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There are many ways in which a school can educate its students and shape their worldview. A school is distinguished by its vision and the learning environment it provides.
As an international school, the curriculum at Dulwich College (Singapore) focuses on student well-being and helping students develop their own voices.
Given the changing aspirations of students and parents in a post-pandemic world, Jacob Martin, Deputy Principal of Dulwich College (Singapore), described the importance of schools adapting to the rapidly changing learning environment.
Source: All images provided with permission Dulwich College (Singapore)
Dulwich College (Singapore) celebrates its 10th anniversary by rewriting its strategic plan
Back in 2022, with its 10th anniversary on the horizon in 2024, Dulwich College (Singapore) decided to rewrite its strategic plans for the next 10 years. The school has grown more than 4 times, from 800 students in 2014 to almost 3,000 students.
To develop its strategy for the next decade, Dulwich College (Singapore) needed to understand its community of students (past and present), parents and teachers. Their thoughts and aspirations can become the fundamental compass for his education.
The college has been collecting community surveys for several months. Jacob explained that he also wanted to elicit unfiltered responses by setting up anonymous cardboard-based boxes with iPads in various locations around the school.
Not surprisingly, the school has made strong calls for a traditionally rigorous education that would lead students to good university placements. Fortunately, Jacob also learned that there are united voices of students, parents who advocate for environmental sustainability, as well as cultural diversity.
This is evidenced by ecosystem partners such as OCBC who are championing the business who are committed to the principle “Do good, do good, do now”.
To this end, Dulwich College (Singapore) has written its guiding statement: Live Worldwise. The curriculum will teach students to be responsible global citizens and inspire them to take action to make a positive impact.
Greenhouse construction: the first zero-clean international school building
Dulwich College (Singapore) invested $60 million Greenhouse, a modern seven-story building on the college campus to set an example for students. With its green financing solutions, OCBC led the syndicated loan for The Greenhouse with two other banks.
Officially opening in November 2023, The Greenhouse represents a long-term commitment to helping students achieve learning outcomes in creative and holistic learning spaces; while integrating the concepts of sustainable development into the curriculum, guided by the design of the building.
The conservatory is equipped with amenities such as movie and media rooms and black box theaters. There is also a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) workshop to instill STEAM learning and entrepreneurship. The institution also has a professional teaching kitchen for students.
The extensive two-story IB library, study rooms, study rooms and social spaces provide a broad study and group work environment for pre-university students.
The building is linked to existing sports facilities including gyms, tennis courts and a sports science lab where students learn about sports and stay active.
The Greenhouse has a platinum Green Mark certificate (the highest certification for sustainable construction in Singapore), as well as a zero-energy building. Its architectural design, building materials and functions contain ecological solutions.
Jacob explains that they could have just built another standard school building, but “The Greenhouse serves as a beacon for the educational program in Dulwich”. A $60 million investment in its future underscores the need not only to do good and well, but to do it now.
Because the new building is located within the existing campus, the college worked with environmental design and architecture experts to create an eco-envelope surrounding the entire building to increase space for solar panels.
To achieve net zero, Dulwich College (Singapore) also had to reduce energy consumption and implement energy-saving technologies and designs to match the energy their solar panels are capable of generating.
Dulwich College (Singapore) installed skylights on the top floor and central atrium to maximize natural light throughout the building. The central atrium also provides natural ventilation, minimizing the need for air conditioning.
The college also incorporated innovative elements that increased student engagement in the building while improving energy use. For example, they installed energy-generating kinetic floor tiles that are connected to a screen that displays the amount of energy generated when students walk across them.
In addition to being a zero-energy building, The Greenhouse goes further to reduce water use with a rainwater harvesting system and recycles water for irrigation.
In addition, the building uses sustainable construction materials such as mixed low-carbon concrete and recycled wood or plastic for interior design and furniture to reduce waste and carbon footprint in the process.
Jacob also hopes that The Greenhouse will not remain the only zero-energy building at an international school in Singapore for too long. “The greenhouse could also be an example.”
During the official opening ceremony at the end of 2023, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee applauded Dulwich College (Singapore) for pushing the boundaries of energy efficiencystressing that it will also encourage more organizations to follow suit.
Minister Lee also affirmed the fact that the true value of The Greenhouse lies in its ability to give its students a sense of ownership and confidence, as well as the tools to make a positive impact on our world.”
No business can ensure sustainability on its own. To “Do well, do well, do now” Dulwich College (Singapore). has been a partner of OCBC since 2015, thanks to its regional banking solutions.
In addition to the syndicated green loan for The Greenhouse, OCBC has financed other commercial projects with Dulwich College (Singapore) over the years.
Commitment to be a sustainable school
To engage your students and community, the roof Greenhouse was equipped as an edible forest where students could forage for fruit and expose it to a more natural way of food production instead of products more commonly found on farms.
The teaching kitchen includes its own hydroponic farm to grow several different plants, herbs and mushrooms that students harvest for plant-based cooking.
To combat food waste from the edible forest, a vermicomposter and insect farm will be incorporated into the rooftop garden where black soldier flies are bred. The black soldier fly larvae are then fed fish in a pond where the water is also used to irrigate the forest, creating a circular ecosystem.
The school also provides students with a variety of sustainable development opportunities, regardless of field of interest. The curriculum equips students with the necessary skills to thrive in an ever-changing world full of environmental and sustainable development challenges.
Dulwich College (Singapore) also engages students in other sustainable development activities. By collecting plastic waste, students can recycle the plastic into either art projects or maybe even products to resell at school!
Dulwich College (Singapore) is also the first international school in Singapore to introduce Forest School into the DUCKS Kindergarten-Preschool program. It is not difficult to see why Jacob considers it an integral part of the curriculum at Dulwich College (Singapore). Young children in Singapore grow up without direct contact with nature.
Forestry school gives preschool children basic skills to coexist with the environment (chopping wood, building fires) so that they learn about the risks and effects of human activity on the environment.
Older students can go on a field trip outside of Singapore. Jacob shares that the school avoids flying anywhere to minimize environmental impact, so it has to find places that can be reached by buses or even boats.
The ultimate goal is to encourage students and their extended communities to make more informed choices, take inspired action, and create a positive impact, no matter how small.