We’re very proud to have been awarded ‘Community Wellbeing’ initiative of the year at the ISA Awards 2022. This is a great accolade for us as a leading international school and provides well-deserved recognition for our wellbeing and pastoral teams, who have work tirelessly to maintain community wellbeing – especially through the challenges of Covid-19.
The ‘Community Wellbeing’ award was given to us for the Pre-Prep’s ‘Big Talk, Small Talk’ initiative during remote learning. Whilst we had excellent online provision that embedded maintenance and monitoring of wellbeing in a very effective way, we started to receive feedback that many parents of the younger years felt like they were struggling to support their children in the way they wanted to.
When operating as normal, we provide regular opportunities for scheduled and unscheduled interaction between parents and the school, where big or small issues can be raised or noticed. In Pre-Prep we run well-attended workshops about topics such as the importance of sensory play, developing healthy eating habits and supporting language, writing and reading skills. These workshops provide understanding and insight into how our teachers work and interact with the children to develop their learning and social skills. This offers parents the opportunity to mirror our practices in home life, which not only provides the children with consistency, but also fosters the partnership between the School and parents. In remote learning, this consistency was thrown out of balance and we recognised the importance of redressing this.
Driven by Miss Hannah (Pre-Prep’s Deputy Head pastoral at the time), our ‘Big Talk, Small Talk’ initiative came from a need to maintain supportive links with parents during online schooling, whilst also catering for the wellbeing needs of families. Simply offering an ‘open door’ to converse at any time wasn’t gaining traction. Instead, we developed a specific online parent hub; a safe space at a dedicated time each week, where parents could connect with the School.
‘Big Talk’ was designed to offer space to share larger concerns, such as family issues, learning challenges and welfare; ‘Small Talk’ offered space for parents to connect with the school community and chat about smaller everyday experiences, or just say “hello”.
Through these two weekly forums, we provided first-hand support for our Pre-Prep community in place of the usual in-person interactions. We listened to parents, found solutions together, and ultimately engendered positive change through a collaborative process. We found that by reducing disruption during this challenging time, we were able to keep stress and anxiety for our children and parents to a minimum, ultimately helping to protect the wellbeing of the children and their families. Our teachers began to notice positive change in many of the children, especially the children of the families who had actively sought our support.
As a leading international school in Thailand we are lucky to have world-class teachers; experts in their field who continually look to improve the outcome for their students. Creating and driving initiatives to enhance the educational experience is almost de rigueur, so to receive this award is a welcome reminder of the special work our teachers do here!