What is Round Square?
Round Square is a worldwide association of independent and international schools in 40 countries across five continents sharing unique and ambitious goals. Those goals include a framework for personal growth along with structured opportunities to collaborate and share experiences with like-minded peers around the world. The Round Square approach recognises that effective learning is practical, multicultural and collaborative and infused through a range of co curricular activities.
Round Square developed from the educational philosophy of Kurt Hahn, who inspired educators to approach learning and schools as a holistic, experiential enterprise. Hahn, as with American educator John Dewey before him, believed that schools should not just be places to prepare for further education, but are places to prepare for life. Because preparing for life entails much more than success within an academic program, Round Square schools require students to engage with the real world, and real challenges. Because many of the students in member schools are from privileged families, at least relative to public school students in many parts of the world, Round Square schools are committed to building a sense of social responsibility – a commitment to contributing to a better world.
Students attending Round Square schools are expected to make a strong commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility within the six Round Square “IDEALS”: International-mindedness, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service. They fulfill this commitment by challenging themselves in as many areas as possible, and building a strong sense of values, ethics and character along with the valuable skills and knowledge that come from these experiences.
Round Square schools collaborate on a holistic approach to learning that is built around six IDEALS: Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service.
The most powerful force in advocating and promoting international understanding is exposure to different cultures. Students from all nationalities appreciate value and respect all cultures, religions and languages. ISK students learn to see themselves as global citizens and are asked to look beyond gender, class, race, nationality and culture to understand human nature. ISK encourages global understanding through exchange trip opportunities, which are offered throughout the year.
At the heart of democracy is citizenship, which requires an understanding and appreciation of the responsibilities that come with freedom. Freedom of thought and speech is greatly encouraged at ISK and appropriate forums and channels of communication are set in place such as the ASB, the Round Square committee and ISK baraza sessions.
Students are expected to demonstrate an active interest and concern for all natural environments, to be aware of proven problems and to play a practical role in tackling environmental issues. In its commitment to environment protection and sustainability, ISK has launched numerous environmental initiatives such as Students for the Environment, a recycling program and established a greenhouse with the ultimate goal of becoming a “green” school and Friends of Kenya.
Building the body and soul through adventure, meeting the physical challenge and developing an appreciation of the outdoors are essential. Our extensive co-curricular program challenges and strongly engages students, individually and within groups – in ways that promote personal growth and self-discovery. The ISK IC Trip Philosophy provides community members with opportunities to discover another side of adventure through a range of hikes, cultural immersion and environmental trips.
Students are taught that true leadership is found in those whose convictions are rooted in personal responsibility, kindness and justice. Opportunities for student leadership in the school’s community are fostered. A high level of responsibility is passed on to students individually and collectively.
A key method used by Round Square to prepare students for life is by serving others. Each ISK student is encouraged to participate in a sustainable service project, either in school-sponsored, regional or international projects.
Round Square international projects have been in existence since the early eighties, occurring in developing countries, where both staff and students from all Round Square schools work together.
ISK has an exchange program with other Round Square schools from all five continents. Some students can visit Europe to improve on language skills while others undertake a broader educational experience in North America, India and Oceania. Most exchanges are with other Round Square Schools and take place in Grade 10.
For students, the international services projects enable students to build on the personal benefits fostered by ISK. Students work hard in a team, with people of other nationalities, in a different environment, toward wholly worthwhile objectives. This is an experience without equal. Round Square also organizes projects, which provide students with an alternative, equally valuable experience.
Students have opportunities at various age levels to attend gatherings of their fellows at national, regional and global levels. Participation in conferences helps to develop social skills and provides opportunities for broadening international experiences. Each conference has a theme based on the IDEALS of Round Square, and the outcomes are invariably significant. In 2014 ISK attended the Round Square conference at Kings Academy, Jordan. The theme was As Salaam Alaikum or peace be with you.