Fine Arts Helps BASIS International School Guangzhou Open with a Flourish Vectors Campus Feature Series Finally Goes Overseas

Welcome to BASIS International School Guangzhou! One of the highlights of our first year has been the numerous polished fine arts performances produced by our students and fine arts teachers. Our fine arts faculty consists of art teachers Evelyn Lareau and Nicole Sittie, drama teachers Anita Hameed and Gyendra Sooriah, and music teachers Zak Doyle and Jason Rowe. Ms. Lareau and Mr. Rowe have become subject advisors (SADs) and Ms. Sittie will be one of our deans next year.

We opened on September 4, 2017 as the 31st school in the worldwide BASIS Curriculum Schools network, serving students from kindergarten through 9th grade. Our school has about 35,000 square meters of interior space, the most in the network, and also the first boarding school, accommodating up to 300 students in 5th grade and above, five days a week. Next school year (2018-19) we will serve preschool students through 10th graders, eventually becoming a PreK-1 through grade 12 school. Our current enrollment is 380 students, but growth happens in the BASIS Curriculum Schools network, so our expected enrollment next year is between 600 and 650 students.

The required and elective fine arts courses in the BASIS Curriculum serve a number of key functions. They stimulate learning, creativity, imagination, inventiveness, fine motor skills, English language development, flexibility, fairness, self-confidence and self-esteem, experimentation, social connections, team building, leadership, decision making, cultural appreciation, problem solving, critical thinking, dignity, discipline, emotional intelligence, and a love of learning. Scientific studies show fine arts courses stimulate neurological connections in students’ brains that result in cognition. They give students additional opportunities to explore and find their passion and to behave and think in ways different from their norms. They provide connections to other courses in the BASIS Curriculum. Finally, often they are simply fun.

The appetite for fine arts performance and shows among our students and their parents is quite large as evidenced by our large and enthusiastic audiences. During the first half of the school year, we produced seven shows, including the following.

Tacky the Penguin (Kindergarten students)

Cross curricular links of this theme are humanities and life sciences.

Tacky the Penguin is a total nonconformist who lives with a group of formal, proper penguins. But it is Tacky who foils the plans of three critters with “get-rich-quick plans” that threaten the penguins’ existence. With his un-penguin-like antics, Tacky puzzles the hunters to such an extent that they’re firmly convinced they cannot be in the “land of the pretty penguins.”

This is a rollicking tale that clearly shows that there are advantages to being an individual.

The Broken Toy (1st and 2nd grade students)

Cross curricular links of this theme are humanities, history and engineering.

In a world where toys are living things who pretend to be lifeless when their owners are present, a group of toys sets out on a mission. The group is from various differing decades and is on a mission to rescue a damaged toy from the Tip. The toys must race against the sunrise and a pack of hungry rats to succeed. During the mission to the Tip, they meet various community characters who assist them on their mission.

Shakespeare Rocks (3rd and 4th grade students)

Shakespeare with style!

Students at Penny Lane School are having a hard time understanding the works of William Shakespeare. So the drama teacher decides to call an old friend and take the children to watch a production by The Rough Shakespeare Company’s pretentious director Aubrey.

Aubrey obtains what appears to be William Shakespeare’s lost diary. Aubrey and her two down-to-earth assistants Al and Bob decide to embark on an exclusive adaption of the flamboyant Bard’s personal journal.

“Shakespeare Rocks!” is a fresh, funny, and up-to-date look at the life and times of William Shakespeare, with a cast of hilarious historical characters, amusing glimpses into some of his works and how he came “To Be.”

The songs for the production are exciting, modern and full of energy. They include everything tied to Shakespeare and the Elizabethan era, and are so ‘cool’ that they are not only informative, they guarantee to enthuse students, parents, and teachers alike!

Shakespeare didn’t just write… he rocked!

Pirates of the Curry Bean (5th to 9th grade students)

Anchors away and set sail for swashbuckling pirate adventure on the high seas in this piratical musical that’s sure to shake your booty! Young twins Jack & Liza Periwinkle yearn for adventure, so imagine their joy at discovering a real-life treasure map! But when the infamous Redbeard and his pungent Pirates of the Curry Bean steal the map and kidnap their mother, the race is on to rescue her, reclaim the map, and find the treasure! Accompanied by their faithful cat Fiddlesticks, the twins join a mad admiral and his crazy crew on a voyage of adventure that takes them from Old London Docks to the mysterious island of Lumbago in the sea of Sciatica! Will they be first to find the treasure chest, or is a surprise awaiting them that’s even better than gold? With colorful characters, sparkling songs and a witty script as sharp as a cutlass, this show is dripping with piratical style.

The Ensembles (8th and 9th grade students)

During the second half of the school year, we are producing four shows, including the following.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1st to 8th grade students)

Arts Extravaganza (Kindergarten to 8th grade students)

Affiliated with our fine arts performances and shows is BUSY BEES, an unusual extracurricular charitable club that works side-by-side with local charities in Guangzhou and across China and the world. It encourages donations from the audiences of our fine arts shows, identifies charities with which to partner, and donates 100% of all contributions to the selected charitable organizations.

According to Ms. Sittie, the sponsor of BUSY BEES, “We believe that engaging in voluntary service activities provides our students with opportunities to become active members of their community, build their leadership skills, and create a lasting, positive impact on society.”

BUSY BEES launched a new ‘pen-pal project’ with a local Chinese charity named A-Help, which helps Zijin Meizhong Primary School, among many other schools in our province.

They visited us quite excitedly to learn about BUSY BEES, and twenty-five Chinese students from grades 4-6 ultimately connected with pen pal students from our school.

BUSY BEES has made donations of books, clothing, and cash to A-Help, K2Fit, and the Wilber Foundation.

Mark Allen is Head of School at BASIS International School Guangzhou. Prior to that, he served as Head of School at BASIS Peoria, and has also served as Head of Operations at BASIS Peoria.

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