21 Jul, 2017
10 : 00
The 3rd floor of Building A on the Yew Chung International School of Beijing campus is in the midst of some serious remodeling, undergoing a much-needed makeover from a traditional “bells and cells” model of enclosed classrooms to a 21st century Learning Community.
This brand new section for Years 4 and 5 will resemble our Year 3 Learning Community. Through this spatial evolution, YCIS Beijing’s model of education can even more effectively shift its focus to creating capable learners who not only possess a depth of knowledge but also the adaptability, creativity, and critical thinking ability to find success in an unpredictable future.
Perhaps the most exciting section of each of our Learning Communities is the Maker’s Space, the community’s largest open area dedicated to fostering creativity in students.
A Space that Encourages Creativity
As its name implies, the Maker’s Space is the primary designated area in the community for making things. The physical features of the space match this mission. Equipped with sinks, the entire area is also wipe-clean, allowing students to run with wet, messy projects without the fear of ruining or damaging anything.
Student choice is also a major theme of the Learning Community, so students are provided with access to low storage areas in the Maker’s Space. This gives them access to a wide variety of safe creative materials that they can use freely for projects whenever they want.
The size of the space affords students the ability to work on large projects as a community as well. All 80 of our Year 3 students can work on art projects simultaneously, encouraging collaboration and sharing of ideas while they pursue their creative efforts.
Risk-taking Lifelong Learners
Beyond developing an innovative and creative mindset in students, creativity in the Maker’s Space also improves their willingness to take risks. Children are encouraged to make mistakes and learn through trial and error during their creative time in the space. They learn that failure is only temporary and through persistence, success can be achieved.
This opportunity for students to initiate and take charge of their own learning is pivotal to what the Learning Community seeks to accomplish. Through the challenges they surmount and the failures they overcome, students develop a lifelong passion for learning that they maintain throughout their lives.
The end result is a resilient learner that is willing to fully participate in tasks and activities without becoming discouraged.
An Integrative Approach to Learning
The Maker’s Space gives teachers the ability to incorporate hands-on projects seamlessly into their teaching plans in a variety of subjects, giving students more outlets for creativity beyond the traditionally creative curriculum of art and music classes. This encourages students to practice innovation in a classroom setting as well.
Technology is also integrated into the learning approach in the form of an interactive whiteboard, which gives teachers the ability to project images on through laptops and iPads. One of the most effective uses is livestreams of work that students are doing at their individual stations projected on the screen for the whole class to see instantly. Students can also interact with the technology, using the same iPads to take pictures of their work, then saving it online via our digital portfolio platform to share it with their parents directly.
The Maker’s Space, as part of our Learning Community, gives teachers the power to engage their classes in creative projects more regularly and freely than ever before. This added flexibility is just one more way in which YCIS Beijing molds its young learners to become successful global citizens.