As Huili enjoys its second year, it is a good time to reflect on how the pupils are settling into their new school and how they are progressing with each element of the education it offers.
Who better to tell you about their Huili experience than the pupils themselves? Anna and Chelsea are currently in grade 6, having made the transition from primary school to junior high, while Seven and Samuel are in grade 7.
Was it a big change going from primary and junior high?
Chelsea: In junior high you are much more responsible for yourself. You have to go to your classes rather than wait for the teacher to come to you. You have to look after your books and stationary and be organised. I like the feeling of being more independent and having new challenges to take on.
Anna: I think there is definitely more freedom to express yourself in junior high. It feels good to be trusted to look after ourselves a little bit more. It is a lot of fun and I am enjoying it.
Has it been easy or difficult to adapt to life in junior high?
Anna: I already knew how the school worked as I joined last year. Also, my teachers are very nice and are always there to help me, so it was not too hard to adapt.
Chelsea: I did not find it too hard because I have my friends. Friends help you in your life whenever you are struggling. They make things easier and not really that scary.
What do you think of the Huili house system?
Seven: It is very organised compared to my previous school’s house system. We enjoy closer friendships in the house because we get to spend time together each day. I am in Xian House, and I really enjoy going to the houseroom when I first arrive in morning, as we can relax and play board games, house time is special and fun.
Samuel: I am in Li House and we always work hard to support one another. What I really like is how the house area gives us a sense of belonging and identity. I also liked last year how the older pupils in the house are very kind and patient, they were happy to spend time with us younger ones.
Anna: I like it very much because it makes us more competitive and proud of our house. Hue House is where all my friends are and it has great tutors, it feels like another home!
Chelsea: The system is very relaxed and comfortable. It feels great to be able to hang out with friends but also very reassuring to know that if there is a problem I can go and talk it out with my tutor or housemaster. Xian House is a place where there are lots of special bonds, we are a very close group.
What are your thoughts about the CCA programme here?
Seven: I like how there are a lot of options. If you are good with your hands you can try arts-based CCAs, if you like to discuss things and prove your point of view you can join the debate team, if you are good at sports there are many different ones to choose from. There is something for everyone.
Anna: It’s a lot of fun, and I think it helps us discover ourselves – you can find out what you really like and want to do in the future.
Chelsea: It’s amazing! There are so many choices, so many chances to try to do things you have never done before. I am always excited to find out what is available next. My only problem is that I want to do all of them but I can only choose three!
Samuel: All of the CCAs are really good, there is a lot to learn from every one of them. I like how the CCAs give us a chance to try new things.
Can you describe an experience where you have learned a completely new skill or taken on a new challenge since arriving at Huili?
Anna: Debating is new for me and I really enjoy it. At first I was very nervous but after a few sessions I found that my confidence in public speaking had grown a lot. We have had many interesting debates and my fellow debaters are very skilled, so I have had to work hard to make good arguments and points.
Chelsea: I have really enjoyed doing gymnastics this year. I trained for gymnastics a long time ago, so it was nice to go back to a skill I once knew but had left alone for a while. Ms Yarahmadi is the best gymnastics teacher!
Seven: I just finished learning how to play rounders, it’s lots of fun and helps me be a good team player. I was not sure if I wanted to try it, because I was not so good at that kind of sport, but my friends encouraged me to try and now I love it!
Samuel: I also really enjoyed learning to play rounders this year. It is a good team game, as it teaches you to respect your teammates and your opponents too.
Do you have any special targets for this year?
Chelsea: I want to improve my Mandarin skills. When I was living in Singapore we always spoke in English but I have been back in China for three years and we speak Chinese at home but I found it difficult to catch up in my first year at Huili, so I am going to try extra hard this year. My friends and teachers are a big help.
Anna: I want to learn more about ESS (English Social Studies) because I really like my teacher, Mr Curd – he taught me how to debate so I want to learn more from him.
What do you think about the way your teachers support you each day?
Seven: They are diligent, devoted and firm, this is a good mix, I think! They always give us good hints but not so many that it stops us from trying to be good learners.
Samuel: They give us lots of encouragement so we want to do well for ourselves. I like how they bring together lots of different ideas and they try to help us do things independently, while inspiring us to try and learn new things.
Anna: Huili has a big family feeling to it, and the teachers are part of that. They make me excited to come to school and learn.
Chelsea: The teachers are always very patient. When you have to answer a question and you don’t know, it is not a problem. They won’t tell you the full answer but instead they drop hints.
As a pupil, you are never left feeling confused and clueless, but they never give everything to you on a plate either. I think this is a very good way to learn.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Anna: Art Week! I love studying music and art, and I want to do big projects with my friends. I also love to sing, it has become my favourite artform.
Samuel: I am looking forward to many of the sports events this year, specifically the basketball games and Sports Day, of course! I am looking forward to the big competitions so I can try hard for my team and house, and I can show what I can do.
Chelsea: Sports Day! I love sports and competing. You feel proud when you win but even if you lose you still feel proud because you tried your best for yourself and your house.
Seven: I have played a lot of badminton during the past six years, so I am looking forward to badminton lessons because the facilities are brand new and they look really great.