By Giovanna Iorio
CAS Coordinator at Haileybury College, UK
As of March 26, more than a third of the world’s population is living under some form of lockdown due to coronavirus. More than three billion people in almost 70 countries and territories have been asked to stay at home. When the Government closed schools in UK our students returned to their countries and homes. They also were asked to spend two weeks in isolation and begin lockdown with their families.
The important role of CAS in the wider education of students within the DP has never been more evident.
Students rely on CAS more than ever for their well-being. Research has shown that a sense of engagement is important to well-being. Adolescent engagement in a rich and varied CAS Program is positively associated with well-being, and those experiencing engagement report greater levels of psychological well-being than those who did not.
CAS students learn perseverance and the tenacity to continue with a task or activity, even though challenges may occur.
At school, even if remotely, we continue to support our students in these weeks with suggestions and ideas to remain healthy and positive. The 2021 Cohort is developing CAS projects and they will be engaged in a range of real and purposeful activities.
Every day they write to share their experiences on the CAS blog. They participate in daily challenges and express their creativity in many ways from photography and gardening to Lego.
One of our students, Sara, writes words to inspire all: “In a world with crisis, life can be consumed by panic. Sanity needs to be found within it. Use the time you have to explore. Find passions and learn about what you love. This is an opportunity to find out more about yourself. As hard as the pandemic has been for so many people around the world, hope and positivity can help us through this. Try to help in any way you can, while still maintaining what your government advises. You could donate to a charity helping the fight against the virus. Never let panic get the better of you.” As CAS project she decided to produce masks to distribute to her local community with recycled Indian traditional sari.
Another student, Greta, has started a new course in “International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice” to gain a broader insight into legal systems of modern times.
Finally, Pauline wrote some memorable pages in her diary describing her weeks of isolations. Now in her hometown she decided to work in a local shop as a shop assistant as there is a shortage of workers.
I am sure that this unusual and difficult time will produce unique and meaningful CAS portfolios that will give a perspective and learning opportunities for others in the future.