also made pledges of happiness and told us about the importance of sharing happiness with others. It reminded me that a smile is contagious and the words of the song they sang so beautifully reflected that sentiment:

When you're smilin', when you're smilin'
The whole world smiles with you
When you're laughin', when you're laughin'
The sun comes shinin' through

I invite everyone to write down the things that make you happy. I bet you’ll be surprised how long that list will be! Then, like the children, make a pledge of what you will commit to doing to ensure our world is a happy place….

3, 2, 1….go! 


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