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Student Support Blog_bk

Building Global Citizens

All Elementary students have one Social Emotional lesson with Ms. Vicki every week, where they learn about themselves and how they connect with others.

In this week’s grade 4 lesson, students summed up their understanding of what a global citizen is:

  • Kind
  • Open-Minded
  • Principled
  • Accepting of other people’s language and culture
  • Someone who helps others
  • A risk-taker
  • Someone who follows the rules
  • Respectful
  • Caring

Grade 4 students then explored the differences and similarities in the ways that different cultures communicate with each other.

These SEL lessons teach students the skills that enable them to be active members of a diverse and caring community.

At HIS we take the safety and well-being of your children very seriously. In addition to all teachers and teaching assistants receiving child protection training prior to the start of school, we have also worked with local staff to develop understanding of school practices and procedures.

The Child Protection team met with bus drivers, security guards, cleaners, bus monitors and administrative staff in order to discuss our shared responsibility for protecting HIS students. It was an excellent opportunity for us to consider how we might work as a whole staff, with our variety of roles and perspectives, to safeguard all HIS students.

Supporting Student Success

During the previous academic year, we changed our name from ‘Student Support Services’ to ‘Student Success’. The important shift in language reflects up to date research in the education world. We now understand that any student can experience barriers that prevent them from learning at any time. These barriers to learning can be emotional, physical, based on the learning process itself, connected to social skills etc. Our role, as a student success team, is to support all students by helping to remove or minimize these barriers to learning. In this way, we are here to help all students to find success at school.

In the Elementary Student Success team we have:

Katie Nolan: Head of Elementary Student Success/ PYP Counselor

Tatiana Kladover: EAL teacher

Bernard Murphy: Learning support teacher

In the Secondary Student Success team we have:

Lewis Mclean: Head of Secondary Student Success

Bernard Murphy: Learning support teacher

Feel free to contact any of us directly if you have any concerns regarding your child at HIS.


There are not many of us that would argue against the importance of students developing perseverance. We all need to develop the ability to stick with things, even when they are difficult; it’s a skill we need throughout our lives.

The big question is how do we teach this skill to our children?

Often, as parents, our impulse is to remove barriers for our children - we try to take away things that are hard for them. However, rather than removing hardship, supporting and guiding our children through the difficulties has been proven as one effective way to develop resilience in our children.

In the grade 4 social emotional lesson this week, the students were given the challenge of cutting a piece of paper in a way that made it possible for Ms. Vicki to step through it. The student had to voice their thought process whilst their partner wrote down the thoughts they were hearing.

This photo provides an interesting snapshot as to what perseverance looks like in one young grade 4 student’s brain. Next week we will use these notes to reflect on how and when perseverance might switch to pivot (change plan).

For more information about supporting your child to develop resilience, please read this article

Occupational Therapist

Introducing the newest member of our student success team, Zandri Byleveldt. Zandri comes to our school to work with HIS students who experience a range of barriers. Occupational therapy focuses on helping children to develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent adults.

Specific Barriers that can be supported through Occupational Therapy

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Dyspraxia (difficulty planning), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Auditory Processing Difficulties, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Developmental Delays, Learning Difficulties, Attention Deficit (ADD/ADHD), Visual Perceptual Deficit, Handwriting Development and Physical- and Mental Impairments.


Cognitive skills – Remembering letters, shapes, sequences and paying attention.

Fine motor skills – Finger dexterity, wrist and forearm control, hand strength, grasp and release and handwriting.

Gross motor skills – Balance, muscle strength, body coordination (hitting a ball, copying from the board, etc)

Self-care tasks – Dressing, bathing and self-feeding, etc.

Social skills – Taking turns, listening and following directions

Developmental delays- Encourage age appropriate development

Behaviour- Maintain positive behaviours in all environments (e.g., instead of hitting others or acting out, using positive ways to deal with anger, such as writing about feelings or participating in a physical activity)

Special equipment- Communication aids, splints, wheelchairs, etc.

Sensory issues- Addressing under- and over responsive sensory systems.

For parents wishing to find out more about how occupational therapy can be incorporated into their child’s school schedule, please contact For OT related questions or to arrange an OT appointment with Zandri, outside of school hours, please contact Zandri on +979352742


It’s hard to believe that it’s already the time of year for us to begin preparing the grade 5 students for their transition to Secondary.

Last month, grade 6 students went to visit the grade 5 students in order to answer questions that grade 5 students had created about what Secondary school is really like.

Meanwhile, the transition programme for grade 10 students has begun as they start to consider the subject choices they will shortly have to make.

During homeroom, grade ten students have been investigating how our choices can be influenced by different things. Ms Ali and Mr. Volker have worked with the students to help them consider how their choices of DP subjects may be connected to university applications.

The next step in the grade 5 transition is for the grade 5 students to be given a tour of Secondary school. Students will get the chance to see what Secondary lessons look like as well as meet key adults in the Secondary team.

Sleep: Is Your Child Getting Enough?

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."

-Irish Proverb

Over the years we have learned that there is no such thing as one right way to parent. Parenting styles can be affected by lots of different factors, such as culture, age, religion and family values. Parenting can often feel like you are navigating an obstacle course; no sooner have you resolved one issue then up pops another challenge! Without one parenting handbook for us all, it can be difficult to know if we are doing the right thing.

One aspect of parenting that is well documented is in the amount of sleep your child needs. For years, scientists have been conducting experiments in order to understand the connection between sleep and learning and memory. The bottom line is that, if your child is not getting enough sleep for their age, they are not functioning at their best during the school day.

According to the experts at the National Sleep Foundation, sleepiness can often look like the symptoms of ADHD. At school, your child might be finding it difficult to focus as well as having difficulty controlling their behaviour and emotions.

To check if your child is getting enough sleep, check out the following table:



May be Appropriate

Not Recommended

3 - 5 years

10 - 13 hours

8 - 9 hours

Less than 8 hours, more than 14 hours

6 - 13 years

9 - 11 hours

7 - 8 hours

Less than 7 hours, more than 12 hours

14 - 17 years

8 - 10 hours

7 hours

Less than 7 hours, more than 11 hours


One of our continued focuses this year is building a homeroom curriculum that supports students as they develop into young adults. An important part of being an adult is the ability to think critically; about ourselves and the world that we live in.

Recently, our grade ten homeroom teachers have been helping students to explore the concept of privilege in their ‘Choices’ unit. We were lucky enough to be joined by a guest speaker, Dr. Nina Jones, a lecturer in Media Studies at Cardiff Met University.

In the session with Dr Nina, students looked at how different groups of people are represented in the media and how this reinforces stereotypes. We then talked about how stereotypes can reinforce privilege for certain groups of people in society.

To conclude the unit on choices, students will work with Ms. Ali (University Counsellor) in order to understand how to make the right choices for Diploma subjects in grade 11.

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’.

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, here 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:

In the Elementary Student Success team we have:

Katie Nolan: Head of Elementary Student Success/ PYP Counselor

Tatiana Kladover: EAL teacher

Bernard Murphy: Learning support teacher

In the Secondary Student Success team we have:

Lewis Mclean: Head of Secondary Student Success

Bernard Murphy: Learning support teacher

Parents and students are welcome to contact any member of the student support team directly on the above email addresses.

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.