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Student Support Blog

Child Protection at Hanoi International School

Here at HIS, we pride ourselves on being a welcoming, safe and inclusive school that recognises the importance of developing the whole child in partnership with the student and their family.

An important part of being a CIS accredited school is that we have procedures and policies in place to protect the students who study in our school. These procedures mean that we look out for signs that students may be at risk in some way.

In August 2018, we began a new procedure of asking all HIS parents to sign an acknowledgement of the school’s stance on suspected abuse:

On June 1st 2017, Vietnam adopted a new law ensuring the enforcement of children’s rights in accordance with the spirit of the United Nations conventions of the Rights of the Child. Accordingly, we uphold all children’s right to safety and will report any instances of suspected abuse. This includes abuse used by parents as a disciplinary measure where the UN Convention on the Rights of Children states, “Any form of discipline involving violence is unacceptable.”

Consequently, all parents need to be aware that we are obligated to take further steps if we are concerned about the physical and/or psychological safety of any of our students.

This was an important step towards increasing the transparency of our Child Protection policy and procedures.

In a continued attempt to increase transparency, we have added our Child protection policy to the HIS website. Along with other important school documents that you might find helpful, the Child Protection policy can be accessed from the ‘Policies, handbooks and information page’.

The Child Protection team for the academic year 2018 - 19 are Ms. Vicki Gardner (Child Protection Lead), Ms. Loan Ngo Minh (Child Protection Officer) and Mr. James Kaunhoven (Child Protection Officer). Any students, parents and staff who are concerned about the welfare or wellbeing of an HIS student (from pre KK through to grade 12) should feel confident in reporting their concerns directly to the Child Protection Team. Any information we receive is treated in strictest confidence and in line with the Child Protection policy.

To find out more about UNICEF’s work on Child Protection in Vietnam, visit this website.

If you have any questions about Child Protection at Hanoi International School, please email the Child Protection Team at

Learning & the Emotions

As advances are made in brain science, we understand more and more about the way that children learn best.

We now know that, when the fight or flight response is triggered in the feeling brain, the thinking brain can’t do its job properly. When a student perceives a threat (emotional or physical) the student is not able to reflect, think or make decisions efficiently.

The good news is that we can train our feeling brain to be calm by doing any of the following:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness or meditation
  • Practice optimism

And we can strengthen the stability of our thinking brain through any of the following:

  • Any service activity that helps others
  • Physical activity
  • Physical contact
  • Follow a good sleep routine
  • ‘Play’
  • Find ways to express your appreciation

Our job as educators and parents must therefore be to work together to help the children that we care for to have these kinds of activities built into their daily routines.

For more information on the connection between brain science and learning, watch this video, created by sentis.

Developing Resilience in our Children

This year at HIS, two of our focus areas are celebration and identity. We are looking at many ways in which we can develop school, staff and student identity as well as looking for opportunities to celebrate the many successes happening in our school every single day.

There have been several studies on the effects of using praise with students. Obvious benefits include the effect that praise has on student self-esteem and motivation.

We have also been hearing more and more about the biggest way to determine how successful you will be in life. Psychologist, Angela Duckworth, has found that the biggest influence on how successful you will be in life is grit and perseverance and not how high your IQ is.

Fortunately, there is a way to develop grit and perseverance in our children and that is to praise them for their efforts, for the things that they have control over, rather than their achievements. In this way, we are telling our children that we value determination and hard work and the growth mindset that this gritty approach will cultivate. Now that is something worth celebrating!

Article regarding the effects of praise

Article about how to use praise to develop a growth mindset

Supporting Student Success!

We believe that a normal part of growing up is to experience stumbling blocks. From time to time, students may experience stumbling blocks in their language development, in their learning, in their friendships and in their families. Any of these stumbling blocks can have a negative effect on a student’s academic progress.

For times when students need help jumping over those stumbling blocks, we have a student support team in place in both Elementary and Secondary school. The aim of the student support team is to help all students to be successful.

Meet the Team:

Supporting Success in the Elementary School

Mr. Sam - Student Support Services Coordinator in Elementary

Ms. Vicki - Elementary counsellor

Ms. Vani - English as an additional language teacher

Ms. Meryn - English as an additional language teacher

Supporting Success in the Secondary School

Ms. Vicki - Student Support Services Coordinator in Secondary

Ms. Vicki - Secondary social emotional counsellor

Mr. Bernard - Learning Support assistant

Parents and students are welcome to contact any member of the student support team directly on the above email addresses or to communicate with the Director of Whole School Student Support Services (

We look forward to helping your child to find their own path to success as part of the HIS community.

Protecting our Children from Online Predators

In a world dominated by social media, it is important that we take the time to educate our students on how they can keep themselves safe online.

The HIS homeroom curriculum is designed to give students an opportunity to find out about important issues that might not be covered in their normal classes.

Grade 6 homeroom teachers are currently teaching their homeroom class about how to stay safe online. Parents are encouraged to follow up with their child by setting up safety agreements at home.

For more information on how to keep your child safe, visit this website.

Inclusive Schools

As a part of the social emotional curriculum in PYP, grade 3 and 5 students have been talking about creating a community in which every student feels included. The students reflected on:

  • What it means to be inclusive
  • Why is it important?
  • How does it feel when you are not included?
  • Whose responsibility is inclusion?

The students then created role plays that showed how something as simple as how the way we sit and stand can include or exclude others.

The students understood that even small changes can make a big difference in building an inclusive community that cares for every student.

Grade 9 students learning about stress

In homeroom last week, grade 9 students welcomed a guest speaker as part of their unit on stress. Ms. Jennifer Marchand, a locally based psychologist, gave a presentation that answered questions that grade 9 students have on the subject of stress:

●What is stress and how do you know if you have it?

●What can you do to feel less stressed?

●What should I do if I can’t control my own stress levels?

The information in Ms. Marchand’s presentation may well prove useful as grade nine students begin their preparations for grade ten and the completion of the Personal Project.

Make a connection!

In this digital age, much has been written about the effect of technology and social media on teenage mental and physical health. Studies indicate that excessive use of technology, and social media in particular, can result in feelings of anxiety, depression and social isolation.

Technology does, however, have its place. The HIS ‘Responsible User’ agreement outlines that, “Responsible use of technology by students, with guidance from teaching staff, provides a secure and safe learning environment” and can, “ … enhance student learning experiences in profound ways.”

However, away from the classroom, many students struggle to find a healthy balance between connecting with others socially online as opposed to connecting with others in person and face to face. The co-curricular programme that HIS offers to all students is a great way for students to make new friends. With holistic education at the heart of the HIS mission statement, the co-curricular programme provides our students with opportunities to make personal connections and a framework to look up from their phones and develop meaningful relationships with others.

For details on this quarter’s CCP opportunities, please contact

Growing up!

Being a Secondary school student can be both scary and exciting, stressful and exhilarating; it is a time of great change in a young person’s life. Studies show that, done well, a student’s transition from Elementary to Secondary school can have a positive impact on academic success and well-being.

Just before the Tet break we began the transition process for grade 5 students at HIS. Representatives from the grade six homeroom visited the grade 5 students in order to answer initial questions that the younger students had regarding the move. We felt that grade 6 students may be in a better position to provide relevant, accurate and relatable answers to the burning questions that grade 5 students have generated.

Speaking about the chance to ask questions about the transition to Secondary, a grade five student said, “It was really helpful to hear their answers.”

As part of the transition programme at HIS, grade 5 students will be taken on a tour of Secondary, with an opportunity to meet some teachers and see some lessons in action. Students will enjoy a full transition day on Tuesday 5th June, when they get to spend an entire day experiencing what it will be like as a grade 6 student. Students will also be supported with special induction sessions that focus on areas such as MYP assessment and Managebac.

The link below contains several resources for parents in supporting their child in the transition process.

Grade five parents should please put a note in yourdiary for the parent information evening on June 5th where further information will be shared about how you can support your child through the Secondary school years.

Why Emotions Matter

Have you ever found yourself wondering why more and more schools are turning to mindfulness and investing in social and emotional education as a core part of the curriculum? The important role that emotions play in learning is even reflected in our school’s mission statement:

“We strive to develop the whole child as a life-long learner with a strong sense of self worth.”
Hanoi International School Mission Statement

We know that if a student’s emotions aren’t in balance, then their brains aren’t ready for new learning. The article below from Edutopia explores the lessons that we can learn from the Pixar film, ‘Inside Out’ (2015) on the effect of emotions on our perception and attention spans.

As an IB World School, we explicitly teach our students how to understand and regulate their emotions as well as how to communicate their emotions in an appropriate way. Throughout the PYP, MYP and DP, students discuss the emotional aspect of their identity in the social emotional curriculum as well as developing these self-management skills in all subjects, through the lens of ‘Approaches to Learning’ skills.