Malvern College Tokyo: The People, Passion and Power

If you think today’s youngsters spend too much time staring morosely at their ubiquitious electronic devices and have little power, passion or patience for social issues, innovation and solutions to better the world, you should’ve attended Malvern College Tokyo’s first Primary Year Programme (PYP) Exhibition to showcase its Preparatory 6 students’ final project before graduating to the Middle Year Programme (MYP). 

I first became interested in this event because my nine-year-old in Prep 4/5 was among students that afternoon who had previewed and experienced what would also be expected of them at future MCT Exhibitions after they move up to Prep 6.  

MCT staff had told me that Prep 6 students were very excited to start this challenging task about one month before the Exhibition by choosing themes that personally interested each group of up to three students. 

They worked closely with other students, collaborated with teachers, and reached out to the local community to carry out research and create their presentations.

After school on Friday May 24, MCT warmly welcomed me and other parents and their guests to enjoy refreshments before hearing first-hand about their thorough research behind the engaging Exhibition. 

After rapturous applause for the enthusiastic singing, acting and dancing by the energetic Prep 6 students, and a rousing welcome speech by MCT Founding Headmaster Mike Spencer, the exhibition officially opened.

“Our Prep 6 students have truly embodied the spirit of pioneers through this first MCT PYP Exhibition,” he said. “They have explored new ideas and concepts, taken risks by venturing into uncharted territories, solved problems without a roadmap, and inspired us all with their passion and determination. These students have blazed a trail, showing what is possible when young minds are unleashed to tackle issues they care about. Their exhibition is a testament to the power of inquiry-based learning and the remarkable potential within every child.”

Among a lively throng of curious visitors, helpful teachers and keen students, I walked along the clean and wide corridors of MCT which were decorated with colorful and informative posters created by the students during the past year or so. I popped in to see what was happening in each bright and airy classroom with large windows overlooking the spacious and well-kept gardens and safe play areas. 

There is even a spectacular view—on fine days—of the one and only Mt Fuji!

Project themes on prominent display with detailed explanations and presentations by MCT students were: 

Tech & Robotics
Yohta and Kaito’s statement said: “We are interested in exploring real world problems and developing solutions using robots.”

Creativity in Education
Mio O said: “I chose MCT because there wasn’t enough time to develop and use our creativity at my previous school. So I want all schools to be more creative.”

Coexistence of Birds and Humans
Mitsuki, Mira and Matilda were busy talking about the destruction of ecosystems and the rights of endangered species and birds.

Child Poverty
Soma and Sein, meanwhile, were creating recipes that are tasty, healthy, cheap and easy to make. “We are also finding ways to donate to food banks.” They had turned their idea into action by collecting dozens of donated tins of food for the Second Harvest charity that helps homeless people in Tokyo. 

Problems in Society
Sae, Yuka and Mio W eagerly told me what they think about gender equality, women’s fashion and school punishments.

Animal Cafes
Satsuki and Karen said that some animal cafes can be cruel as pets can get stressed in such places. “The way we treat animals impacts our community.”

Undiscovered Living Things in the Ocean 
Echo’s central idea is that we have not yet discovered everything in the oceans. “This is important because if we keep putting trash in the ocean, we won’t have seafood to eat.”   

Car Technology
Kento and Kenya firmly believe the world will be a far better place if we make and use more electric cars instead of petrol-powered ones. “Because it can slow down climate change.”

I am sure that many parents went home feeling, like me, a bit better about their children’s future, with the title of the event—“Passions Inspire Action”—ringing in our ears. 

The event pamphlet made by the students stated: “The PYP Exhibition reflects who we are as learners. Everything you see today is the result of a student-led, inquiry-based collaborative process that challenged us to take action on issues we care about.”

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