The importance of Round Square at RBIS

October 4, 2019

One of our school’s main tasks besides the transfer of knowledge is preparing our children for a successful life in the 21st century. In order for that to happen RBIS believes a holistic education approach is the key. 

The concept of holistic education traces back to the 1700’s, when philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau espoused the values of developing a person to become the very best they can be. However it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that the idea became fully recognised. One of the key figures in all this, was Kurt Hahn, a German educator who believed that students could only really understand life by experiencing it in many exciting and challenging ways. By testing themselves, students would be able to develop their courage, generosity, imagination, principles and resolution. Ultimately, they would develop the skills and abilities to become the guardians and leaders of the future.

Kurt Hahn also believed that the greatest thing one could learn – and inspire in others – was compassion and leadership. Inspired by this principle Jocelin Winthrop Young, a pupil of the two schools Mr Hahn established, had an idea to found a permanent association of schools that shared in these beliefs, and whose students were prepared to provide practical support to communities in need. In 1966, King Constantine of Greece chaired a meeting of the first seven schools that would form the association, later named after the Round Square building at Gordonstoun, where the first conference took place in 1967. The Round Square network was born!

RBIS is a member of this valuable network which consists of almost two hundred like-minded schools around the globe who share a commitment beyond academic excellence. Round Square schools connect and collaborate to offer world-class programmes and experiences, developing global competence, character and confidence in our students. We are like-minded in our shared understanding of the hardwired link between character education and academic success. We also believe that in order to equip our students for positive, active and engaged global citizenship we must offer them more than academic knowledge and qualifications.

As a result RBIS offers activities and events built around six themes, the IDEALS, drawn from the theories of educationalist Kurt Hahn: Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service . These IDEALS provide a common platform, shared by all schools in the network, around which we can collaborate, swap and share learning resources and participate together in joint activities such as conferences, exchanges and academic projects.

In academic year 2018-2019 at RBIS there was a recycling bin project (environmentalism), a black history week (internationalism), a residential in Kanchanaburi (adventure), an international day (internationalism), a trip to the United Nations (democracy/service), a conference in China (all ideals), a student council (democracy), a plastic bottle top competition (environmentalism), a beach clean-up (environmentalism), charity events (service), a community service project in Phitsanuloke (service), a student council (democracy/leadership) etc.

Next academic year many existing as well as new opportunities related to the six ideals will be integrated in our curriculum together with more chances to go abroad. There will be worldwide conferences, service projects and student exchange programmes on offer for your children to join. 


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