Last week, ISD Middle School students bid their classrooms farewell and headed out for a Week Without Walls retreat.
Week Without Walls is an important part of our Middle and High School educational programs, where students can take their learning outside the traditional classroom, and explore the diverse and dynamic world around them.
A key focus for the MS trips is exploring Senegal and grounding themselves in our host culture. For example, the 6th grade students gained a glimpse of what it was like to live in a village in Lampoul, spending a day farming and cooking as those in the village do. Further, the students experienced first hand what it was like to learn in a local village school. The 7th
grade went to the Sine-Saloum region to learn about environment and ecology, and the 8th grade class went north, to Senegal’s old colonial capital of St. Louis, to glimpse Senegal’s colonial past.
These experiences beyond the walls of ISD allow our students to be exposed to new and different worlds in order to provoke internal change and appreciation for their worlds and to spark a desire to find ways to expand their circles of concern and find ways to use their knowledge, skills, and resources to make positive differences in the lives of others.
“At the heart of our school is our mission to challenge our students in order to find ways to create and change their worlds for the better. The trips are one the best ways we can realize this through authentic learning engagements,” commented Secondary Principal, Lorne Bird.
After days learning in the sun, volunteering at local schools, and exploring the country, students took a moment to write down how each experience impacted them. These reflections are an essential element of the larger MYP and IB program, and allowed students to digest what they’ve done, and carry those lessons beyond the classroom.
As Paul Lennon, the IB Diploma Program coordinator and ISD parent, explains, the week “is a time for exploration, enjoyment, creativity, activity, sociability and challenge, outside of normal school routine. The social and critical thinking skills students engage in with peers, local communities and teachers are immeasurable. They really do disconnect to reconnect; with themselves, the environment and each other. The overall learning experience for all is literally priceless."
View more pictures from the Week Without Walls trips on our Facebook Album.