To understand the concept of leadership on a global scale, young people must be exposed to the many facets and challenges of today’s ever-changing world. By doing so, it helps students to develop a broadened outlook and to become agents of change – successful individuals who are astute in addressing pertinent issues and solving complex problems. This sort of exposure gives rise to key movers and shakers in the global landscape, who will be ultimately equipped with the right skills and abilities to positively influence those around them.

These capabilities stem from the development of a young person’s ‘natural’ inclination to comprehend issues that cut across wide-ranging boundaries, transcending borders, ethnicity and gender. The comprehension of these boundaries underpins the importance of exposure from a young age, by guiding them to navigate the parameters of respect and goodwill.

One effective way this is accomplished is by allowing young people to socialize in a setting where they are able to meet people from diverse backgrounds. This is the sort of environment that will prime young individuals to become global citizens who have a good grasp over the interwoven fabric of society, by shaping their attitudes, ideals and principles through proper nurturing.

A Global Leadership Program that offers quality exposure

Pickering College has formulated a curriculum that fosters highly successful students through its Global Leadership Program, an internationally-recognized initiative where young students learn to become agents of courageous, ethical and positive change, in line with Quaker values.

Focusing on developing leadership skills and potential in each student from a global perspective, the program ensures that students are equipped to understand and address complex global issues through a carefully-planned curriculum, co-curricular opportunities, community service, authentic experiential learning opportunities, educational partnerships and cross-disciplinary independent projects. The program also equips students to pursue their passions, post-secondary studies and careers to be effective leaders in a globally competitive and rapidly-changing world.

Located in Canada, in Newmarket, Ontario, Pickering College represents a diversity of cultures, religions and perspectives as its residential program brings international students from many different countries. Boarding students from Grade 7 to Grade 12, learn from each other and work together in a collaborative co-educational environment, developing mutual respect for each other and cultivating a deeper understanding of other nations and cultures.

By working with others locally and globally through transformational partnerships, travel, exchanges, community service opportunities and technological communication, students experience and appreciate what it means to be an active and responsible global citizen.

Experiential learning

Experiential learning is a key part of Pickering College’s Global Leadership Program, ensuring students at every grade level immerse themselves in opportunities that support global competencies in every facet of their schooling experience.

The school has an outdoor education property where children have a dedicated space to explore the outdoors and familiarize themselves with the natural world. Through nature walks, snowshoeing and outdoor photography sessions, outdoor education encourages self-discovery as well as the spirit of team-building.

Students who graduate from 2017 onwards will earn the Pickering College Global Leadership Diploma by meeting these values. This diploma will meet and exceed the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

The school has three aligned yet distinct programs: The Foundation Years (Junior School – Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5); The Pillar Years (Middle School – Grades 6 to 8) and The Capstone Years (Senior School – Grades 9 to 12). The academic instruction has been tailored to each specific age group, which culminates in the Global Leadership Diploma.

Uniqueness through diversity and co-education

In a presentation entitled “Co-education Amid Controversy,” at the York School in January 2014, Dr. Joel Westheimer told an audience of independent schools that co-education is the most conducive environment for developing justice-oriented citizens as it gives students an opportunity to explore and prepare for a diverse and democratic society.

He also said if a school’s goals are broader than success on standardized tests, they should care not only about whether students learn to read and write but also about what is worth reading and how students can use what they learn to change the world.

As advocates for co-education, Quakers believe that men and women are equal, which is why they also believed in the need for students to study the same subjects. In a co-educational environment, the Global Leadership Program is where boys and girls learn to interact with one another to prepare them to take on the future.

Upon leaving Pickering College, students will be involved in situations where they will be exposed to a variety of differing viewpoints and where they will cultivate informed skills in order to contribute meaningfully. Through the co-educational environment, the school’s students will achieve solid academic performance, and will be able to interact with anyone and learn about real equality— along the lines of gender, race, language and culture—as boys and girls learn to relate to one another and work together.

Although Pickering College has undergone many transformations over its 174-year history, it has remained committed to providing students with the best possible education, allowing them to learn, grow and to become global citizens.

Schooling is about social emotional development, as well as academics, which is why both citizenship and democracy are pre-disposed to co-education. Citizenship is promoted best through a school that embodies as rich a diversity possible— a vital aspect of a democratic society.

Immersing students with real-world situations opens up their minds and dispels myths as it fosters understanding and builds cooperation. Diversity of any kind, when it is integrated into the school’s educational environment, is the essence of real-life education and is at the heart of character development.

This article is sponsored by Pickering College, an independent day and boarding school for boys and girls. Founded in 1842 as a Quaker school – and established in Newmarket, Ontario in Canada since 1909 – Pickering College aims to be a leader in education, inspiring individuals to become enlightened citizens who meet high standards for lifelong growth and learning. The school develops and instils in its students the attributes, values, knowledge, self-confidence and the courage to be successful in life. Students not only perform well academically, but develop the leadership needed to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

All images courtesy of Pickering College