Round Square is based on the theories of experiential educational philosopher Kurt Hahn who believed that schools should have a greater purpose beyond preparing young people for college and university.
Dr. Hahn believed that it was crucial for students to prepare for life by having them face it head on and experience it in ways that demand courage, generosity, imagination, principle and resolution. As a result, he felt that young people would become empowered and develop the skills and abilities to be the leaders and guardians of tomorrow’s world.
Round Square schools are founded on a philosophy which embraces a series of six pillars or precepts which can be summed up in the word IDEALS. They are Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service. Students at Round Square schools make a commitment to addressing each of these pillars through exchanges, work projects, community service and adventure. The overriding goal is to ensure the full and individual development of every student as a whole person through the simultaneous realization of academic, physical, cultural and spiritual aspirations.
The most powerful force in advocating and promoting international understanding is exposure to different cultures. Students from all nationalities are welcomed into each school. They are taught to appreciate value and respect all cultures, religions and languages. Students learn to see themselves as global citizens and are asked to look beyond gender, class, race, nationality and culture to understand human nature.
Teaching students both the values of democracy and the importance of active participation in democracy is essential to Round Square schools. Freedom of thought and speech is greatly encouraged and appropriate forums and channels of communication are set in place. Students are also taught to appreciate the importance of self-discipline and are trained and expected to share in the running of the school. Therefore, student government and a genuine sense of responsibility in the management of the school are goals in all Round Square schools.
Students are taught the importance of tending to the future of the planet. Round Square students are expected to demonstrate an active interest and concern for all natural environments, to be aware of proven problems and to play a practical role in tackling environmental issues. Students are taught the fine balance and the interdependence needed to maintain a healthy relationship between human beings and the planet. Special programmes, work projects and curricula all emphasise each young person’s destiny to be a guardian of human society and the global environment.
Building the body and soul through adventure, meeting the physical challenge and developing an appreciation of the outdoors: these are all central to Round Square schools. At The Regent’s International School, Bangkok we arrange outdoor and extra-curricular activities that challenge and strongly engage students, individually and within groups – in ways that promote personal growth and self-discovery. All students get the opportunity to participate in the International Award which will foster a spirit of adventure and the realization that students can be so much more than they might have imagined. We also incorporate adventure programmes for various grades into the school program.
Students are taught that true leadership is found in those whose convictions are rooted in personal responsibility, kindness and justice. Opportunities for student leadership in the school’s community are fostered. Leadership roles, held by senior students, in particular, are substantial and range from management of housekeeping positions to holding key leadership positions. A high level of responsibility is passed on to students individually and collectively. Round Square committees in schools are chaired by students, and various leadership positions of consequence are shared by the students.
A key method used by Round Square to prepare students for life is by the expectation of serving others. Each student is encouraged to perform a substantial number of service hours, either in school sponsored, regional or international projects. Round Square international projects have been in existence for many years, occurring in developing countries, where both staff and students from all Round Square schools work together in constructing buildings and water systems. We often train students in skills to help in emergency or disaster situations. To help in funding these projects, students raise money for the Prince Alexander Project Fund, to supply construction materials for the projects.