PHUKET: Saturday is usually a fun day for everyone. It’s the beginning of the weekend and most people are looking forward to spending time doing what they want to do, and being with the ones they love.
Saturday, June 30 was an especially happy day for students of the HeadStart International School (HSIS). It wasn’t just a regular Saturday but the day when students could celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of their summer break.
Each year, HSIS holds a special event to mark the last day of a long and hard year of school.
“Today is the end-of-year performance for our foundation. Students performing are in kindergarten and primary school. It’s a nice way to end the school year. It’s a great opportunity for students to take some time to perform for their parents,” said HeadStart International School Director Jazon Edouard.
“They have been preparing songs, plays, and sketches. Now that examinations are all over, and all the hard work for the year is done, this is a nice and pleasant way to end the year. The children have been looking forward to it for a long time,” he added.
“They have been preparing for this the whole semester, but most of them go into high-gear when exams are over. For the last two weeks, a lot of classes have been putting on works in the performing arts, including drama,” he added.
Mrs Miki Edouard, wife of HeadStart International School Director Jazon Edouard, also attended the event to support students, as well as the administrative team of Head Start International School.
“All of the children’s performances are the highlight of the day. They will be smiling, singing and dancing. For them it is very special to be on stage with the lights and music,” said Mrs Edouard.
“We don’t only pick the gifted students or those who have a special talent for performing to be part of the show. Everybody gets to perform on the stage equally. I think it is very good experience for them to learn to be in front of a crowd,” she added.
HeadStart International School was founded in 2005. The school is a unique educational institution in that it provides well-rounded learning from pre-school through to the secondary level.
“Our school started right here in Phuket, and our target from day one has always been to provide quality international education at affordable prices in a setting which is ideal for the local community. Sixty per cent of our students are Thai and the rest are foreigners,” said Mr Edouard.
“It’s very important to us that the education we provide to the children lets Thai children keep their identity as well as their culture,” he added.
Besides the year-end party, in which students and teachers celebrate together, the school also has another special reason to celebrate this year: the achievement of students who scored well on the Cambridge international standardized test.
“We are the only school on the island to actually use the Cambridge progression examination and checkpoint examination, from year 3 all the way through year 12, to test the students,” said Mr Edouard.
“Testing is only a small part of their education, and education is not only about papers, textbooks or tests. There is a lot more than that. However, the examination is an important indicator, which helps parents and the school see whether a student’s education is on the right track,” he said.
“Nevertheless, standardized testing is an important part of being an international school like we are. We have 364 students from 37 different nations. It is essential to have a strong benchmark. That is why we use the Cambridge test. What we saw was a comparison of our school’s average result with Cambridge’s worldwide result, and we have been very pleased with the result,” he explained.
“Education is an ongoing process; it never stops. So, our next step is to continue what we are doing. Our team will continue to work hard to make sure that we improve the results of the next examination,” he added.
HeadStart International School will be the first and only school in Phuket that offers the Cambridge curriculum to students.
“We are going to start the ‘A Level Program’. We will be the only school on the island that offers that program. It is an after-high school certification program, which leads students toward university enrollment. It takes place over their last two years at school: years 12 and 13,” said Mr Edouard.
“For the students who’ve already finished year 11 this year, they will continue on to the A Level next year. Our school is the only school on the island that offer Cambridge curriculum all the way to year 13,” he added.
Mr Edouard emphasized that the school doesn’t just focus on academics; students are also encouraged to have fun as part of their learning process.
“We have a very good team here, who work very hard at their job. The performances aimed to show that the children are not only working hard learning, but are also having a good time,” Mr Edouard concluded.
— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai
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