Community, Culture and Relationships: The Foundation of a School

Feb 12, 2018

With the completion of the North Wing, TIS has new learning spaces and environments for the school community. While these physical spaces provide us with room for growth, the true embodiment of TIS comes from the community, culture and relationships throughout the school. The sense of belonging that the school community provides, can be invaluable for families in their transition to Macao and for those new to TIS. Below are some of the relationships and how they relate to student success.

Teacher and Family

A positive and collaborative relationship between families and teachers is vital for student success. This connection allows for timely and descriptive feedback about the child’s growth and how both parties can support the child in their development. Working together allows for clear expectations and consistent language to be used so both environments can better mimic each other. This can be used for discussing Zones, THRASS development and behavioural expectations. This relationship building can happen through email, phone calls and Seesaw, however, having a chance to sit down in person and talk often provides the greatest clarity and mutual understanding.

Teacher and Child

The relationship between the teacher and child is one that will be a part of a students life for years. Teachers are always looking at the child’s needs, strengths, interests and ideas to better support them in class. We often discuss the four areas of development that a child needs (physical, social, emotional, cognitive) and take them into consideration planning for the day. If a child comes in upset, we know their emotional needs will need to be met, prior to them being able to focus on academics. If children need a body break, the teacher can recognize and provide the necessary time to burn some energy to allow students to refocus. The child in this relationship looks to the teacher as a role model and facilitator of their learning. Children often mimic their teachers, as I remember students pretending to be me when I taught grade 5 by waving their hands around as talked. It was then I realized how much of a hand talker I am. Joking aside, how we interact with other adults and children as well as demonstrating a desire to learn about their interests, affect this relationship. For many of us, our memories of our favourite teachers comes from those that we felt cared, listened, and built a connection with us.

Family and Child

As families, you are the first and most important teachers in your child’s lives. Everything we do at school to support your child, is also done through the home environment to make students as successful as possible. Families can provide the social and emotional needs to a child if they have had a tough day at school. At home, families have the opportunity to discuss and extend the learning that took place at school. I can remember hearing about families that would read the same book we were in class, because the child was enthralled with the story. When families engage in activities that connect to the learning at school, they help solidify concepts that are being taught and present a message that they want to learn alongside their child. The more a child can see a positive relationship between the school and family, the more they can connect the value of school and that it is a part of their families lives. By coming to Community Days, Student Led Conferences and school productions as a family, you have an opportunity to share in meaningful bonding opportunities and further build community connections.

Child and Child

Navigating the social and emotional dynamics of school relationships is an ongoing process for children. As soon as they enter PK, they are building their understanding on how to work with others, the concept of personal space, likes and dislikes and the intricacies of friendships. This process continues as they grow older, where the social and emotional dynamics increase in complexity and learning what works is often through trial and error. Children however, are supported through this learning process by the community. Teachers are there to model these interactions, build vocabulary with children to express themselves and work alongside the children to solve conflicts. We are there to help guide them in finding their personal identity and building strong social relationships and emotional development.

Parent and Parent

While children are often the focal point of school, parents and their relationships with each other can provide beneficial and positive outcomes. By building parent partnerships, there are the opportunities to celebrate the successes of your children, share advice, reassure each other through challenging times and build a bond as parents at TIS. As our children are always watching how we model social behaviour, the parent to parent relationship allows them to see how we communicate, share personal space and interact with one another.

Within our community there are many opportunities for parents to meet each other. Being a part of TISPA is a way to meet parents and take part in school activities. As well, Community Days, Mid Autumn Festival, Chinese New Year and other activities that TIS hosts open up opportunities for families to connect with one another.

Beyond the School

An important part of TIS is being a part of the larger community. These relationships extend from Macao to international service projects and initiatives. As students and families take part in Experience Week, community clean ups, fundraising and service projects, they learn how they are an important part of the global community and that they can have a positive impact beyond the school. Teachers are also involved in building community relationships such as the Laos program that supports teacher development between TIS and the local community.

We at TIS value our sense of community and a culture that encourages families and children to build positive and meaningful relationships with the school. If these relationships aren’t fostered, then it is the child’s success that is affected. Our priority always comes back to the child, and when we work together and build our school around the power of community, we have a large family that can support one another.


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