In its 50-year quest to provide high quality education and develop the next generation of successful global citizens, the Hillcrest International School in Nairobi is working hard to instil core values of respect, curiosity, determination and independence within its culturally diverse community, its administration says.
By giving broader context to lessons learnt in the classroom through their experiential approach to learning, the school provides a richly inspiring environment that encourages pupils to develop an understanding of the world, the preparatory school’s headmistress, Mrs Vikki Alden, says.
Furthermore, pupils are encouraged and empowered through creative and diverse extra-curricular activities to explore new opportunities and pursue their passions – even creating new clubs if interests are not currently catered to.
Spreading across expansive grounds in the green Nairobi suburb of Karen, Hillcrest offers the British education curriculum. The school comprises Early Years, Preparatory and Secondary school sections. It is supported by boarding facilities, and caters to an international student population from over 30 countries.
During its open day last week, amidst many stimulating and interactive activities, Mrs Alden, the headmistress, reaffirmed the school’s commitment to encouraging curiosity and a love of learning on an individual basis from an early age.
“Through provision of a wide range of subjects and learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, underpinned by our strong heritage, our driving vision today is to inspire, encourage and empower each child to achieve personal excellence as a valuable member of their global community,” she said.
At the same event, Ms Christina Lacey, Head of Admissions and Marketing, pointed out that a key factor for Hillcrest is the recognition that each child is unique with their own individual talents, and strengths.
She credits the small class sizes and well-equipped facilities for enabling teachers to give pupils individual attention. She says that this approach to each child’s development enhances their confidence to think differently and to aim high.
“The maturity required to make the most of everything offered was clearly an attribute of the Year 6 pupils who led us around the Preparatory School,” Ms Lacey said.
STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) have recently been enhanced by the school, in an initiative led by Mrs Alden and her team.
“These are taught in a way that makes learning fun and engaging, not to mention that they provide opportunities for the students to use content knowledge and skills in ways that are practical and applicable to the real world. And in the artistic sphere, talented and expert teachers encourage a balance between mastering techniques with the need for self-expression,” Ms Lacey said.
With some 22 IGCSEs, 21 A Levels, plus 5 BTECs offered in the Secondary School, the opportunities for students growing through the school to find their niche and pursue their interests into the next stage of their lives are inspiring.
Having spent a morning taking a fresh look around one of Kenya’s oldest household names, it is no wonder that Hillcrest boasts of many well-known professionals as its alumni. They include Zain Verjee, a CNN presenter; Kiran Jethwa, restaurateur and TV Chef personality; Nivi Murkejee, president of BRCK Education; Dominic Rebelo, partner at law firm Anjarwalla and Khanna and many more including Dr Shivani Bhalla, Founder and Executive Director of Ewaso Lions, who we are told is going to be the guest speaker at the upcoming Secondary Prize Giving day.