Education plays a vital role in forming the minds and attitudes in people about themselves, others and the world around them. As a new school that is on the rise, our vision is to create a school culture where a sense of community is strongly present. The word "community" can be defined in many different ways. An image that comes to mind are individuals who represent different cultures, beliefs, values, race, sex orientation and challenges who gather together for the common good of everyone. In a community there is an exchange of ideas, thoughts and perspectives in a respectful and non-judgmental manner. There are moments of agreement and disagreement, however, from each other we learn to compromise always seeking the best solution to any given situation. It is only through building a community together can we create a great school.
The International School of Ticino (IST), located in Lamone, opened its newly avant-garde facilities in September 2014. It is the sister school to the well-established International School of Como (ISC) in Italy. Although the two schools are kilometers apart, they share one common goal: to offer students an international minded education. IST, a jewel located north of Lugano, is in a village surrounded by mountains, a tiny brook and a view of its natural environment that is breathtaking. IST opened with two Early Years classrooms: 3-4 mixed-aged group and a Grade 1. In the academic year of 2015-2016, the school will expand to include the elementary section with grades 2 and 3. The primary language of instruction is English and the curriculum is based on the inquiry based programme at ISC. IST offers a provision for Italian/Swiss families who aspire to have an international education for their children. As part of our enrichment programme, the children participate monthly in field trips that are linked to their classroom inquiry. Through these trips in the Canton, the children engage in real life hands-on experiences as an extension of their learning outside the school environment.
As a means of creating community with the locals, IST has established exchange programmes with the local library and the geriatrics center in the building. The children visit the library once a week, where they are read to in Italian. They participate in activities linked to the stories that are prepared by the librarian. They also check-out books to bring back to their classroom.
The intergenerational exchange programme invites a small group of children biweekly to bake, paint, make crafts or play games with the local geriatrics. Both experiences have enriched the lives of our children and have widened our perspective about developing and expanding our connections with the Lamone community and the Ticino Canton.
IST understands that to educate children it takes a village, a nation and the world. As we set our horizons on the 21st century, we aim high to create an international school that offers a quality education. Through both the programme and the school's vision, children will develop the foundations that will guide them to be active global citizens who are aware that unity, respect, tolerance and empathy are important characteristics needed to create a strong community.