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Discovery Bay International School: Launches the Mini and Junior Duke Award for primary aged students

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Launched in October 2020, the Discovery Bay International School (DBIS) Mini and Junior Duke Award progamme has already attracted an incredible 210 sign-ups from students in Years 1 to 6.

Photo courtesy DBIS

Proud to lead the way, DBIS is one of the first schools outside of the UK and Dubai to offer the programme. Inspired by the well-known Duke of Edinburgh Award for secondary school students, the Duke Award gives primary aged participants the time and space to develop independence, resilience, enquiry, organisation and self-motivation
through a journey of life skill challenges.

DBIS Primary Outdoor Leader Jonny Haines helped adapt the Duke Award UK programme for international school students. “When I learned about the Duke Award in the UK it made clear sense to offer it to our students here in Hong Kong,” he says. “There is clearly a demand for young people to have a platform to share their skills and interests and to learn new things, especially with COVID-19 restricting children’s access to after-school clubs and activities.

Photo courtesy DBIS

“Developing the ‘whole child’ beyond conventional academics is imperative to preparing our young people for the future,” Jonny adds. “With DB’s rolling hills, open spaces and the water, it is the perfect environment for children to get outdoors and take part in the Duke Award. They are asked to participate in a variety of new experiences and they are challenged to learn new and varied skills at an early age. In a community where most families are lucky enough to have the support of domestic helpers, the Duke Award teaches children that it is important to ‘have a go’ and seek independence. It helps them to develop the resilience they will need throughout their lives whilst rewarding them for their hard work.”

Students aged six to 12 years old are provided with a series of progressive life skills challenges, including first aid, cookery, swimming, budgeting, fixing punctures and domestic duties, to expose them to the skills needed for the real world.

Photo courtesy DBIS

Participating DBIS students are busy filling their journals with photographs of baked cakes, puncture repairs, shop visits using a budget, completed domestic chores, first-aid provision, confidence building presentations based on their passions and lots of child-organised hikes.

“I like the Duke Award because I like to try new things and learn new skills,” says DBIS student Zach Stanton, aged eight years old. “So far I’ve completed my swimming and washing-up challenges but I’m looking forward to junk modelling the most because I am a creative person.”

“I like the Duke Award because I like to try new things and learn new skills,” says DBIS student Zach Stanton, aged eight years old. “So far I’ve completed my swimming and washing-up challenges but I’m looking forward to junk modelling the most because I am a creative person.”

“The children select which challenges they’d like to complete and set their own goals, which keeps them interested and motivated,” says Jonny. “There is space for children to add self-assessment comments on their progress and photographic evidence.”

Photo courtesy DBIS

On completing a challenge, the children receive either a ‘Duke Approved’ sticker or feedback on how to evidence their skill further. This process of reflection is an important life skill and habit to foster. On completing a challenge, the children earn a ‘Class Dojo’ for being committed learners. This helps them contribute to their House team’s weekly score.

“DBIS is proud to adopt the Mini and Junior Duke Award,” says Stuart Bridge, Head of School. “It complements our current Learning for Life programme and ever-developing outdoor Forest and Beach Schools programmes perfectly. It really is an exciting environment for our young learners.”


FIND IT

Discovery Bay International School (DBIS),
www.dbis.edu.hk

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