hong kong: pioneer education school
My first day in Hong Kong, I went to the top of Victoria Peak- the most amazing 360 panoramic view of the mountains, water and city. I have gotten into a rhythm of starting each first day with going to the highest point I can in a city and seeing it turn from day to night. There is something so magical about this experience and it helps ground me in understanding where I am. I stayed up here for hours, marveling at the beauty in front of me. As dusk set in, this building lit up with hearts, spreading love over the night.
Going up to the top was about an hour wait so I presumed coming down would be similar. I was so lucky to have met Xenia, a teacher at Pioneer Education School in China, in line for the tram. Xenia was on a trip with about 10 of her high school students. She started to tell me about the ownership that the students have over the trip and how each night they meet to discuss what they will do the next day. I loved this for so many reasons! For one, it is very real life this way, not having everything planned for you and learning to adjust and adapt to different situations. Also, it gives the students a voice in shaping their trip instead of following a script!
My interest was already completely peaked as Xenia began telling me more about the school and its philosophy. This beautiful, new age, unique, innovative, out of the box thinking. The school specializes in building good character, critical thinking, life-long learning, communication and collaboration. I love the emphasis on these values rather than fitting into a test score box. There are no tests, in fact. Rather, students are measured on their project-based work from courses they select. If they are interested in something that is not offered, they can make the class and organize the instructor themselves! Xenia gave an example about someone who loved dancing and they made it happen.
The authenticity, creativeness and openness that this school promotes is astounding. I am such a passionate believer in this type of education. Each human has different passions, skills and interests. If each human is given the same curriculum, what limits are we putting on unique self-discovery? What magic can we instill if we rather give students the freedom to follow what fire ignites in their soul.
The school takes many trips locally and abroad, as well as hosts and exchanges students with countries all over the world. Travel is such a pivotal way to learn, develop and grow yourself and your understanding of the world. It is incredible that these students are getting this exposure at such a young age.
A few days later, Xenia sent me a bunch of photos from the group on the rest of their trip!! I loved seeing all of the arts, sights and fun they had encountered. Since meeting Xenia, she has followed along with my travels and even invited me to meet students/alumni in new cities where I am! I am so grateful to have met her and learned from her. I cannot wait to someday go back and see this school and its amazing people myself!