‘Creativity, Activity, Service’ (CAS) has always been at the core of the UWC education. Students of all age-groups are encouraged to excel inside the classroom as much as outside, through being engaged and active in a wide spectrum of creative, physical, social and community activities. Students gain a broad understanding of the UWC mission in action by engaging with a selection co-curricular activities.
Each UWC school and college offers a wide range of CAS activities – both faculty and student initiated and led:
- Creativity: arts and experiences that involve creative thinking and doing. Examples of this include theatre, music, art-history, cultural visits, and dance.
- Activity: physical exercise and physical challenge. Some examples are climbing, kayaking, running groups, basketball, and orienteering, with many more available.
- Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student and the school’s local community. These range greatly, but some examples from our colleges and schools include supporting a local kinder-garden, running activities in refugee camps, engaging in sport and theatre activities with people with disabilities, science dissemination for children and adults, offering English conversation classes to the local community, working with an organic campus farm, offering multicultural experiences to students of local primary schools.
CAS demonstrates that a UWC education is not simply a series of academic challenges, but an approach for life: developing concern and compassion for others. CAS allows students to put their learning from inside the classroom into context. By making CAS a core part of the UWC experience, students develop their interpersonal skills through experiential learning, go on a journey of self-discovery by overcoming personal challenge, and provides an important balance to academic pressures.
Today, CAS is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, which is the curriculum that all UWC schools and colleges have adopted for the last two years of high school. Where other IB schools demand only the minimum requirements, UWC has taken the lead in this area and our schools and colleges conduct more CAS in one term than other schools do in the whole year – and many UWC students see their CAS activities as their most essential UWC experience. The CAS programme at UWC includes but is not limited to:
“Project Week gives students an opportunity to live the UWC mission by experiencing first-hand activities that seek to push their physical and mental boundaries, their compassion for others, and their readiness to learn new skills.”
UWC Changshu China: “Make Foundations, Not Trenches”
UWC provides an extensive Project Week Programme, a project-based experiential learning experience that requires students to go on week-long project weeks to work on focused, practical work around specific issues and interests emphasising UWC values. The programme combines outdoor education with adventure and service. It is a transformative experience which inspires and, at the same time, challenges students. It provides students with opportunities to extend their UWC learning into the real world.
During Project Weeks, students engage with a variety of activities ranging from extended community service projects to exploring the arts and out-door adventures. They take on experiential challenges and adventures that build resilience, collaboration and leadership and make a contribution to society through service and interaction with communities. Students have the opportunity to take part in identifying and planning their project for project week, giving them the ownership of what they learn and what they do. The personal responsibility and action shown by the students helps them to find new and innovative ways to achieve positive social change, a vital skill UWC students will need to have as they act upon UWC’s values in their after-school lives. The project weeks include but not limited to: wilderness expeditions and excursions; biodiversity explorations, visits to wildlife sanctuaries, national and marine reserves; world heritage site studies; appreciation of Art in Art museums, theatre projects among other projects.
The Outdoor Education Programme
UWC Atlantic College Outdoors
The outdoor educational experience at UWC reflects the ideals of Kurt Hahn, through expeditionary leadership, personal challenge, and service to others founded on personal commitment, well-considered moral view-point and a willingness to act courageously when required to. UWC education programmes encourage young people to take initiative and accept personal challenges; thus, a sense of human solidarity amongst them should be at the centre of engaging in community service with local communities.
Participation in outdoor education programmes projects by students at UWC aims at instilling in them the belief that one can make a difference by being part of practical problem-solving. Students acquire physical and sporting skills and an awareness of their strengths and limitations and learning how to give and accept help. Students learn to stretch themselves physically and mentally and to rely on themselves and the others in their groups. Students also learn to recognise each other’s strengths and weaknesses to be successful during outdoor trips. The outdoor education activities and excursions give students the opportunity to explore and get a feel for the natural environment. These include but are not limited to: rock climbing, mountain biking, overnight camping experiences, abseiling, orienteering exercises in forests, trekking experiences and many others