How do expats integrate in Belgium?

St. John’s International School conducted a survey with expats who used to live in Belgium, to understand what they did to integrate while they lived in the country. The respondents were given 7 options, as well as the option to fill in their own response. The top 3 answers: 1. Learn the local language 2. Explore the area where you live 3. Go sightseeing in Belgium Respondents were also asked what they would change if they could be an expat in Belgium again. Here are some of the answers received: “I didn’t appreciate it as a teenager. I didn’t realize … Continue reading How do expats integrate in Belgium?

Exciting collaboration with local school

Friday before winter break, Madame Vinçotte, Charlent and Richard’s French classes welcomed their friends from the French speaking school of Maransart for the first time. After a lunch together where we communicated with each other, St. John’s students taught an English song to their buddies. We then  listened to a great French song written by them. What a great opportunity to become an English teacher! Time flew and after a good snack, it was already time to say good bye…until the next time! By Joy Richard – 6th grade teacher Continue reading Exciting collaboration with local school

The Need for Inquiry

Inquiry is an intrinsically motivated, student driven method of learning. It focuses heavily on the use of student questions and involvement to facilitate the learning process. Inquiry uses a collaborative, hands on and socially driven approach that stresses critical thinking. St. John’s adopted the International Baccalaureate’s inquiry based curriculum as a purposeful choice over a more traditional, western style education. The question is then raised, why inquiry? The model of education currently used in the majority of western countries is a remnant from the industrial revolution. It often looks like this – a teacher dispensing the necessary facts for a student to … Continue reading The Need for Inquiry

Today is International Mother Language Day

This Day is observed every year to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was created by UNESCO (the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation) in order to promote the dissemination of mother tongues and a fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue. International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national … Continue reading Today is International Mother Language Day

The top 10 “I wish I had known before my first expat posting”

St. John’s conducted a survey among expats to uncover what people wish they had known before going on their first expat posting. Here is the top 10: These can be the best years of your life -for you and your family. Enjoy! It is harder to adjust when you come back than it is when you arrive. The people in an expat community are more welcoming than any other you will experience! Make sure to negotiate the circumstances and details of repatriation with your company before you sign and leave for the assignment. It will be so much better than … Continue reading The top 10 “I wish I had known before my first expat posting”

Today is Safer Internet Day

For the tenth edition of the Safer Internet Day themed ‘Online rights and responsibilities’, volunteers from Microsoft and Belgacom will be sharing safer internet trainings with our grade 4 and 5 students at St. John’s International School. Safer Internet Day is the occasion to raise awareness and remind all citizens and organizations that online safety is a shared responsibility. Children love the internet: they send e-mails, chat, game, share pictures, and so on. But as in real life, it is important to teach them how to avoid risks and stay safe. Making the online world a safer world needs everyone’s involvement. … Continue reading Today is Safer Internet Day

Fascinating math and chess presentation for students by “Mr. Mo”

This morning, students from Elementary, Middle and High School had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Mr. Motwani (third grade teacher at St. John’s and and International Chess Grandmaster). The presentation was a combination of Mathematics, Chess, Mystery and Magic that delighted the audience and provided everyone with lots of fresh, fun, stimulating ideas. Chess masters think in very logical, powerful ways which can often be applied to Mathematics. International Grandmaster Paul Motwani is an expert in both Chess and Mathematics, and for many years he has been utilizing techniques from one field to solve problems in the other. … Continue reading Fascinating math and chess presentation for students by “Mr. Mo”

Our guiding statements and their significance

At St. John’s, we are proud of our guiding statements and what they stand for. But what do they mean, to students, teachers, alumni, parents and families looking for a school? Our vision: St. John’s students live our values to impact the world.  Education at St. John’s is not merely a transmission of information or an assimilation of textbook knowledge, but strives to create an existential reality, i.e. the experience of becoming truly human, ready to make a difference to the community and beyond. Our mission: St. John’s International School provides an English-language education based on Christian values, demands personal excellence and stimulates individual responsibility … Continue reading Our guiding statements and their significance

Eight graders experience mindfulness

The Big Ideas Week in 8th grade ended with a special day centered around self-discovery and well-being. Students attended different workshops based on well-being and Kara Smith was our guest speaker for the day. Kara is a teacher of mindfulness, she works at the American School of the Hague and did different mindful activities with the students. What is mindfulness? Probably the most common definition of mindfulness is that “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn) What are the benefits of mindfulness? —  Less stress and anxiety —  Greater focus … Continue reading Eight graders experience mindfulness

Big Ideas week in Middle School

From January 14-18, Middle School students  will experience a new Big Ideas week. Grade 8 students will take a Journey of Discovery and will be offered various workshops led by experts. Some of the topics our students will have the opportunity to learn about: Creative Writing on Heroes and Villains, Books and films, Discovery Science, Zen cooking, Magical Maths and many more. On Wednesday, we will go and visit the exhibitions and workshops of the Science Museum in Brussels. Friday will be a “Well-Being Day” with different activities. Grade 7 will be looking at food. Students will be offered four … Continue reading Big Ideas week in Middle School

Third graders make flashlights with plastic bottles

Third graders worked on an exciting science project today: with a little help from an expert instructor and using a plastic bottle, they made their own flashlights! The instructor helped each of the third grade classes step by step and the kids enjoyed this new experience. Third grade has been working on a unit about science and electricity. They already visited the Middle and High School science labs to see science experiments and this workshop followed those lessons perfectly. Well done, young scientists! Continue reading Third graders make flashlights with plastic bottles

Sixth grade exchanges ideas with students from local school

On December 20, the beginners and intermediate French classes in 6th grade started an exchange program with a school in Maransart.  We were welcomed by about 30 students and had a wonderful afternoon playing board games and tasting a delicious cougnou.  We look forward welcoming them to St. John’s soon ! This is what the students had to say about the afternoon: “I was amazed how hard some of the children from the school Maransart tried to speak to us in English” “I really enjoyed the trip. We got to play with Belgian kids that were really nice and friendly.  … Continue reading Sixth grade exchanges ideas with students from local school

Alumni enjoy return to St. John’s for the annual Christmas reunion

This afternoon, we welcomed more than 40 former students back to campus for the annual Christmas alumni reunion. The students dated as far back as the class of 1988 and as recent as the class of 2012. Teachers enjoyed speaking to their former students and hearing what they have become after leaving St. John’s. As much as the students enjoy their time at college or university, they always remember their days at St. John’s with fondness and realize what a special time they had at school and what strong friendships were developed here, lasting a lifetime in many cases. Continue reading Alumni enjoy return to St. John’s for the annual Christmas reunion

Thank you to the bus drivers for keeping our students safe

This morning, we held our traditional Christmas breakfast for the bus drivers. Every year around Christmas, we invite them to a breakfast to thank each of them for their dedication to the school and for keeping our students safe on the bus throughout the year. Our bus drivers face difficult weather conditions and traffic situations throughout the year, but have an excellent safety record. They are not only responsible for the daily bus service to and from school, but also for the many trips throughout the year for sports teams, various trips in Belgium and also for the Middle School … Continue reading Thank you to the bus drivers for keeping our students safe

Our Happy Christmas Hotchpotch

Now that we prepare for Christmas, we see how much color our moves around the world have added to our lives. Our children love opening the drawers of the wooden advent calendars that we have found on a Swiss Christmas market. Though we still struggle with the pronunciation  the Christmas songs in Swiss German have remained part of our repertoire. Since we have lived in the States, red and green stockings hang on our chimney. Santa Claus still comes on Christmas morning and of course, we leave cookies and milk for him. Now that we have moved to Belgium, Saint Nicolas … Continue reading Our Happy Christmas Hotchpotch

Grade 3 learns about electricity from Middle and High School science teachers

Grade 3 had an exciting experience this week for their unit on electricity: they went to both the Middle and High School science labs to learn more about electricity. Mrs. Adams and Dr. Carlin showed the students many intriguing experiments related to electricity. The experiments related mostly to static electricity and how forces attract and repel. It also show how magnets can create movement without actually touching. A big thank you to Mrs. Adams and Dr. Carlin for taking the time to give these third graders a great introduction into the magical world of science! Continue reading Grade 3 learns about electricity from Middle and High School science teachers

Things you might not know about Belgium

Belgium is somewhat of an unknown entity. Since there is so much more to Belgium than beer and chocolate, here are some facts about Belgium that you might not know: In 1066, Huy, Belgium became the first European city to receive a charter of rights, making it the oldest free city on the continent. Brussels sprouts really do come from Belgium and have grown in the Brussels area for over 400 years. Although the exact number is disputed, Belgium makes over 800 different beers. Belgians drink an average of 150 liters of beer per year per person. Belgium produces 220,000 … Continue reading Things you might not know about Belgium

Study ranks best places to be born in 2013

The Economist Intelligence Unit (sister company of The Economist) has conducted a study to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead. The top three countries for a baby to be born in 2013, based upon long-term economic forecasts to 2030 when they reach adulthood, are Switzerland, Australia and Norway. Half of the top ten are European but only one is in the Eurozone – The Netherlands. The largest European economies do not do particularly well with France and the UK coming in 26th and 27th respectively, and Germany and the U.S. tying for … Continue reading Study ranks best places to be born in 2013

Space infrastructures and security

On Wednesday November 14, St John’s International School had the privilege of welcoming Alumnus Phillip Slann in the context of the Speaker of the House Lectures. Phillip is now a doctoral candidate at Keel University and his lecture focused on how outer space security is conceptualized by the European Union and its various institutions. His research is looking specifically at the space infrastructures of the Galileo and GMES programs as case studies for the extent to which measures are put in place to counter the risk of natural and man-made dangers in outer space. The GMES system will aid the … Continue reading Space infrastructures and security

It all started with a Story Bang…

Story Bang is a convention for people who have written their own stories and tales to show that they can write their own stories. The point of Story Bang is that in 7th grade media class, there is a project to make a clay animation or stop motion and in the END 9 stories will be chosen and made into a stop motion animation. The stories are all posted on the bridge to the PAC. Here are the rules: read a story vote for a story wait for the winner of the competition Date: November 22-29             … Continue reading It all started with a Story Bang…

Art Gallery named after Rita Greene

The board of directors has officially approved the new name of the art gallery to “The Greene Gallery at St. John’s International School”, named after Rita Greene who was the founding art teacher at St John’s. There will be an formal opening ceremony in the present of Mr. John Greene in the spring at one of our vernissages and we hope you will be able to join us for this very special event. The Greene Gallery at St. John’s International School’s mission statement is as follows: The St. John’s International School Art Gallery, named after Rita Greene who was the … Continue reading Art Gallery named after Rita Greene

Learning basic essentials in Art and Geometry in 7th grade

Students in Grade 7 ART class were faced with a tricky problem. How does one create the perfect colour wheel as designed by Johannes Itten (of Bauhaus fame)? The wheel  has a central triangle for the three primary colours, three more triangles forming a  hexagon for the secondary colours  and finally, 12 outer segments to show the primary, secondary and tertiary colours. The problem poses a geometric challenge (how to draw this colour wheel  accurately?) as well as a scientific one (how do I mix all the colours by using only primary colours?) Math teacher Cate Silcock joined us in the … Continue reading Learning basic essentials in Art and Geometry in 7th grade

Elementary students fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in need

The Elementary students came out in force today at the so-called “shoebox assembly”, most of them bringing a shoebox with Christmas gifts for a child in need. These boxes have essential school materials, hygiene items such as toothbrush and paste, the very essential cuddly toy and as many other toys and useful items they could cram in! The boxes go to the very poor and needy children of the world, in Africa and Eastern Europe, many abandoned in orphanages and hospitals. Thank you to the Elementary students for their generosity! Middle School students will bring in their boxes next Monday, … Continue reading Elementary students fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in need

Please keep yourself safe when walking or biking to school – wear a reflective vest!

We would like to remind everyone to wear that, when walking or biking to and from school in the dark mornings or afternoons, it is advised to wear a reflective vest. Studies have proven that wearing such a vest decreases accidents by 85%! So be like Karl Lagerfeld and focus on what’s important: it can save your life, so whether or not it is fashionable should really not bother you. Thank you for keeping yourself safe! Continue reading Please keep yourself safe when walking or biking to school – wear a reflective vest!

St. John’s reunion in the fast lane – Dr. Doenges goes Formula 1

Dr. Doenges, director at St. John’s from 2000 to 2008,  and his wife Martha will be at the inaugural Formula 1 race in Austin, Texas this weekend, along with thousands of other race fans. However, they will be one of the few who already visited the track, receiving the VIP treatment last month when St. John’s alumnus and Lotus Formula 1 test driver Jerome D’Ambrosio invited them to attend the official opening of the race track in Austin. Jerome was the first driver on the race track with the Lotus Formula 1 car, after Mario Andretti had driven an older … Continue reading St. John’s reunion in the fast lane – Dr. Doenges goes Formula 1

Elementary School celebrates United Nations Week in style!

On Monday October 22, Mr. Marco Bianchini,  a staff  member of the United Nations Security Council and father of St. John’s students Alessandro and Pietro,  presented to the children of the Elementary School a meaningful explanation of the work of this organization. Mr. Bianchini emphasized the background history of the United Nations and especially the variety of tasks that it performs the world over.  A very interesting power point was presented and the children had an opportunity to ask questions about the work that members of the UN are involved in.  Mr. Bianchini shared his personal experiences especially with his … Continue reading Elementary School celebrates United Nations Week in style!

ISSTs Day 1 recap

Here’s a day 1 update on our teams’ performances at their various ISST championships: Girls volleyball – @ St. John’s Format – 8 teams in pool play, top 4 advance to semifinals Game 1: STJ vs. TASIS 2-0 Game 2: STJ vs. American School of The Hague 1-2 Game 3: STJ vs. Cobham 0-2 Game 4: STJ vs. Cairo American College 2-0 The girls have three more pool games to play tomorrow (at 9:30, 12:00 and 14:30) and are very much still in contention to reach the semifinals. Boys volleyball – @ American School of Paris Format – 8 teams … Continue reading ISSTs Day 1 recap

The kindergarten maze project – an update

Our maze project has developed since our last blog on October 4.  The children planted the collected wine bottles in the shape of a spiral that they designed. We observed all the different shapes and sizes of bottles and the way light passed through the different colors of glass. We all worked together to get the right design for the maze and decide where the bottles should go. Just before the October break we also planted flower bulbs between the bottles. We talked about the different types of flowers that will grow and when they will bloom. We are all … Continue reading The kindergarten maze project – an update

Tree planted in honor of Ms. Germay

Today, Middle School students planted a tree outside the PAC in memory of Ms. Germay, their science teacher who died in April this year after battling illness. It was felt the school should have a permanent reminder of Faith’s short presence among us. The middle school science department decided that it would be a nice idea to plant a tree, which could be seen from the middle school science classrooms, in Faith’s memory. This afternoon, the middle school gathered together to celebrate a short liturgy where they gave thanks for the gift of Faith to our community as a teacher, … Continue reading Tree planted in honor of Ms. Germay

No school for students but a busy day ahead for teachers on November 12

There will be no school for students this Monday, November 12. The teachers, however, have a busy day ahead of them. They will use the day for professional development on the topic of “Differentation in the classroom”. Differentiation defined as “a framework or philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content; to processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and to developing teaching materials and assessment measures so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability.” The teachers will start the day with a guest speaker, Dr. Thérèse McPhillips, from Dublin who will … Continue reading No school for students but a busy day ahead for teachers on November 12

Fall season ISST tournaments week

The ISST tournaments are taking place from Wednesday through Saturday this week and the Booster program organized their traditional breakfast send-off for all the ISST athletes this morning. The entire school participated in a pep rally this afternoon to wish all the teams well as they finish their fall season with the ISST tournament. Boys soccer will be playing their tournament in Milan, girls soccer at Cobham, boys volleyball in Paris, cross country in Zurich and girls volleyball right here at home. Please come cheer on the girls and/or help out at concessions for an hour or two if you can. … Continue reading Fall season ISST tournaments week

High Schoolers play “St. Jopoly”

In the High School, Language and Culture students are playing “St. Jopoly”. Based on the famous Monopoly game, the students adapted the game to connect it to their school life.  St. Jopoly also has dice and money but, instead of buying hotels and houses, you get desks and chairs. The students have replaced the famous streets by classes and school-related places.     Continue reading High Schoolers play “St. Jopoly”

No shave “Movember” – teachers raise money for prostate cancer

Like last year, a group of St. John’s teachers and students will not shave the entire month of November to raise money for cancer research. The photo below shows the teachers “before”, with some seeming to have taken a head-start when it comes to growing facial hair. We will be posting the “after” photo on November 30. Good luck to the students and teachers involved. Continue reading No shave “Movember” – teachers raise money for prostate cancer