Our School - Staff 23 Nov 2017

Global recognition for CIS’ Outdoor Discovery Centre

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

The Canadian International School’s (CIS) Lakeside outdoor discovery centre (ODC) has been named one of the world’s top 100 innovative projects in education. This recognition comes from Finland’s HundrED, an organisation that celebrates inspiring innovations in K-12 education. HundrED was established as part of Finland’s 100th anniversary, to help spread the word about unique and fresh ideas in education. Its mission is to discover new and bold initiatives and encourage schools around the globe to connect and exchange ideas.

So how did the ODC make this exclusive list? In short, it was a perfect fit! The HundrED team looked for inspiring innovators and innovations in education. They also looked at their impact, and whether they were “scalable” (ie could be reproduced elsewhere in different shapes and sizes).  

There is no doubt the ODC is innovative. It leads the way in providing a unique opportunity for children to experience nature in the middle of a dense populated modern city. Since its launch 3 years ago, the centre has been a source of inspiration for schools in Singapore, around the region and across the globe. The ODC’s impact grows every day as it continues to enhance the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of every student who enters it, from kindergarten to grade 6. The project has proven to be scalable, and a pioneer in outdoor education spaces. Many schools have followed CIS’ lead and been inspired to design their own version of an ODC. Our own Tanjong Katong (TK) campus now has its own version of an ODC.

To celebrate the launch of HundrED and their showcase of the world’s top 100 innovators and, innovations in education, our Lakeside Primary Principal, JoAn Radojkovich, the person with the ODC vision, was invited to HundrED’s Innovation Summit in Finland. The 3-day summit programme consisted of lectures, case studies, workshops and discussions delivered by the world´s leading education innovators. At the summit, JoAn shared her expertise on the thinking behind innovation and bringing change to education, and learnt about the great work other HundrED delegates are doing in K-12 education around the globe. It was an enviable opportunity to showcase CIS’ success in bringing innovation to an international school environment.

Students at both CIS campuses, Lakeside and Tanjong Katong, now benefit from everything their ODC has to offer, but when we talk about innovation at CIS, the ODC is just only the tip of the iceberg. Innovation is everywhere at CIS, and a walk around our campuses provide the evidence. You will see grade 6 students taking STEAM activities out of the makerspaces and into classrooms as they design solutions to real life problems; grade 4 students taking the time to teach their teachers about new technology; a variety of activities occurring in a purpose built mini theatre; STEAM activities in Kindergarten through the use of green screen and iPad technology; our cooking facility being used to explore science principles as well as producing food for eating; composting and alternative sources of energy be designed and tested indoors and outdoors; or CIS teachers teaching colleagues new approaches to learning and teaching; CIS staff teaching ‘tech’ skills such as ‘Flipgrid’, ‘Seesaw’, the design of personalised courses on Khan Academy or Doc Appender, which tracks student development through the school year.

Our teachers are also committed to adding value to the wider educational community. In November, our Lakeside campus hosted 86 principals and curriculum leaders from Malaysia who came to a CIS Educator’s Forum to learn about best practices in the PYP. The Educator’s Forum was an initiative brought to CIS by JoAn two years ago from the desire to make connections to other thought leaders in education. The focus has been on sharing  21st century teaching and learning solutions among local and regional educators.

Innovation is at the core of 21st century learning and teaching, and CIS is proud to be leading the way.