Service Learning at Greensteds International School
The philosophy of service learning aims to broaden students' grasp of real world issues, guiding them towards applying skills acquired in the classroom to community service, experiential learning and sustainability. For the duration of this term, all Greensteds teachers and students have been actively involved in service learning, usually on Thursdays from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm. In accordance with the school's vision ‘to provide a dynamic, holistic and enriching environment…’the service learning program at Greensteds has three main strands:
The environmental strand, led by Mr. Knowles- strives to increase students’ awareness of their impact on the environment and the importance of a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. The approach to caring for the school environment is varied: to plant 3,000 trees this year, sell seedlings to other schools, effectively recycle plastic bottles, and reduce the school's energy consumption by replacing the bulbs with energy efficient, motion detecting light sources. It goes beyond the confines of the school - the group is also taking local tea companies to task about their unnecessary use of plastic wrappers. This aims to facilitate ambitious contributions to safeguarding Mother Earth for future generations.
The social strand, led by Ms. Muthee– endeavours to develop social awareness and enhance teamwork. Students in this strand drew on their own experiences while creating a welcome pack for new students. In this way they hope to aid the new students smoothly integrate into the Greensteds community. They also hosted children of different ages from Miti Mingi Orphanage in the school, entertaining them with various activities including swimming, art and ICT activities on a weekly basis. The economic strand, led by Mr. Omotto– aspires to raise funds for charity and related school projects.
They also carried out activities aimed at marketing the school. Students in this strand carried out activities such as cleaning staff cars, selling roses and taking photos during Christmas dinners. This instils in them a sense of responsibility since they have to run the activities themselves.
The program is conducted on a rotational basis, whereby each student will experience one of the strands each term. Overall, the expectation is to foster responsibility in students, for the environment, and the less fortunate and financial management.
After completing tasks in each one, they will be awarded a Greensteds Sustainability Certificate.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge once stated: ‘I wish our clever young poets would remember- poetry (is the) best words in the best order.’ Well this term Greensteds saw its share of clever young poets whose challenge was to remember those very same ‘best words’ in their ‘best order’. I must say, even Coleridge would have been proud.
The event, organised by Miss Peters, was a fantastic celebration of poetry that saw every single Junior School member memorising a poem, and twenty one junior students performing for their houses. It was an incredible feat of achievement, realised with such pleasure and fun. I had the privilege of opening the event with a comic poem by John Cooper-Clarke, and was followed by five students from the Senior School who had worked with Ms. Abdallah to prepare for the event.
Next, the professionals took to the stage... The audience of parents, teachers and Junior School students were knocked for six by the skill of the Junior School performers. From comedy performances to moving poems about national pride, the recitals had it all. Miss Kwambo’s environmental club even made a guest performance whilst the judges deliberated, complete with audience participation!
The winners of the competition in age order were: Nina with ‘It’s Time to Say Goodbye’; Dwayne with ‘The Fly’; Dia with ‘I am Phillipino’; Amanda with ‘The Baby of the Family’; Jollyne with ‘An Alien Stole My Underpants’ and Riana with ‘From a Railway Carriage’.
Congratulations to them all for their inspiring performances. I am certain they will continue to delight audiences with their confidence and skill in future.
If, as Baudelaire once said, ‘dancing is poetry with arms and legs’, then the hall was full of superb dancing this morning. For sure.
Science Week is Greensteds’ annual celebration of Science, in which students from Years 5 - 9 compete for their house. This year, students worked within their year groups to carry out and evaluate a variety of experiments.
This year’s overall winner was Batian House, who conducted a range of experiments such as: How Much Mass Can an Egg Withstand and Does Listening to Music Affect Concentration? In a speech to students, Mr. Pearce (Head of Science), stated that the effort from all participants ‘was phenomenal’. The students had great fun conducting and presenting their investigations. Natasha from Year 5 was so excited for the day that she woke up at 4am. She says that she enjoyed the week because ‘when you experiment, you get the real answers’.
Eva Maria told reporters that the week was enjoyable because ‘we learn to work…as a team’. Rianna was more excited about learning ‘to outdo the competition.’ However, one student had a more cynical view of the proceedings, commenting, ‘we learnt how to bribe judges properly’.
Her wishes to remain anonymous have been respected, thanks to a large number of toffees exchanging hands! It wasn’t just the Year 5s who were excited by the practical and competitive application of science. Melissa from Year 8 said, It was lit! Her classmate Ashney commented, It’s so exciting! Maryanne said, The Science Fair is a time to learn. The enthusiasm and co-operation of students from all the year groups involved made the day a great success.
One student, Bhuvan, whose New Year’s Resolution was to go to Mars, had an unexpected role this year in Science Week. His group was experimenting with how much weight an egg could withstand and reached a sticking point when their egg proved more than a match for their many weighted containers. One student told the story:
We put all the water bottles on it and still it wouldn’t break so we put our classmate on it.
Like the true scientist he is, Bhuvan explained the moment clearly to our reporters:
They told me to step on it and then it broke. I felt a tingle in my toes.
His team was very grateful for his important role in making their experiment a success. However, Bhuvan has said that he wouldn’t consider taking part in the science fair again as part of the apparatus. He preferred his other role as a scientist.
Despite all the fun of the fair, Greensteds’ conspiracy theorists and political activists were up in arms on Saturday when two groups of Year 5 scientists claimed that Nelion students have an advantage in sport. The results of their experiment suggested that Nelion’s yellow t-shirt would help students to stay cooler in the sunlight than Kibo’s red or Batian’s dreaded dark blue! Further to this, scientist Valini stated, ‘warm colours often evoke feelings of happiness and energy’, perhaps furthering the advantage of Nelion’s sunshine yellow clan. As of yet, Mr. Murray-Walker has made no comment.
By celebrating the positive power of the internet, the 2018 Safer Internet Day theme of “Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you” encouraged everyone to join the global movement, to participate, to make the most of the internet’s potential to bring people together. At Greensteds International School, the Technology faculty in collaboration with the ICDL coordination team spearheaded the marking of this noble day by involving staff and students in an activity.
This involved an introductory speech and PowerPoint presentation by the Director of ICT and Coordinator of Prep School ICT on Safer Internet Day. This was followed by a key note speech by the Head of Technology faculty, Mr. Omotto on issues surrounding promoting respect using online technology. Students also made various presentations, including Prince (Year 12) who showcased his web design prowess.
Not to forget Hawi, Epiphany, Jacqueline, Natalya and Lucy who made outstanding presentations. The students then went for the first lesson in their usual classrooms where they participated in three different Safer Internet Day activities. This was coordinated by various subject teachers. The day was very successful, with presentations from the Sustainability Faculty giving prominence to internet security and a captivating recital in Spanish.
The Tournament of Champions (TOC) brings together the best of the World Scholar’s Cup hosted at Yale University in the United States of America. The TOC is the pinnacle event for the World Scholars Cup which brings together the top teams from the three Global Rounds (Athens, Hanoi and Cape Town). Over 1 000 students from all over the world participated. This is the first time as a school we are participating in this event. Greensteds was represented by 8 Students who had qualified from the Greece round held in July. The students won many medals in various categories and as a school we are proud of their achievement.
Mr Maosa World Scholars Patron
During the Tournament of Champions at Yale University, I experienced many firsts. I experienced autumn for the first time (and resolved never to complain about tropical weather). I ate Yale Dining Hall food for the first time. I visited some of the best universities in the world, two of which (Harvard and MIT University) are Ivy League schools. I realized that there are opportunities lurking beyond the confines of my comfort zone, just waiting for me to reach out. I was also severely jetlagged.
The World Scholars Cup has helped me broaden my horizons and aspire to continuously challenge myself. My only regret is that there was not enough time to soak in all the new experiences and make more priceless memories.
The charities committee is committed to making a difference within the Greensteds community. In line with our seven pillars, the committee seeks to contribute towards noble courses in and around Nakuru.
This year, the committee will be working with Patrick Chege Memorial Home in Nakuru, which is a home for children whose parents have succumbed to HIV. It is our desire to impart knowledge and skills that they will use in their future lives, hence the recent I.C.T enrichment Saturday at Greensteds. Other enrichment programs including guidance and counselling, swimming, art and music will take place between now and July.
It is our hope that these little activities will bring something new and vibrant to the children at the memorial home.
Languages Day Showcases the Crème de la Crème of Greensteds’ Languages Talent
Languages Day at Greensteds took place on Tuesday 12 th June, culminating in a variety performance for parents in the main hall. This debut event was a huge success and provided a chance for students to celebrate other cultures and languages. According to one teacher, it ‘was really heartwarming’.
During the day, students had a special timetable which included a carousel of activities such as: French and Swahili games, French craft, Swahili dancing and dressing up, kanga designing with mottos, and exploring famous French artwork. At break and lunch students had fun with flag face painting and a cultural photobooth. At lunchtime they enjoyed traditional Kenyan food and at break they were served French pastries with printed menus in French, Spanish and Swahili.
The Senior and Junior school students worked well together in the afternoon to produce a highly entertaining show. Susan, who was in the winning senior group, said that her ‘favourite part was coming up with the choreography and seeing what worked. Everyone participated. No one was left out. We enjoyed it.’ Another student from the winning group, Maryann, said that her ‘favourite part was practising. It was hard but fun.’ A year eight student, Medina, performed a dance and two poems: ‘Le Chat au Soleil’ and an unnamed Spanish poem. Medina noted that the task was particularly helpful for her pronunciation which her teachers helped her to perfect. She commented that ‘it was amazing to discover people’s culture and languages’ and ‘helpful for the little ones because they can look up to me and the other senior students.’
The Junior students were just as inspirational and made their teachers ‘very proud’. According to Miss Peters who jointly organised the day, the students were ‘amazing’. The Year Twos performed ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ in French;
Year Threes performed an incredible acapella version of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’; Year Fours did a brilliant job remembering a poem, particularly as they had spent the previous week out on a school trip; Year Five and Six ‘just smashed it’ with Swahili poems, French dances and great stage presence. Mr. Murray-Walker, who teaches French, praised all the students for their excellent French accents.
This term has been a highly successful one on the sports front, with the highlight being our second place in the ‘Up Country’ Swimming Gala with a record number of points. We have not beaten Turi in their home swimming pool for as long as we all can remember but we did this time! The squad goes on to the IAPS Gala at Peponi, Nairobi on Saturday 3rd March and I am sure it will be a great day for Greensteds.
The hockey season has begun very well. The Under 9 boys and girls teams are undefeated and should do well in the IAPS Championships in March at Hillcrest School. The Under 11s and Under 13s have also been very competitive and their IAPS competition comes at Kenton in a few weeks’ time.
We finished half term with the Junior School Inter-House Music competition. This extravaganza of dancing and singing gets better and better and the inclusion of a cultural dance this year was a wonderful idea by Mr. Watatua. The eventual winners were Kibo, with Batian following closely at second place. However, all three houses excelled and the children and teachers should be very proud of their achievements.
Next half-term we look forward to the Spelling Bee competition and Well-being week which also incorporates ‘Unga baby’ day. The children will be taking assessments during the half-term also and the teachers will prepare them in class. If there is any extra revision required then the children will be told in advance. These assessments help us track the progress of the children. As there is so much going on at school on a daily basis, it is easy to forget that we are also pushing the children to make excellent progress academically.