GNS is proud to be a member of the Round Square, a worldwide network of innovative like-minded schools in 50 countries on six continents that follow a unique, educational philosophy that supports students on their pathway 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.
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.
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.
At the Junior School, the focus of the Round Square program is more inward facing and provides 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.
In the Middle School, students meet weekly to discuss current affairs, both local and global, and then brainstorm what kind of actions they can take whether by spreading awareness, raising money, or getting out in the community and helping through a service project. In the past, our students have prepared and served meals at the Mustard Seed, participated in conferences, cleaned up garbage along nearby beaches, and organized food and toiletry collections for local food banks and shelters. Exchange opportunities are also 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.
Senior School students can get involved with Round Square by joining the committee and by participating in the many student-led initiatives. For those looking for a more immersive experience, students can apply to go on a Round Square Exchange where they will have the opportunity to travel around the world to attend another Round Square school, or represent their school at a Round Square Conference. The school sends a delegation to both the International Round Square Conference and the Round Square Conference of the Americas each year. In addition, as a Round Square school, students have the chance to participate in International Service Projects, which are run by Round Square International and are open to independent and adventurous Senior School students who are 16 and up.