Find out why Fiona Lewis is pumped for her new role and what she’s come to love about Nexus so far…
We at HoneyKids love getting to know the people behind Singapore’s top international schools. We feel it’s a great way to learn about the school, its values and why its people feel so strongly about it. We recently had the chance to have a chat with Fiona Lewis, Nexus International School (Singapore)’s new head of primary. Not only does Fiona have over 21 years of experience in education in the UK, New Zealand and Singapore, she’s also a parent herself — her three children are all students at Nexus! We chat about why she’s a fan of future-focussed education, and her favourite part of the day at school.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from and what would your students be surprised to know about you?
We arrived in Singapore in January 2017 – it was a bit of a whirlwind as we left New Zealand at quite short notice. I grew up in the UK and then spent a decade living in New Zealand, so experiencing another culture and country has been interesting and exciting. When not at school, you’ll often find me in East Coast Park, either just relaxing in the shade watching the sea or walking our dog. I like to spend time with my family playing games and have recently learnt how to play Mahjong.
What’s a typical day for you at work?
Any part of the day where I get to interact with the learners is a highlight. I love being there to say ‘Good Morning’ as they come in, or to have a chat over lunch and share a story. It’s always a highlight when the learners put together their mini-exhibitions to share their understanding and action from the Unit of Inquiry they have been working on.
Seeing and listening to how they have taken ownership of their learning is always a powerful reminder of the future-focussed skills our learners are continually developing. Even our very youngest learners are part of these amazing experiences.
What’s your philosophy towards education?
I believe that education should prepare children and young people as much as possible for the future. However, increasingly, that future is undefined. Everyone keeps telling us that the only thing we know about the future is that we don’t know what it looks like (this feels especially pertinent after the past 18 months). So our role is to equip our learners with the skills to know what to do when they don’t know what to do!
How can students develop these future-ready skills?
There are many different aspects to developing these skills. For me, three key elements are: resilience, a sense of connectedness and learning agility. With these, our learners will be able to see the challenges and disruptors of the future as catalysts and opportunities for growth, development and positive change.
How is Nexus different from other schools in Singapore?
Where do I start? Definitely our treehouse! And our innovative, flexible learning environments and incredible facilities. There’s the choice of additional CCAs you can undertake, not to mention plenty of sports, music, performing and visual arts opportunities. We also boast a truly international community, coupled with education outside the classroom experiences and opportunities to take action.
But much more than all of this – it’s the people that make Nexus an amazing place to learn. The teachers and all the incredible, dedicated staff who support our learners genuinely believe in each and every learner’s unique potential. How well our staff know our learners is very special, and something I think I would have enjoyed as a student.
What do parents tell you they value most about the school?
Our community is the heart of our school. It’s been tough over the past 18 months not being able to welcome our parents and caregivers onto our new campus. As a community, we have overcome some of the challenges with online community events and projects that have served to keep us close.
I’m very excited for the time when we can fully open our campus to our community, when we can welcome everyone in to see our learning, watch productions, visit exhibitions, share traditional and cultural heritages, join assemblies, read in the library… the list could go on and on… I can’t wait!
Can you share any lessons you’ve learned about communicating and connecting with kids throughout your years in education?
Connecting and communicating with children and young people isn’t that different from building relationships with adults. Listening is always the key. When you listen, you are able to find common ground – the connection. Just like adults, this is what our learners need. They want to know you are invested in them, that you see them, that you understand their unique potential and that you believe they will fulfil it.
How do you think students can benefit from a Nexus education?
There are so many different answers to this question, however, if I had to consider one aspect of a Nexus education that’s really powerful, it would be the autonomy our learners have. Our job as educators is no longer to simply impart knowledge. Our job is to empower our learners to be curious, to grow, develop their ideas and to create their own understanding. We’re developing our young people not to just solve the challenges of the future, but to look for the challenges of the future.
Thank you, Fiona!
To learn more about life at Nexus International School, check out www.nexus.edu.sg
This post is in partnership with Nexus International School (Singapore)