In regard to educating for global citizenship, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) states: “Present a view of the world that invites and rewards curiosity concerning the richness and diversity of all human societies and encourages respect for all people.” As our world grows ever smaller, Highlands School seeks to enhance and broaden our students’ understanding of the world as well as to foster appreciation of other cultures through our Country of Study Program. Creating a Country of Study program which combines authentic global learning with practical applications of 21st Century Learning (creative thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration) is one way we work to achieve these ends. Through the generosity of our Parents Auxiliary, summer grants for faculty are provided to allow teachers to travel and study in a selected country. Upon return, these individuals bring back a greater understanding of the country to the Highlands community. The chosen country is woven throughout the existing curriculum, and school-wide special events are designed to engage the entire community.
Countries of Study include:
South Africa (2015-2016)
Highlands School Middle School students participate in Junior United Nations Assembly (JUNA)
which is a model United Nations. The program is designed for students to internalize how the United Nations works, understand the importance of diplomacy and world issues, and to develop a global perspective with regard to problem-solving. Highlands’ students participate in a two-day event in which they are in groups representing a country in which they identify a problem, craft a resolution, and propose a solution to the problem. Through this opportunity, students (dressed in the native garb of their country) are able to further develop leadership as well as problem-solving and public speaking skills. Another opportunity for Highlands’ eighth graders is to participate in NAIS 20/20
. Through this, the National Association of Independent Schools pairs schools in different countries in order to work together to find solutions to global problems. Together, these programs help our students further even more their skills in critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
The opportunity to travel internationally is offered to Highlands Middle School students at the end of each school year. Previous years’ trips have included travel to such places as Costa Rica, China, and France. The trips give students an opportunity to experience different cultures, practice world language skills, and further our commitment to embracing diversity and providing experiential learning.