GEMS World Academy-Etoy International School serves students and the community.
Inspiring. Intimidating. Imposing. Immaculate. A school library conjures up a variety of emotions and experiences for each person. According to the students at GEMS World Academy-Etoy International School, Switzerland, the precise word might be innovative, or more perhaps even more accurately, inviting.
The new Discovery World Library at GEMS World Academy-Etoy International School is a feast for not only the senses, but also for the internationally minded student and global citizen. “The Discovery World Library is aimed at becoming the heart and soul of our school,” says founding Principal Audrey Peverelli. “It is a place where learning is cherished and celebrated in all its forms in an incredible learning environment.”
Rich with technology and literature the library is a literary paradise for research, collaboration and discovery. Helping to celebrate the inauguration of the new space in September was internationally renowned bestselling author Douglas Kennedy. For him a library is a place of refuge and escapism. “I took my first trip when I went to the public library in Manhattan at eight years old.” Indeed, libraries are portals that grant us access to different cultures, lifestyles and ways of thinking. They become a haven for curiosity seekers who wish to garner a greater understanding of our world.
Librarian Pat Moore is committed to curating a diverse collection of material for the students. “Our library catalog, Destiny by Follet, is online and accessible from any device, anywhere in the world,” including the 24 Mac Airs and 24 iPads located within the library. The catalog includes the feature WebPath Express, a librarian-vetted database with an enormous amount of information and articles. “We have over 7,000 books in the library now,” says Moore, “and the collection will continue to grow over the coming years.” Students are encouraged to suggest which books they would like added to the library, ensuring the space is engaging and interesting to its intended audience.
The students’ passions and creative endeavors are nurtured within the school and the library itself. At the inauguration event students read excerpts from their own compositions, as well as selected works by inspiring authors and poets. Student achievements are highly celebrated and they take obvious pride in their work and showmanship. Their proficiency in fluent English and French during the readings demonstrates a com-mitment to their own learning.
Well known for excelling at developing caring and knowledgeable students in the classroom, GEMS World Academy-Etoy International School is equally committed to enhancing learning opportunities for members of the community at large. The World Language Learning Center recently underwent a tremendous transformation and now provides daytime, after-school and evening classes in a number of languages, including French, German, Italian and Mandarin. In English, they offer examinations in both Cambridge English and LAMDA Communications, the latter providing students with a unique opportunity to learn the language with an emphasis on public speaking and performance, essential elements in today’s increasingly dynamic business marketplace.
“Using literature, in particular poetry and dialogues, as the basis for language acquisition means that the students become immersed in the language and acquire vocabulary very quickly. In addition, reading aloud allows the students to discover the rhythm of the language, which is essential for comprehension and verbal communication,” says Dean Marriott, Director of the World Language Learning Center. “Acquiring foreign languages is not simply about being able to construct sentences. It is about embodying languages and understanding different cultures.”
The LAMDA Communication syllabus fosters a sense of active communication and participation in the students and local community. To help augment the language curriculum, students at the World Language Learning Center have access to the school’s TV and Radio studio, language lab and Mac lab. GEMS World Academy-Etoy International School’s digitally saturated environment is well suited for this rigorous approach to language learning.
The strict emphasis on broadening cultural viewpoints, language being very much inclusive to this goal, sets GEMS World Academy-Etoy International School apart from other intuitions. Their sponsorship of Le livre sur les quais, an event aiming to promote global literature, shows a deep commitment to showcasing the arts and humanities to both their students and the wider community.
For the fourth annual Le livre sur les quais, over 300 authors from around the world gathered in Morges to meet with fans and give readings from their latest projects. Audrey Peverelli says that “by supporting the literary event Le livre sur les quais, GEMS-Etoy promotes two of its values: literacy and increased engagement among the locals, all while promulgating international exchange in the literary community.” Students were encouraged to attend the event, and authors and illustrators were welcomed at GEMS World Academy-Etoy International School for special workshops and presentations.
Author Douglas Kennedy was a key speaker at the event and respects the very intelligent readership that is consistently in attendance. The exchange of ideas and cultures that occurs at Le livre sur les quais is more than just a literary pursuit, however. For Kennedy, reading is instrumental to understanding humanity at large: “to read is to understand that we’re not alone.” Literature, it seems, is not simply about a collection of books on a shelf. It is about recognizing ourselves in others and actively becoming more aware and appreciative of our surroundings.
Article by Kristina Held