Playing outside is simple fun, with big impact. The active child who frolics with grass on their feet, wind in hair and sunshine on skin is doing more than just engaging his mind and senses. They’re reaping the many benefits — as proven by a large body of research — of active outdoor play on their health, wellbeing, development and educational attainment.
Educators know this — 97% of teachers said outdoor play is critical for children to reach their full potential, according to The Outdoor Classroom Day 2017 survey. More than four in five reported that children are happier, more engaged in learning and understand the environment better.
Pupils at Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School (SSM-FC) in Johor, Malaysia are a delightful vision of this. They are sailing, kayaking and definitely not sedentary in front of screens.
At this co-educational school, pupils enjoy the outdoors when they aren’t fully immersed in an all-American curriculum. As their youthful imagination run unfettered, they are forming lifelong bonds with talents from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Korea, Bangladesh, Ukraine, USA, UK, and Canada.
It’s all part of SSM-FC’s holistic approach to education. While traditions are honoured, innovation is embraced. Discovery is emphasised.
An ideal location makes this possible. Surrounded by lush mangroves with direct access to the Straits of Johor, it offers facilities and a vibrancy hard to find elsewhere. Those who want to sail are guided by experts who teach key methods to observe wind direction, manoeuvre, rig, dock and more. The kayaking programme teaches aspiring paddlers to transport, sit, grip, and twist the right way.
The Golf Centre of Excellence programme provides the training and facilities for aspiring Michelle Wies or Tiger Woods. It’s “a place where young men and women can come and get a world-class education and pursue their love of golf,” says Director of Golf and Class A member of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America Fred Fruisen.
Experiences like these transform many into creative thinkers and doers. In this year’s National History Day contest — the theme was “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding” — seven students took part, presenting research findings on a topic of their choice.
Under the guidance of social studies teacher, Dr. Chelsea Elizabeth Korth, three SSM-FC students nabbed top prizes, beating close to 80 students from 12 of Asia’s renowned international schools such as Singapore American School, The British School Jakarta, Seoul Foreign School, American School of Bombay, and The British School Manila.
Dogyu Lee decided to focus on the practicality of Korean handwriting, Hangul. Its origins for the commoners, instead of nobles, inspired him and landed him the first prize in the Senior Documentary Category. “Creating the documentary itself was a rewarding experience,” the 10th grader enthuses.
Jimmy Lim’s inspiration came from this year’s theme and a Korean book titled “The World’s Most Fun History Class.” Equipped with a clear idea, the ninth grader won first place in the Exhibition Category for his topic on how the printing press helped facilitate and promote the Reformation.
Kalyn Conley, on the other hand, was focused on spreading awareness on the untold history of Native Americans. This inspired her to choose the topic “The Ironic History of the Navajo Code Talkers” with which she won second place in the Senior Website category. During the 10th grader’s research, she realised that the background of the code talkers is not spoken about in schools as much as it should be.
Lee, Lim, and Conley’s achievements have secured them spots in the international-level of the competition. It will be held digitally later this year in Washington.
These outcomes are telling of the excellence inspired at SSM-FC. The best part? It’s a student experience that is accessible for families from various backgrounds. Scholarships that cover up to 70% of total costs are available for academic, artistic, or athletic high achievers. Many have even received full academic scholarships.
Today, SSM-FC graduates can be found in esteemed institutions of higher education all over the world such as Michigan State University, Penn State University, Parsons School of Design, University of Manchester, University of Exeter, Ontario Tech University and Temple University, Japan Campus.
Clearly, SSM-FC nurtures pupils for a lifetime of success. Learn more about this school’s extensive lineup of dynamic offerings here.