The road to creativity, empathy, confidence, and achievement
With the number of nationalities represented at our school fluctuating between 25 and 30, the Green Shoots community is truly diverse. We are international to our core and no single nationality dominates our student body or our teaching faculty. This international diversity is maintained through a quota system that limits enrolment for any single nationality to 25%.
The more diverse a community is, the more its members are exposed to ideas and viewpoints that may differ from their own. Research has shown that this exposure in childhood promotes creativity, encourages problem solving, and increases empathy for other cultures and opinions. By helping children build these skills it also raises self confidence and, with that, achievement in later life.
Diversity is about more than just the passport you carry, it is also about the views you hold, the way you live your life and the choices you make. Our school encourages diversity in all its forms by teaching children to think for themselves, question what they are told, and create solutions to problems that might prevent them from reaching their goal, whatever that may be.
Diversity doesn’t mean that differences of opinion never arise, or that harsh words are not exchanged between children who are forming opinions and carving out their own space in a complex world, but our strict anti-bullying policy ensures that conflict, when it arises, is addressed quickly, fairly, and with the long-term goal of increased mutual understanding at its core.
We go barefoot for a reason
Most of us choose to live barefoot at Green Shoots. Why? Because everything about our campus is tied to learning and we believe that feeling the earth beneath your feet is a profoundly grounding experience that helps children understand how they are a small part of a much larger whole. This linking of the learning experience with the physical environment can be seen all over our campus, meaning the process of learning is visible not just an end product.
Some schools decorate classrooms to look attractive to adults, but at Green Shoots it is the students who play a major part in decorating and arranging their classroom environment. After all, it is their space and their learning.
Students have a voice in how each space is used. The reading corner, yoga area, and drawing area are examples of this.
The Lotus Pond, which was developed by Green Shoots first cohort of secondary students to create sustainable aquatic ecosystems, is now integrated into the learning experience of all children. The Antheia and Early Years gardens provide space for children to learn about natural growth cycles and to see, quite literally, the fruits of their labour as herbs and vegetables from these gardens end up in the Green Shoots kitchen.
Murals are all around our campus, each one depicting something of value to our students. Our Values Tree, a mural depicting endangered species, projects emulating works by the street artist Banksy focusing on social issues: all of these have played a roll in the evolution of our learning space.
Most of our outdoor play equipment is recycled or upcycled, reminding children at every point during their school day of the value of sustainable living and helping them understand how ‘pre-loved’ can be just as wonderful as brand new!
Green Shoots links with our local community to give students access to facilities we lack onsite, such as a swimming pool and large sports field. This collaboration not only ensures student access to such facilities but also prevents waste; the school is able to focus spending where it matters - in the classroom - and the community is not unnecessarily replicating expensive spaces that use water, electricity, and other limited resources to maintain and run. Our swimming classes take place at a nearby pool run by Swim Vietnam, a charity that teaches local children to swim in this region where drowning is an all-too common occurrence. The fees paid by Green Shoots supports its vital work.
Some may say our grounding in nature makes the Green Shoots learning space look ‘unkempt’ or messy, even chaotic at times. This may be true, but ask yourself where your happiest and most productive memories took place? In a pristine office surrounded by tidy shelves and brand new furniture, or at home surrounded by the busyness, noise, and the joy of family and friends? We believe it is the second that inspires children to learn and grow. While it is easy to build the ‘hardware’ of a school - the bricks and mortar that enclose us - it is only when the ‘software’ within is right that inspirational ‘learning for life’ can truly happen.
Healthy body, healthy mind
Eating at Green Shoots is a family affair. Meals are shared on the outdoor Eating Deck, which is covered in winter and on rainy or very hot days but exposed to the warm sunshine when the weather allows. Staff and students sit together in chatty groups of six, sharing conversation as well as food and remaining at the table until each tummy is full and each plate is empty. Students are taught to tidy up after themselves, thank kitchen staff for their meal, and wash their hands before leaving the Deck to play or return to classes.
Our menu is created with periodic input from students, who can request new dishes or vote out old ones. All meals are prepared on site using fresh ingredients that are purchased locally where possible. We combine international with Vietnamese dishes and ensure that each day’s menu contains an appropriate balance of the main food groups children need to grow and learn. The school allows no MSG and limits other food additives such as colouring and sugar.
Children are encouraged to try a little of everything each day in order to expand their palate and challenge their growing taste buds, while meat-free Mondays (in combination with assemblies explaining the impact of commercial farming and other learning opportunities) teach children how they can access a balanced, nutritious and sustainable diet without eating meat every day. Our range of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other special diary options ensure that all needs are catered for.
Green Shoots International School Campus
414/7 Cua Dai, Cam Chau District
Hoi An, Quang Nam Province