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A Week Without Walls for YK Pao Students

April, 2014
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yk-pao-week-without-wallsThe week of 31 March was a week unlike any other at YK Pao School. It was the Week Without Walls (WWW), a week-long program focused on experimental, independent learning outside the traditional classroom setting, where students have the opportunity to explore new places and learn new skills, deepening their understanding of China and the world with regards to social concerns and needs in the 21st century.

Under the theme of environmental protection, Year 6 students visited a local sustainable farm and a water treatment plant, learning about environmentally friendly plant growth methods as well as sewage treatment methods in the city. Students not only had the chance to enjoy nature, but also learned about the importance and the role we play in its preservation.

Meanwhile, Year 7 students explored Yangshuo County in Guangxi. Through rock climbing, fan painting and various games, students learned the importance of teamwork, leadership, communication and building trust among peers. Donald, Head of Language Support, was particularly impressed by the way students learned to interact with the outdoor environment as well as get out of their comfort zone. “Life is full of challenges, and learning how to confront challenges was a key part of the week,” he said.

Year 8 students took a trip to Xiamen to visit local villages that function as communes. Students learned about the local buildings – unique earthen structures that are 500 years old, yet still lived in today! They also visited a local tea farm where they learned about the entire farming process from field to market, and helped to separate tea leaves from their stems before sampling several local teas. The trip was a great opportunity for students to learn about Chinese history and develop an appreciation for tea culture.

Year 9 students not only climbed the Great Wall but also visited a residential center for people with disabilities. They learned about the development of similar centers in China and how they provide a place for people with disabilities to go to school and learn how to live a productive life on their own. YK Pao students noted that children from the villages worked very hard every day, collecting vegetables, getting water from a valley and carrying it uphill to get back to the village. Until recently, there were no cars in the village – they had to wake up at 3 am and climb mountains to get to school! Year 9 student Gina said: “The trip helped us understand that there are other things going on outside of the small worlds in which we live.”

All the students had a productive and fulfilling Week Without Walls.


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