Wellbeing at ISF: making learning better

Wellbeing at ISF: making learning better

The school's focus on student wellbeing is tied into their ambitions for student growth both inside and outside of the classroom.

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Wed 29 May 2024 11:22 AM

At the International School of Florence, there’s an all-school agreement that learning and thriving go hand in hand. Children who are thriving are curious about the world around them and feel confident taking an active part in the learning process.

The Wellbeing Program offered at ISF ensures that students are cared for in all areas of their school experience and are given opportunities to grow their sense of self and belonging. The Dean of Students at both the Upper School and the Junior School oversee aspects of student life and wellbeing in and out of the classroom. They are finely tuned to the emotional environment of school life and facilitate the use of kindness, creativity and enthusiasm to defuse conflicts and promote meaningful learning. They monitor situations that need attention and accompany students on their path to learning agency. As student advocates, they provide additional means of communication between teachers and students and have a keen awareness of situations that need attention. ISF teachers and staff members recognize how wellbeing and learning are connected.

In the past few years, Head of School Sharyn Baddeley has broadened the ways ISF strives to enhance wellbeing in the school. Additional service-oriented learning programs such as Community Service Day, English tutoring in local schools with the Duke of Edinburgh Program and a Parent Engagement Seminars Program broaden the scope of learning opportunities. An education that provides ways for children to look beyond themselves and aid in societal wellbeing is profound, particularly in school-age children. It expands their empathy towards others and a sense of making a difference. When children feel connected to the community they feel included and empowered, and their learning potential soars. Parent engagement opportunities allow families to take part in their children’s education, deepening its value and strengthening its community.

As an institution that takes its growth seriously, ISF took the time this year to re-evaluate and reflect on its institutional core values: Respect, Resilience, Relationships and Responsibility. There is an all-school agreement that these core values will remain present in and out of the classroom, regardless of the subject, and provide the cornerstones of an ISF education. They are also fundamental to wellbeing and give the ISF community a sense of collective purpose, that of developing life skills and achieving academic, social and emotional success. To raise awareness about the meaning of each of these values, ISF Wellbeing Coordinators planned a series of age-appropriate activities during Wellbeing Week in May and reflected on their significance. All of this intentional focus on ways to nurture student wellbeing have a palpable effect on the ISF school environment. E.E. Cummings spoke to the power of wellbeing when he said “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit”.

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