The Round Square
GNS is proud to be a member of the Round Square, a worldwide network of innovative schools in 40 countries across five continents that follow a unique, educational philosophy that supports students on their journey to becoming well-rounded adults.
The Round Square philosophy emphasizes learning by doing as our students grow to be responsible global citizens who value academics, welcome diverse ideologies, respect cultural and spiritual differences and recognize their role in shaping a harmonious planet.
Round Square schools fulfil this commitment by living according to the IDEALS—International understanding, Democracy, Environmental stewardship, outdoor Adventure, Leadership and Service. Students attending Round Square schools make a strong commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility. As part of this enriching, values-based education, students spearhead campaigns, take part in community service, and participate in exchange programs and conferences, which can, and frequently do, take them around the world and open their minds and hearts to new ideas and ways of life.
- History of the Round Square
- GNS and the Round Square
- At the Junior School
- At the Middle School
- At the Senior School
Founded in 1966, the Round Square and its philosophy derive from the theories of German experiential educational philosopher Dr. Kurt Hahn. Dr. Hahn believed that schools play an integral role in the life training of students, beyond preparing them for the academic challenges of post-secondary education. He believed that schools need to prepare students for living in the world, a world that needs courageous, creative, compassionate, and principled citizens.
Through its inspiring conferences, unforgettable service projects, and cultural exchange opportunities, the Round Square Conference of Schools offers this fundamental preparation for life.
GNS joined the Round Square Conference of Schools in 1996. Our membership was a natural progression, seeing as the essential ingredients of a Round Square school have been embodied in GNS since our founding. The Round Square IDEALS give us focus for our co-curricular activities and enhance our longstanding commitment to preparing students for the real world by sharing with other schools and by renewing ourselves through our worldwide friendships.
Our membership provides many opportunities for our students. International exchanges are available to and from many schools in North America and beyond; students take part in international service projects in countries such as Mexico, Kenya, India, and Thailand; and student and teacher delegates attend the Round Square International, Regional or Young Round Square conferences each year.
The Round Square is, in the words of its motto, "Discovering the world and making a World of Difference," and GNS is proud to be a part of this work.
At the Junior School, the focus of the Round Square program is more inward facing and has been created to provide leadership opportunities for the older students. Actions may take the form of organizing a presentation at a Friday Morning Live assembly or a school spirit event and are meant to be entirely student-driven with teacher sponsor support. Younger students are encouraged to seek out their older peers with ideas that can be discussed amongst the Round Square group.
The Young Round Square (YRS) meets every week to address current affairs, both local and global, and discuss the kind of action they can take to help the situation, whether by spreading awareness, raising money, or getting out in the community and helping through a service project. In the past, our Young Round Square students have prepared and served meals at the Mustard Seed, travelled to We Day in Vancouver, participated in the YRS conferences, cleaned up garbage along nearby beaches, and organized food and toiletry collections for local food banks and shelters.
Exchange opportunities are popular among Middle School students, who spend two weeks at another Round Square school in North America, and then host their partner for two weeks. While exchange opportunities are open to all students, year-round participation in the YRS enhances the experience.
For more information about Middle School Round Square exchanges, read the Middle School Exchange Program booklet, or contact Ms. Waugh. To apply for an exchange, fill out the Application Form and return it to Ms. Waugh.
The YRS also provides a number of leadership opportunities for students, either as a group leader or as an organizer of a specific project.
There are many ways for our senior students to get involved with the Round Square.
- They can join the Round Square Committee, a group of approximately 20 students and 3 staff that work together to raise awareness and take action on local and global issues they feel passionate about.
- They can support the Round Square Committee by attending/participating in any of their initiatives.
- They can go on a Round Square Exchange and travel around the world to attend another Round Square school, or represent the school at a Round Square Conference. Each year the school sends a delegation to the International Round Square Conference and to the Round Square Conference of the Americas. For more information about Senior School Round Square exchanges, read the Senior School Exchange Program booklet, or contact Ms. McKerlich. To apply for an exchange, fill out the Application Form and return it to Ms. McKerlich.
- They can participate in an International Service Project. As a Round Square school, we are able to send independent, adventurous Senior School students (age 16 and up) to Round Square International Service Projects, which are run by Round Square International.