SSM-FC International - Innovation and creativity thrive in an idyllic island environment
There are many ways you can make an impact on the world. But there is no greater impact that you can make than spreading education, and empowering people who will empower and teach people, who, in turn, will empower and teach more.
Shattuck St-Mary’s Forest City International School in Malaysia (SSM-FC) offers an American Education to students right here in Southeast Asia. Strategically located in Southern Malaysia, just minutes away from Singapore, the school creates an environment where children can thrive. This purpose-built campus includes learning spaces and resources that support the latest innovations in teaching and learning. Like every building in Forest City, SSM-FC is adorned with vertical blooming gardens that create shade, cooling, and beauty. Also, the green campus is adorned with multiple ground-level and rooftop gardens.
The one-size-fits-all education system that relies on rote learning and standardized tests has lost relevance in the information age. As we head into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where mass-scale automation makes the learning of hard skills alone obsolete, it’s more important than ever for children to understand how to learn.
It’s been hard for many schools to keep pace with the breadth and speed of change. But SSM-FC has an edge. With over 160-years of academic rigor and innovation, informed by its parent school in Minnesota, as well as a holistic teaching philosophy, educators at SSM-FC are well-versed in 21st century skills and learning goals.
Vision and Mission
We are a global learning community that honors tradition while embracing innovation. By cultivating creative, independent thinking, we foster the transformation of our students to become citizens of integrity for an ever-changing world.
We aim to be a dynamic and diverse school community committed to excellence, integrity and innovation, here and beyond our campus.
The Incredible Journey
On June 3, 1858, in a small rented building in Faribault, Minnesota, USA, The Rev. Dr. James Lloyd Breck established the Episcopal mission school and seminary from which Shattuck-St. Mary’s School has developed and prospered. When the school first opened, there were 45 young girls and boys and six divinity students, both Native American and white. Today, Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the USA is a coeducational boarding and day school that serves 500 students from 30 countries.
From the Leader’s Desk
“A knowledge-based curriculum that is taught via teacher-centered lectures and memorized by rote is usually a joyless educational experience and rarely helps students to much more than obtaining a top score on the next test. SSM-FC offers a child-centered approach that embraces the latest research in inquiry based learning,” said Head of School, Dr. Gregg Maloberti.
“The love of learning comes only to those students who learn the skills to create their own understanding by learning to ask questions, by developing trust with classmates and teachers, and by having the chance to test their knowledge on an ongoing basis through projects and presentations rather than a single test on a given day.”
It’s an opinion backed by the leading educators of today. Howard Gardner, Professor at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard, said children learn using “multiple intelligences” while Elliott Eisner, Professor at Stanford University and a leading theorist in arts education, says: “The arts are natural to a childhood way of learning that is unlike the traditional verbal approaches alone.”
The Jewel in Crown: weCreate®
One SSM-FC feature that prioritises this progressive method of learning is the weCreate® program. As ingenuity in a fluid landscape becomes necessary, creativity is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Students can choose from a range of studios in the weCreate® Center. Some will explore robotics or coding, while others might try animation or fashion design.
The weCreate® Center is not only a space but also a philosophy that stresses creativity, collaboration, and innovation. The weCreate® experience helps our students pursue their individual passions, and include studios which feature digital production (including video editing, animation and digital photography); fashion design (textiles); graphic design, e-design, and architecture; music editing and recording; robotics; woodwork, electronics, and engineering; in addition to a general craft area.
The weCreate® program provides something for everyone, from high tech equipment like digital printers and sophisticated software to screw drivers and sewing machines. Students have access to the tools and techniques they need to build models and prototypes, designed by imagination and created by passion.
In an IBM survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries, creativity was the factor deemed to be most crucial to success. The World Economic Forum also lists it as one of the top ten skills workers need to benefit from the changes that will take place in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will bring about an avalanche of new products, technologies and working methods.
Every child should be able to let their creativity run free and succeed in their future careers, and SSM-FC intends to make this a reality for students through this program.
As a space and philosophy that stresses creativity, collaboration and innovation, the weCreate® program lets students at SSM-FC nurture their artistic and innovative side, which in turn makes them better learners. A truly international cohort of teachers – half of whom are American, the others from Bangladesh, Canada, France, Ireland, Nicaragua, Philippines, Uk, Ukraine and Malaysia – are native speakers of English experienced experts in the American curriculum, striving to inspire our students.
“Our school offers many unique features including the weCreate® program that invites students to tap their imagination, explore their creativity and develop innovative ideas and bring them to fruition,” said Dr Maloberti.
Beyond Traditional Learning
To create an inspiring environment, SSM-FC built a facility where students can dabble in everything from digital production and fashion design to robotics, electronics and engineering – all in a fun and playful setting. Actively learning and playing in such manner is an effective way to get students involved and capture their interest. It’s hard to argue for a better way for the budding film director, animator, fashion designer, engineer or innovator to pursue their passions.
“Our students explore their own creativity as a means of identifying and igniting their passion for learning. The process is different for every student, but the goal is the same for all: we want our students to be internally driven to discover their abilities and to fulfil their dreams,” said Head of School, Dr. Gregg Maloberti.
SSM-FC’s diversity is another important component in fostering innovation. With students coming from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Canada, and the USA, this is a truly international campus. It’s a unique environment where children learn to be responsible global citizens, but also cultivate something even more important: multiple perspectives.
By examining the world from multiple perspectives and accepting that there can be more than one right way to solve a problem, students learn that people from different cultures may think differently but can still work together.
Studying at an international school is one of the first steps in becoming a full participant in a global society. Students who live and learn in diverse communities as children have a unique opportunity to develop interpersonal and social skills that enable them to not only be successful in their own culture but also to move freely between the many cultures in the world. International schools cultivate opportunities for their students to develop the skills and dispositions to achieve a sense of global citizenship.
By examining the world from multiple perspectives and accepting that there can be more than one “right way” to solve a problem, international school students begin to understand that people from different cultures may think differently, but through cooperation, understanding, and open mindedness, people from different cultures who may not share the same values can work together. Students who can master these skills in their school days will become tomorrow’s innovators and leaders.
As Dr Maloberti explains, “Students who can master these skills in their school days will become tomorrow’s innovators and leaders.”