Learning 8 Jul 2020

Developing life skills through CAS

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is one of the three core elements that IB students must complete as part of their Diploma Programme (DP). CAS provides students with the opportunity to: reflect on what they’ve learned, develop strategies for personal growth, and embrace new challenges and contribute to local and global communities. We look back on some of the interesting student initiatives of 19-20.  

What does CAS stand for? 

According to IB, CAS focuses on 3 areas:

  • Creativity – arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
  • Activity – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP.
  • Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

Through such activities/projects, students are then required to demonstrate or develop the following skills:

  • initiative

  • perseverance

  • collaboration, problem solving, decision making etc

To give CAS more context, we look back on some of the interesting student initiatives of 19-20. 

Food bank committee
To raise awareness on food insecurity, a group of grade 11 students set up a Food Bank committee in conjunction with the Singapore charity Foodbank. Under the guidance of Ms Melissa Sit, MYP math teacher, the club worked closely with The Singapore Foodbank through monthly volunteering sessions at its headquarters. The club also participated in the Global Issues Network (GIN) and Service fair before the March break so they could spread awareness about Foodbank’s goal and various initiatives.

Sheetal, grade 11, said: “although our club activities have been impacted by Covid-19, our committee of 25 students from grades 7 to 9 are organising a food donation drive that will run when the current situation stabilises, either during the summer holidays or when school reopens. The goal is to encourage people to donate unwanted non-perishable food items instead of throwing them away.” 

As an Indian, homelessness is a global issue that is close to Rishi’s heart. After a chance meeting with billionBricks a year ago during Social Justice Week, the grade 12 decided to set up the BillionBricks service club as a part of the Global Issues Network (GIN) in school. His goals were not only to increase awareness about the issue of homelessness within the broader CIS community but also to raise funds for billionBricks so they can provide weatherHyde (an all-season life-saving tent) to homeless families and help them survive in harsh outdoor conditions as well as improve their quality of life. 

Through the sale of billionBricks merchandise before and during Social Justice Week 2020, Rishi’s club managed to raise a total of $500 that went to billionBricks. It might be a small achievement, but to Rishi, it was also a great opportunity for him to raise awareness of this important cause and learn valuable leadership skills. 

CIS x Redress 
Led by a group of grade 11 students (Angelina, Ruwaida, Candice, and Vy), the CIS x Redress club is a CAS initiative in partnership with REDRESS - a Hong Kong-based environmental NGO. Their goal is to actively engage the CIS community in making informed choices about their wardrobes. 

Students who join the club have the opportunity to learn about textile waste and develop their skills in clothing design for an exhibition in October 2020. 

A Youtube channel of healthy tips
Working or studying at home has become the new normal, no thanks to Covid-19. This, however, provided an opportunity for Sorarat and Sanya (grade 11s) to create a series of useful videos. From tips on how to manage one’s time to simple ways to relieve stress, their Youtube channel  contains a wealth of tips for people who may be struggling emotionally during this time. Although it started out as a CAS project, Sorarat and Sanya decided to create their own Youtube channel to share their content with the public. 

Sanya said, “we initially planned to make children’s books for Genesis School but the Covid-19 circuit breaker made it impossible to meet with the children personally so we had to change our plan. We brainstormed potential CAS project ideas that could be carried out virtually during the circuit breaker and came up with the idea of making videos.”  

Sayang Sayang
In the same spirit, a group of grade 12 students (Aryan, Elliot, Jan Martin and Xinxian) created a video and poster to raise awareness and funds for the Community Foundation of Singapore’s (CFS) Sayang Sayang Fund. CFS is an organisation supporting health care workers and vulnerable members of our society adversely affected by the COVID-19 situation. 

CAS projects enable our students to expand on their personal and interpersonal development through valuable experiences. In other words, CAS provides opportunities for students to grow not just academically, but also to learn important life skills like collaboration, creative thinking, and leadership. 

Note: These photos were taken pre-COVID, when masks and social distancing were not required.