At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, BASIS International Schools opened two new schools in China: BASIS International School Hangzhou and BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour. Both schools opened in September with more than 400 students on each campus; both will continue our network’s mission to provide our students with a transformative early childhood and K-12 education.

A fun team-building event for students and teachers

Prior to the start of school in September, BASIS International School Hangzhou held a team-building event to facilitate the relationship between students and teachers, and let them get to know each other outside of the classroom. It’s consistently beneficial when we help the children of teachers and staff to make friends with each other, and with local students.

The community building event took place at a private gym close to the campus–which is also the site for the school’s swim club and swim team. Over the course of several days, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., different grade levels came together each day for fun icebreaker games, activities, and continued English language immersion for the local students. Attendance for the event was great, and families were eager to participate–indeed, some students arrived early and waited for the event to start.

Dozens of 6th grade students showed up on the first day, and several dozen 7th graders followed on day two. On the final day of the event, many more 8th and 9th grade students showed up than had even signed up–but everyone was welcomed. Even Head of School Alan Wilkinson was part of the festivities, kicking off the day with icebreakers.

It proved to be a successful, extremely well-received, and very worthwhile several days.

From our teachers

The teachers and staff felt good about the experience, and we asked two teachers to share their thoughts:

“I thought the team building days were a fantastic way to build relationships with students and get to know them as people, and it made the transition for all of us a lot smoother. In just a short time, it felt like I was able to gain so much information about what the students were like. This will help in my lessons, my interactions with them, and tailoring my resources to some of them. Even with the students I do not teach, the event helped me gain an instant presence and familiarity with them, which has made my job a lot easier already. I’m so glad that I took part in the activities.

“Working for BASIS International Schools has been a privilege so far. All the staff I have met have gone above and beyond to help me settle into my new job and give me everything I need to feel appreciated within the school and socially in a new country far from home. I am so glad I chose to come and work for BASIS International Schools.The leadership of the school shows great emphasis on staff well-being. This has massively increased my productivity and my morale, which I very much hope will filter through to my delightful students and help me progress further in my career with BASIS International Schools in the years to come.”

– Andrew Ballantine, geography teacher, BASIS International School Hangzhou

“It was actually my idea to host this event. As I worked in Shenzhen previously, and saw the divide between expat (staff) students and local students, I wanted to be intentional about bringing all the students together, and try to avoid some of the issues we have encountered in the other schools. It’s quite tough for the staff kids through grades 4 and up, and as a staff parent, it obviously affects me personally.

“We want to do our jobs well, and part of the appeal of working in the international schools is having a place for our kids. So when our kids struggle socially, it can be tough on staff parents. I was able to witness a staff child start off the event in tears because the local students didn’t really speak to her. But then, I found a student who had gone to an international school and paired them together.

“By the end of the event, they were exchanging social media (because these kids don’t call each other). The same goes for helping all of the students make connections even before school started. It helped that everyone was new.

“I have a unique perspective because I assessed most of the kids, so they knew me as the lady who gave them the really hard test. They got to see me in a different light, and we laughed together, had lunch together.

It was cool to see the teachers and staff who had been working so hard in the onsite training finally meet these kids–the reasons for all of our hard work and preparation. When teachers commented on how much they loved seeing the students they would be teaching, something clicked for me. I’m so grateful to our teachers who helped bring this vision to fruition in such a beneficial and super fun way for our students.”

– Lily Lufuluabo, Primary Dean, BASIS International School Hangzhou

We look forward to sharing more on unique events like this one as the academic year continues!

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