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IB service influences curriculum at Greensprings School

Guest Post: This story was contributed by Harry H. McFaul, Director of Education, Greensprings School, Lagos, Nigeria. Contact us to contribute your school’s story. 

Although the IB programme has only been running at Greensprings in Lagos for 4 years, it has already had a major impact on over the 1200 other students in the rest of the (non-PYP/MYP) school as regards social responsibility activities. At the core of education in Greensprings is the spirit of selflessness in line with one of the core values of the school, ‘service’ and the school’s motto, ‘in love serve one another’.

Our students are not just encouraged to reach out to the needy in society – it is a given. Community and service starts in the classroom and extends beyond it, requiring students to take an active part in the communities in which they live. To quote one of our students:

We didn’t want to just fulfil required hours by doing a meaningless activity so we searched for something that was relevant to us as a county and something that we could put our hearts into and really make a difference.

– Oluwagbemiga Mabogunje, Greensprings IB Candidate

The old classroom

Giving importance to the sense of community through the educational programme in Africa encourages responsible citizenship as it seeks to deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them. The emphasis is on developing community awareness and concern, and the skills needed to make a better life in their own and other countries. It all began with a trip to a local orphanage by the IB students looking for an opportunity to start their CAS programme.

Coming from privileged homes they had never before encountered what saw, were deeply moved and wanted to help. They came back and told everyone that we needed to help as the task was too big for them. Before we knew it everyone was fired up with enthusiasm.

New windows and a ceiling for the medical outpost

One section of the school raised money to provide wheel chairs for polio victims who are outcasts of society. Another section renovated a Nursery classroom and provided simple educational materials – books, pens, bags etc as well as a television. Yet another worked to make enough money to build a toilet block for a local school while IB students’ most recent projects include beach-cleaning and the refurbishment of a medical out-post catering for ante-natal and paediatric needs.

Right from Pre-School and Elementary School through to leaving age personal and social development are as important to us as academic success. Everything we do is driven by our core values of Being Child-centred, Respect, Integrity, Excellence and Service.

Suddenly to be mobile opens up a world of opportunity

More and more students are becoming aware that real problems require solutions based on the integration of knowledge that spans and connects several areas – not least how society will be effected. Service activities are crucial to personal development because students learn to demonstrate both independence and an ability to work collaboratively – important life skills.

Before, getting around was slow and painful

We consider that developing a social conscience and social awareness is critical to a person’s character – but is not part of a written curriculum. For this reason we went further and proposed that all students at Greensprings, whatever their age, adopt a service programme which requires them to do a number of hours in total during each section of their educational career, following the IB CAS model.
However, the number of hours is only a minimum and we want to create a culture of service that impacts first our children, then their families and finally society at large.

Anyone who wants to change life in Nigeria – which tragically has gained a global reputation for corruption and malpractice – will know what a big task this is. However, with such wonderful young people whose vision is to restore their country’s honour and serve the nation, the future is looking bright!

Little things can bring such joy

Special thanks to the students at Greensprings School and to Harry H. McFaul, Director of Education, for sharing their story about CAS and the impact of the IB programme.