Principal’s Message March 1, 2017

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.—Proverbs 18:15

Every school in the world professes itself to be learning-focused.

While NIS is a learning-focused school as well, what’s more important is that we are constantly reflecting on how we can continuously improve learning and offer the best education to our students and families.

Over the next few weeks in the school newsletter and also in a display in the hall, we will share with our community how NIS views learning and our shared vision of the kinds of students we want to develop. We want to begin with the end in mind when planning learning experiences and instilling character development in our students.

The International Primary Curriculum establishes a strong culture of learning in the school and we will explain the 9 criteria we follow to embed great learning at NIS.


Principal’s Message February 15, 2017

Arise, for this is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.—Ezra 10:4

Three-Way Conferences (or also known as Student-Led Conferences) are taking place this Friday. It is a time for the student, parents and teachers to meet and celebrate the learning that has been done thus far in the school year and to identify areas where goals can be set to continuously grow academically, socially, spiritually and physically.

Normally, during a parent-teacher conference the teacher would be explaining to parents the progress of the child, but three-way conferences are student-driven and is an opportunity for the child to share about their learning experiences from their perspective, and understanding of themselves after reflection. It is a time for parents to encourage and recognise the child’s efforts and to set goals together so the child knows what to work on in the coming term, parents know how to support at home and teachers can also support at school.

Some students are anxious during parent-teacher conferences because they are not in the classroom during the meeting, but for three-way conferences, it can be a different kind of nervousness. Children could be cautious and worried that they may be reprimanded by their parents and teacher at the same time. Please have a talk with your child before Friday about coming to the conference. Let them know that you look forward to hearing about them talk about their learning so you can en-courage and support them in their learning journey and development. The focus is on moving for-ward together.


Applications Due for 2017-2018

We will soon be reaching the 23 February deadline for accepting applications for Years 1, 2, 3, and 4 for the 2017-2018 school year..
If you wish to apply, please first attend a school tour and then submit a completed application package by 3pm on the 23rd of February. You may book a school tour here and download the application form from this page.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding admissions, please contact our admissions officer at 2658 0341.  We are happy to assist you in this process.

Principal’s Message January 11, 2017

For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11

The new year is always a time for a fresh start. We hear people talking about setting new years resolutions but after a few months, it may not always be easy (or possible) to stick to the plan even if their heart tells them it’s the best thing they can do for themselves this year. For children, writing resolutions teaches children to be reflective, how to set achievable goals, decide what steps they will take to reach those goals, and stick to what they say they will do. It is a wonderful way to start out the year with their family when they sit together and think about what they would like to change or do better in the new year. But again, it is likely even harder for children to keep up with their resolutions. However, there are steps that parents can take to encourage and support their child as they reflect and set goals for themselves.

Parents Magazine suggests eight ways to help children make new years resolutions. The following is a summary of their original article in their online site:

1. Be Resolution Role Models—Parents can share their own resolutions with their children so they can see how their parents would approach the task. Some of the children’s resolutions can actually be modelled by the parents themselves. Dr. Carter says, “If what you want is for your kids to be out the door earlier, you need to work on yourself. I saw that when I was consistently ready at the time I wanted to leave; it was possible to ask my kids to make changes. Let’s not ask them to do more than we are willing to do.”

2. Keep a Positive Approach to Resolutions—When you sit down with your chil-dren, begin by going over the positive things that they accomplished in the past year rather than pointing out their shortcomings. Have children brain-storm things that they are able to do now that they were not able to do last year. Help them to reflect what they did to make that possible. Afterwards, ask them what they want to improve for this coming year.

3. Suggest-Don’t Dictate Resolutions—Children need to feel responsibility and ownership for their choices. Listen to what your children tell you and help them to make sure it is age appropriate and achievable. You may come up with cate-gories for them such as—personal goals (NIS has eight—enquiry, morality, resilience, communication, adaptability, respect, thoughtfulness, cooperation), friendship goals, helping goals and school goals.

3. Narrow Down the Resolution List—Two to three goals are reasonable. Break each of the goals into smaller steps to plan how it can be achieved. These resolutions need to be concrete, specific and manageable. “I will behave better” is too general. Help students to focus on which particular behavior they can work on. For younger children, they can draw a picture to express themselves.

4. Take Turtle Steps Toward Big Resolutions—Dr. Carter says that turning good intentions into habits is an important skill to teach children. She suggests parents break down each resolution into small and slow steps to help children achieve their goal. Make it easy to do over a period of time. It can be weeks or even months. Check in with children weekly or periodically to acknowledge how they are doing and do not bribe them into doing the resolution.

5. Follow Up but Don’t Nag About Resolutions—Avoid nagging children when they experience a lapse; rather affirm how hard it is and ask them to reflect what is making it difficult for them to achieve their goal. If the plan in achieving the goal is not working, parents can always adjust with the children.

6. Make Family Resolutions Together—This brings families closer. Suggest to children that they set two personal goals and one or two family goals. This can be as simple as “visit grandma more often” or “plan a trip”.

7. Make Resolutions a Ritual—Make sure there are no distractions when you gather to talk about how the resolutions are going and pay attention to each other. Set a tradition of praying together first or having hot chocolate together every time you talk about it. Appealing to the senses and helping create a warm environment is important.


Principal’s Message December 15, 2016

Principal’s Message

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11

Christmas is such a special time of the year. It is a time to get away from the busyness of everyday life, to slow down, and be with family and loved ones. It is also a time to reflect on why we have Christmas at all—it is to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. Every year NIS will put on a concert to remind everyone of this very special birth and this year the message is simple—the concert’s name is Super Star because it focuses on the “chosen star” to guide the shepherds and wisemen to the stable, but we all know who the real Super Star is…Jesus.

We hope you enjoyed your child’s performance that night. This is a special edition of the Principal’s Newsletter to celebrate Christmas. You will find photos from the Christmas Concert and videos of the last day of school’s festivities. From all of us at NIS and Generations, have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year!


Principal’s Message November 30, 2016

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.—Philippians 4:6

Thanksgiving is a special time for families and friends to gather together to appreciate and reflect on all the wonderful things they have been blessed with. Although Hong Kong does not set a specific day for this like other countries, being thankful and reflective is something that we can do any day during the year.

I remember a while back, I saw some of my friends were challenged on Facebook to share something they were thankful for each day over a period of days. There were also other challenges where it was more specific like being thankful for their spouse. I enjoyed reading these because the things they were thankful for on a daily basis were not big things that happened that day, but in the little things that happened. It really makes one think to not take things for granted. A simple opportunity to enjoy a brief lunch with friends during a busy day is a blessing. Having your child give you a hug when you come home after a long and tiring day at work is a blessing. I am thankful for my parents and in-laws who are currently visiting. We may have less privacy, but when they came home late last night, it made me realise how much I enjoyed having them here. Their love and support shows through every time we get off work. We have good conversations about the day, there is laughter and then we eat dinner and watch television together.

I read in a book that one family had a tradition of having everyone write something they were thankful for during Thanksgiving and would string up the card at home. Over the years, the string would get longer and longer. The children could read it as they got older and it became part of their family’s story. Help children to be reflective and have a thankful heart.

But what happens when there are things that plague us and tug at our heart strings? Being thankful seems like the last thing we want to do. This is the reality for children as well. The Bible tells us that giving thanks when undergoing suffering is very difficult, but it is meant to strengthen our faith—”For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 17-18. God knows all that is happening. He is purposeful and not a random God.

Helping children to acknowledge those negative feelings and issues are important because they will always encounter ups and downs in life. Help them work through their feelings so that regardless of the outcome of the situation, the children become more thoughtful in difficult situations and can handle it better.

I encourage families to take up the ‘Thankfulness Challenge’ and do it for one week. Ten minutes of family time each day for one week to go around telling each other what they are thankful for and why. It is a wonderful way to start your evening together or right before bed, and then pray and praise God for those things.


NIS Primary: Interview for 2017-18 Applications

We will have our primary school interview for academic year 2017-18 on 7th January, 2017.

Please attend a school tour and submit a complete application package by 3pm on 1st December, and an email will be sent by 5pm on 12th December for the interview time and details. You can book the school tour and download the application form on our website.

If you have attended our school tour and sent your complete application package on time but have not received an email from us by then, please contact our admissions officer on 2658-0341 after 13th December. We are happy to assist you in this process.


Principal’s Message November 16, 2016

When you talk, do not say harmful things. But say what people need — words that will help others be-come stronger. Then what you say will help those who listen to you. — Ephesians 4:29

Parent-teacher conferences are happening this Friday, November 18. Most of our families have booked a time to meet with their classroom teacher. If you have not made an appointment, you can still log into the PTO system to reserve a time. The username and password have been emailed to you by the office.

Some students are anxious to have their parents talk to their teachers while others are confident and happy. It is important to let your child know you are interested in how they are doing in school and that you are there to support and help. Allow your child to share with you any strengths and struggles they are experiencing in class and this can always be something you discuss with the teacher when you go in.

Unlike the comic strip on the side, parent-teacher conferences are meant to encourage parents and the school to work collaboratively for the development of the child. This means that there is open communication, and NIS strongly believes that positive home-school relationships are vital to helping the child be successful.

During the conference, teachers will share about your child’s progress in their learning in the various subjects. Parents should come prepared with questions they may want to ask the teacher, and to prioritise which questions are most important so they are asked first in case time runs out. Although different areas of concern may be raised during the conference, remember to celebrate what your child is successfully doing in school and then be realistic with expectations for the areas of concern. It is important to know where your child’s struggles are before a solution can be mapped out. However, the focus during the conference should not be on the problem, but rather on the solution and how to move forward. Plan with the teacher on how to provide support at home and find out what the school is also doing to help. The teachers will offer suggestions, but parents know their child the best so it would be helpful to give insight on the child to help the teachers understand him or her more.

After the conference, speak with your child about what was discussed during the meeting. Encourage them with what they are doing well and let them know you are aware of the areas they are struggling with, and together talk about ways on how they can work on it. The teacher will keep in touch with you after the conference and this is a great opportunity to strengthen the parent-teacher partnership. It also shows the child that learning is a priority and there is consistency between what is happening at home and school.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday.


Principal’s Message November 2, 2016

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.—1 John 3:17-18

Empathy is defined as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Something that does not come easy for children. Young children tend to be more self-oriented and has difficulty seeing things from a different point-of-view. I am sure parents have had, at some point, conversations with an upset child where no amount of logical reasoning can help them see the situation beyond how they perceive it (especially if they want something). This is all normal and part of their development.

NIS wants to help our children develop holistically, which includes social development. We want our students to be thoughtful of others and how they feel, which develops empathy and kindness. One of the ways we do this is to help students see what is happening around the world. God calls all of us to take care of the needy and the poor. The Year 5/6 class started their Service Programme last year where they went to volunteer at Crossroads packaging items to be delivered to those who need it. They also spent time at China Coast Community playing games, chatting and reading with the seniors living there.

This year, NIS is participating in the Box of Hope. This is a charity project aimed at providing useful/educational gifts to underprivileged children in Hong Kong and Asia. Many students have already brought in a shoebox to share with these children this Christmas. Our last day of collection is supposed to be today, but the organisation has arranged for pick-up on November 14 so we will extend the collection date until November 13. If your child would like to submit more than one box, extra labels can be found at the school office. Please take this opportunity to talk to your children about empathy and kindness.

For an interesting read, you can see a new survey conducted by the educational non-profit behind Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop. There is also a video that you can watch with your child to teach them about empathy.


Principal’s Message October 19, 2016

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. —Philippians 4:13

NIS was very blessed to have Professional Golfer Suzann Pettersen visit NIS yesterday to share about her experiences with the students and to do a demonstration with them. Suzann is a Norwegian professional golfer who plays mainly on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour and is also a member of the Ladies European Tour. Her career best world ranking is second and she has held that position several times.

There was an exciting buzz all morning as coaches gave the students a taste of golf. It was the first time for several students to try golf and the coaches were very good with guiding them so they experienced success. The event reached a climax when Suzann arrived and spoke with them. She shared about her childhood and how she discovered her passion for golf. Then there was a session of questions and answers where students came up with many good questions including asking about her golf grip. What really came through again and again was Suzann’s passion and dedication to golf.

I had the opportunity to interview and chat with Suzann, and also shared about our school’s personal learning goal of resilience and asked her how it relates to her, and her journey to be where she is today.

Suzann is the youngest of three children so she often followed in the footsteps of her two older brothers. Her father took her to a golf course one day and she immediately fell in love with the sport. She enjoyed the sport, including the competitiveness of it, and she had the drive to try and get better at it every day.

Even at a young age, Suzann was focused and she knew in order to develop her golfing skills, she had to practice a lot. School was very important in her family, so as long as her parents felt she was doing well in school, she would be allowed to attend training camps, and because of her inner drive, she would complete everything to make it for training and practice.

Golf has many challenging aspects. It is complex and all aspects of it need equal attention. They say it is 90% mental, and 10% physical. Even when Suzann was young she would plan her practices accordingly to address all the different areas. As we talked about challenges and the importance of resilience, it is easy to see how this champion golfer is where she is today. Resilience to Suzann meant dedication, having a plan, and sticking to that plan. There will be huge learning curves where you will experience ups and downs. You will make good choices and also bad ones, but this is where you learn and grow strong. Suzann is deeply passionate about golf and she loves what she does. She has fun with it, but there are no shortcuts. You have to dedicate your time and effort to practice.

Resilience is something that we teach our students every day. It is also highlighted during Journey 2:52 that God gives people strength. We encourage the children to pray and ask God to help them. Resilience was also mentioned by parents during our Parent Workshop when I asked them about what kind of person they hope their child will grow up to be. Our children will experience many successes and challenges in life, but it is their attitude towards how they will overcome these challenges and learn from it that builds their character. A child may struggle in math, but being resilient means knowing that ‘I may not be able to do it yet, but I’m going to get better”. With good communication between the child, parents and the school, goals and plans can be set so they can experience success. Suzann has shown the children yesterday what can happen when there is resilience and dedication.