It goes without saying: learning outdoors provides a refreshing new setting, adding a bit of variety to the monotony of the four classroom walls. Whether it’s examining certain types of creepy crawlies, leaves, species of butterflies, or using a compass or starting a gardening project, outdoor learning gives practical, real-world experience that kids love to soak up.
According to a study done by Play, naturally, “The powerful combination of a diversity of play experiences and direct contact with nature has direct benefits for children’s physical, mental and emotional health.” That’s not all. Those learning outdoors develop their creativity, problem-solving, independence, confidence and more. In a survey by the HAPPEN project, students said that they felt liberated outside the confining confines of the traditional classroom. They were able to express themselves more and had greater freedom to move around. They also stated that they were more engaged and enthusiastic about the learning process.
Teaching doesn’t have to follow a rigid classroom style; a small change such as stepping outside can have significant effects. Here are three APAC schools that provide the best setting for an education inside and outside the classroom.
Singapore American School
Picture 36 acres of open pathways, lush foliage, and room to explore. A two-acre natural rainforest used by science classes as a living laboratory. Solar panels producing one million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. An auditorium where an ensemble’s instruments are crisp and distinct, and a speaker’s words are clear and echo-free. This is the Singapore American School campus.
With a S$400 million campus upgrade project underway, SAS students are set for more unmatched learning opportunities. By 2026, they will have a flexible, functional, scalable, modular, sustainable and smart campus. It will be designed and constructed by world-renowned education architectural firm Fielding International and local award-winning China Construction Development Co. respectively.
“Our greatest asset as a school is our educators. They are essential in creating engaging and meaningful learning experiences for each and every student who comes to SAS,” shares Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Singapore American School. “We invest significantly in attracting, developing, and retaining some of the greatest teachers in the world. Our campus upgrade project represents one more way we are investing in our educators.”
The project is more than just an exercise in installing space-shifting, smart classrooms, adding a new collection of athletic fields, or meeting Net Zero energy, Singapore’s Green Mark Platinum or WELL standards. What sets SAS Reimagined apart is its vision to increase learning space by as much as 30% and play space by as much as 84% in a campus that can evolve with the shifting vagaries of the 21st century. To see how SAS is reimagining excellence, extraordinary care and possibilities, please visit the website here.
British International School Phuket
In a large open area of outstanding natural biodiversity, overlooked by hills covered with vestiges of rainforest, you will find the British International School Phuket. Set on this 44 acres of largely grassed sports fields and formal gardens is an English-medium, co-educational, day and boarding school.
“Known for its outstanding holistic education and its remarkably strong ‘academy’ structure and facilities, the British International School, Phuket offers a truly unique international education experience for both boarding and day students,” says Headmaster Simon Meredith. “In the exceptional and healthy environment of a tropical island and with a wide range of academic, artistic and sporting opportunities, it is quite simply an education like no other.”
BISP offers a chance to go further through both its IGCSE and IB Curriculum. It starts in small, flexible classes with some of the most dedicated teachers you’ll ever meet. From there, ideas expand and borders start to break down: between Math and Modern Foreign Languages, for example, or between Science and Dance, or between the campus community and the world at large.
BISP finds that the best way to balance high-intensity academics is by embracing all sorts of other experiences — from joining a sports team to acting in a play, from running a student club to volunteering on or off campus. Whether you are a day student or a boarder, life here is anything but ordinary. Most students stay busy. How could they not? From circus arts such as trapeze, drama club, and concert bands, to knitting, cooking, and public speaking, BISP offers it all.
British International School Ho Chi Minh City
At the British International School Ho Chi Minh City, students are ambitious; teaching teams are innovative; and the school environment is dynamic. “The academic success that we have achieved here comes about through rigour, hard work and discipline, but also through a very strong pastoral element that accompanies the emotional development of our students,” says Principal Anthony Rowlands.
At BIS HCMC, you’ll discover that learning is exciting. The school’s curriculum prepares students for both the IGCSE examinations and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. You’ll get drawn into unexpected and intriguing offerings such as the robotics programme; 3D design and manufacturing with 3D printers; and computer science and coding. You’ll learn to solve a set of challenges using a variety of sensors installed on robots like Ultraviolet Colour Sensors, Touch Sensors and Distance Sensors.
Supporting the classroom experience is a robust cocurricular programme that offers students the opportunity to put their learning into action. Cocurricular participation — playing soccer, dancing, acting in a musical or joining a rock band — brings to life the BIS HCMC mission. The school is all about deepening your understanding of inspiration and context, helping you acquire critical-thinking skills, translating concepts into myriad forms of expression.
“Our three campuses all have first class facilities resourced to the highest level and staffed with dedicated, skilled and committed teachers, ensuring that BIS education is amongst the very best available anywhere in the world,” says Rowlands.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International