Welcome to Discovery
The Aiglon Discovery Programme aims to provide a modern interpretation to the school's Guiding Principles by connecting all areas of academic study, our co-curricular activities, expeditions, the arts and personal reflection all under several big questions that allow our students to grow.
For more than 70 years Aiglon has pushed beyond the boundaries of traditional education to offer students unique expeditions and experiences, alongside classes that strive for the highest academic standards. Part of our responsibility is to regularly assess our approach to our curriculum so that each Aiglonian’s educational journey enriches the whole student and prepares them to face the wider world.
This year we have added three exciting additions to our offering.
The Aiglon Discovery Programme Activity Carousel is a range of inspirational, progressive and impactful experiences for students that are academically challenging but based on the activity programme. This compulsory activity runs every Thursday during Period 7. The experience aims to be inspirational and feel different from an academic lesson. Each student experiences 5 Activity Strands:
- Explore: Moving models. Focuses on building and powering model cars. Covers areas such as STEM, technology, robotics and entrepreneurship.
- Discuss: Rhetoric. Improving language and confidence by covering areas such as debating and public speaking
- Nature: Mesocosms. Taking inspiration from shinrin-yoku (Japanese forest bathing) the course looks at the interconnectivity of organisms and asks students to build a self-sustaining ecosystem.
- Create: Songwriting. Covers the creative arts asking students to explore the creative process
- Discover: A Million uses of a knot. Covers areas that aim to develop students practical skills and critical thinking with sessions loosely associated with the expedition programme (climbing, sailing, putting up shelters, et
Learning to play an instrument is a valuable skill but we firmly believe it can improve all students as learners and people.
That is why this year we have introduced a programme whereby all 76 junior school students are learning one of the following: Violin; Viola; Cello; Double Bass; Trumpet; French Horn; Trombone; Flute; Clarinet; Orchestral Percussion; and one harpist!
The programme so far has been a success with the vast majority of students seeming to enjoy the challenge of learning an orchestral instrument. Each student has a 25-minute session once a week, an evening practice session of half an hour and has been lent a starter instrument by the school. Many of the students are already playing in small ensembles and after Christmas, we will be looking to split the juniors into two orchestras which will run weekly for a 45-minute rehearsal in the evenings.
This experience of playing in a large ensemble will be transformative. Tom Dobney, the Head of the Creative Arts outlines “There is no shortcut to learning an orchestral instrument; it’s a long and challenging educational journey and I think of the great benefit to the juniors in a world in which instant gratification is increasingly a norm.”
Spirit is a new subject we are developing at Aiglon that looks to embrace the unique values of our school, to reflect upon the central questions from the discovery programme and to make students reflect upon themselves and their role in the world. The topics encompass concepts from personal, social, health and emotional education, as well as dealing with relevant, topical and contemporary issues in modern culture that will support Aiglon students in their development in the real world. Other topics will also be philosophical, spiritual and reflective in nature. Ultimately we look to encourage deep, critical thinking skills within our students.
So far, Year 7 have reflected upon who they are, what they know, if they can trust their own senses and engage with the ideas of Plato and Descartes. They investigated digital safety and social media, before discussing culture and being global citizens.
Year 8 have reflected upon their own personal culture and how it differs from the culture of others. All students did a presentation reflecting on their own culture, as well as looking into world religions. They ended the term by considering the role of aesthetics in being human.
Year 9 have been studying the systems that influence our behaviours and perceptions, learning about the ideas of Chomsky and Hobbes, before looking into an initial understanding of ethics.
This term the Year 10 students have been grappling with some extremely challenging topics in Spirit lessons. We began by looking at mental health issues and how we can build up our own resilience, before engaging with issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion. Year 11 began by looking at what it means to be a global citizen and how our actions can protect the planet. Before moving on to consider the importance of a good diet, our personal relationships, our sleep, and ensuring we are living healthily.
Our Discovery Programme will support each student’s transition from junior school years, toward the more academically demanding, student-driven IGCSE and IB programmes. We are providing them with newer, finer-quality skillsets combined with our expert guidance. This enhanced character education is ideally placed to encourage students’ independent inquiry, to see them make decisions in their lives that push beyond their own prior highest standards, and remain adaptable to new circumstances they will face.
The “Discovery” element of the programme isn’t simply the external adventures our students will embark upon. Students will discover the value of the learning process, and how they can continue to innovate and explore throughout their lives. Above all else, our goal is for the Aiglon Discovery Programme to unlock in students a greater understanding of themselves.