At BASIS International School Hangzhou, we are introducing the house system as a way to build community among our students. While the house system is quite common in British schools, many educators from outside of the U.K. are unfamiliar with the idea. Especially as a non-boarding school, this is a very innovative idea for building community. Thanks to the popularity of the Harry Potter books, though, many of our teachers and staff members from other parts of the world have at least “heard of” the house system.
One of our British staff members, Dean of Grades 8 and 9 Dr. Brynn James, explained it well:
In short, it’s common in English schools for students to be divided up into “houses”–groups mixing students across grade and years. Throughout the school year, pupils earn points for their houses for good behavior, special accomplishments, competitions, and more. It can serve as a system for positive behavior management. Since each house includes kids from every grade, it fosters a sense of community throughout the school, too.”
Building this sense of community is our vision for the BASIS International School Hangzhou house system. With a brand new international school, building community is vital for staff, students, and parents alike. In our model, we have siblings and parents who may not see each other much during the course of the day who are able to connect as part of the same house. It’s also a cool way to connect our high school students to their much younger house members in their early education years, and espouse a sense of responsibility among older students.
The First House Competition
On Saturday, January 26th, we had our first ever house competition event, and it was a blast! The first house competition included a paper airplane contest, balloon shooting, and even a “who can clean up the most paper” (to help with cleaning all the materials used) challenge. Our House symbols–The Four Animals of the Chinese Constellations–were chosen through discussion with our beloved Arthur Su, General Manager of BASIS International School Hangzhou. Each of the Four Animals has a rich history and mythology associated with it in Chinese culture, including special strengths and character traits. As such, members of the four houses–interpreted as the White Tigers, Dark Warriors, Red Phoenixes, and Blue Dragons–can draw on the traditions of their House symbols as a source of motivation, and to create their own House stories over the years.
Just in case you were wondering…the winner of the Saturday competition was the Dark Warriors!
Lily Lufuluabo is the Primary Dean at BASIS International School Hangzhou
Read more about the learning community at BASIS International School Hangzhou from Head of School Alan Wilkerson here.
Learn more about careers with BASIS International School Hangzhou on our careers website.