The world’s future movers and shakers are not those who confine themselves within a box, but those who understand that boxes stifle creativity and mindful exploration.
Thinking outside the box is important in a world that seeks originality. Thus, being different and feeling emboldened to be yourself— rather than a cookie-cutter breed— is an essential first step towards standing out from a crowd.
Similarly, schools are platforms that foster critical thinking and intellectual growth among students, which are crucial skills for the future of work.
But more than that, schools can also play a role towards helping students discover themselves by promoting opportunities for them to explore new activities that unleash their talent and broaden their horizons rather than stifle creativity.
An inspiring environment that fosters creativity and innovation
Igniting students’ passion for learning goes beyond rote learning. Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School in Malaysia has injected creativity and innovation into its environment to inspire students to learn.
The institution is a coeducational boarding and day school for students from Pre-K to Grade 12 in Forest City, an ecologically green city in the country’s southernmost state Johor. The school gives students a unique chance to enjoy an American education in Malaysia as either day or boarding students.
Unlike other traditional schools, Shattuck-St. Mary’s focus is not merely on students’ academic attainment. The school has learning spaces and resources that not only help with students’ learning but those that build their creativity, rigor and substance— prized skills in the 21st century workforce.
For example, the school’s weCreate® Center is both a space and philosophy that stresses creativity, collaboration and innovation. There’s something for everyone at weCreate®, which helps students pursue their individual passions through a plethora of activities that foster creativity.
These include studios which feature digital production (including video editing, animation & digital photography); fashion design (textiles); graphic design, e-design & architecture; music editing & recording; robotics; woodwork, electronics & engineering; in addition to a general craft area.
Active involvement in any of these areas can serve as a useful way to cultivate students’ interest in the field.
Global community, global mindset
Apart from helping students develop crucial skills to become future leaders and problem-solvers, Shattuck-St. Mary’s also offers students a chance to be part of a global society, in addition to becoming a global citizen.
Here, students live and study alongside local and international classmates from diverse countries such as Singapore, Japan, Korea, Canada, the UK and US. Sharing the experience of being away from home with an international group of students in their formative years is a strong start to lifelong friendships for students. This prepares them for immersion in a melting pot of cultures, developing a high level of cultural awareness, which is essential in our increasingly globalized world.
Additionally, the school also boasts an experienced and international teaching faculty who bring a wealth of expertise to the American curriculum, based on the longstanding tradition of academic rigor and innovation established in Shattuck St. Mary’s School in Minnesota over the past 160 years. The majority (90 percent) of teachers are American while most others are native level speakers who come from countries such as Canada, the Philippines, the UK, Germany, Singapore and Malaysia.
At Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, students develop a love of learning not through teacher-centered lectures, but instead by learning to ask questions to inform deep understanding, developing trust with classmates and teachers, and by having the chance to test their knowledge on an ongoing basis through projects and presentations rather than a single test on a given day. This ensures that students are not only prepared for exams, but also for life.
Academic prowess aside, students also have access to the full range of school resources at designated times, including the pool, the weight room, the soccer pitch and the net sports. Excursions to the local malls, movie theatres, IKEA or even to Singapore are regularly scheduled and chaperoned by teachers to ensure students balance school with an active social life.
The school’s green location in Forest City makes it conducive for study. All the academic, residential and commercial properties in Forest City are adorned with vertical greeneries, sky gardens and rooftop garden systems that form a natural barrier against heat, reduce energy consumption, naturally purify the air, conserve rainwater and reduce noise.
Parents looking to send their children to live and study at Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School can take heart in knowing that their children will enjoy immeasurable personal growth. Also, those who join the full-time boarding program learn to live independently from their families and manage their time, which fosters independence and serves as excellent preparation for university life.
This experience culminates with a globally-respected qualification.