Ignite: Switzerland: First month highlights
Brave the cold!
The Snow Term at Ignite will build confidence, strength of mind and spirit, perseverance, and fearlessness.
Ignite: Switzerland is a programme for the curious, passionate, and brave, a unique 12-week overseas residential experience exclusive to Year 9 Dulwich students.
A country of dramatic landscapes, rich culture, and renowned natural beauty, Switzerland is especially glorious during the winter. A month ago, the inaugural cohort of Dulwich students at Ignite: Switzerland arrived in the Engadine Valley in the eastern Swiss Alps for a transformative learning journey as they began the Snow Term, 12 weeks where students are empowered to take ownership of their own learning, develop their leadership skills and independence, learn adaptability, grow emotionally, and pursue genuine adventure.
Winter Sports in the Majestic Alps
A big part of the Ignite programme is connecting to the outdoor world while building physical and mental strength; during the Snow Term, this meant embracing the cold with classic winter sports such as snowboarding, skiing, sledding, and ice skating against the backdrop of snow-covered peaks. Students were learning what it is like to fall over and how resilient we are when we get back up and then adapt and adjust for the next run, whether it be on the slopes or back in the classroom. Each day, we were proud to see our students pick up new skills, make progress, and become more confident on the slopes. It's incredible how far they've gone in only one month!
A range of carefully curated outdoor activities gave our pupils a taste of a new and exciting lifestyle. Amidst the stunning backdrop of the Alpine mountains, students put on their snowshoes and embarked on a journey of discovery. Every step offered breath-taking views of mountains and forests, and at the summit, a cable car awaited them to give them a birds-eye view of the splendour below. These exploratory activities not only offered them a chance to get physical exercise but also to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature.
A Challenging and Expansive Educational Programme
Core Academic Programme
For five days a week, students have been involved in classes, with a timetable much like any other school. The academic programme is a full and challenging one with the core curriculum looking very familiar to back home. Our students had a lot of fun working on themes and characters as a group in English language and literature lessons. The Maths classes were equally dynamic and engaging, with students working with angles and geometric reasoning.
Academic Programme: Electives
Students are then able to choose from a variety of electives, from filmmaking to art to music to exploring the natural world, which are designed to encourage students to explore, extend, and reflect on their learning. Students have been developing their passions and trying something new through their personalised pathways.
Students who chose the Digital Photography Elective delved into capturing the winter light and composing snowy images under the guidance of our photography and art teacher, gaining technical knowledge of new equipment and looking at nature through a different lens. We encourage students to think creatively about their artwork and to learn to give voice to their thoughts through the act of recording their work.
Students taking the Understanding the Natural World Elective explored what a truly sustainable and ethical society is, taking into account the environmental, economic, and social aspects and understanding the relationship between humans and the natural world.
At a local farm, students had the opportunity to engage with how food is produced first-hand, learning more about the inputs and outputs of agriculture as well as the impacts this has on local communities and ecosystems.
In art class, students learned about monochrome, the use of one single colour, and colour theory. Students exchanged ideas and perspectives via exploring interpretations of colour through their artwork.
Developing New Skills, Confidence and Independence
Students must also develop the basic skills of life, including cooking! At Ignite, students have the opportunity to learn these skills during weekend activities. At the end of Week 1, students made desserts—delicious Pavlova with meringue whipped and baked from scratch—a wonderful opportunity to not only learn a skill but also to form meaningful bonds of friendship while having fun. Living here, our students step out of their comfort zones and learn to organise and coordinate their daily lives and boarding experiences. Through these daily activities, our students have quickly become familiar with each other and have already made friends with students from our sister schools.
New activities, surroundings and friends also offered students new perspectives on how to respond to stress or negative emotions, and how to overcome challenges. This has a profound impact on student wellbeing, which is a core area of focus at Dulwich. Each week, students were guided through the exploration of a wellbeing topic, drawing from the very activities they participated in.
By teaching students to embrace the cold and gear up to take on new challenges, Term 2 "Snow" inspired confidence, passion, and resilience that enhanced their capacity as leaders who are equipped to make a positive difference in the world.
It is a joy and privilege to watch our young students fearlessly embrace new adventures and reach new heights, and we can’t wait to see them accomplish new milestones in the months to come!
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