At our Early Years Centre, a remarkable year-long journey named "The Nest" unfolded, showcasing the power of student agency and collaborative learning. It all started when our youngest learners noticed a broken bench, known as “The Nest” in their playground and expressed a collective desire to fix it:
“The bird’s nest is broken.”
“The sticks are broken. They’re all on the ground.”
What should we do to help?
“We need to fix it.”
“We can make it better.”
“Get a new one.”
From Pre-K to Kindergarten, all our Early Years children could take part if they wanted to. But how?
Children made many attempts to fix the broken “Nest” on their own, but they didn’t succeed. Our Early Years teachers saw this as a wonderful opportunity to nurture student agency. Guided by the principles of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme and the Reggio Emilia approach, "The Nest" project became a captivating year long journey of discovery for our 3-5 years old learners. Instead of providing all the answers, teachers encouraged children to brainstorm ideas, think critically, and work together. Through interdisciplinary exploration and authentic problem-solving, the project seamlessly blended various subjects, sparking creativity and critical thinking.
The essence of student agency shone as the children envisioned the new “Nest” and followed their own learning journey to make it a reality. They delved into design thinking, a process that allowed them to consider every aspect of the project. Through our IT department, artificial intelligence was harnessed to help visualize their thoughts.
This multi-faceted project not only nurtured their academic growth, but also honed their leadership skills. Groups of Early Years’ student representatives petitioned our Primary Principal for assistance with school resources to make their collective vision a reality, passionately advocating for support and presenting their ideas. Later, the students showcased their learning journey to parents and the wider community during a whole school assembly.
The culmination of this empowering journey was the unveiling of the revitalized the Nest, now a vibrant part of their play world. Through the Nest Project, our children learned that their voices matter, their choices are valued, and their teamwork can transform dreams into reality. This project resonates deeply with the award-winning NIS strategy of Student Voice, Student Choice, and Burst the Bubble, reminding us that even the youngest minds are capable of remarkable achievements when given the space to lead, learn, and thrive.