Green Shoots Difference
At Green Shoots, every child is special. We opened with just a dozen students and at our core we still believe that we are a family in which each member supports and encourages the others.
We serve a tight-knit expatriate community and make every effort to get to know all of the people enrolled with us – students, their parents, and their friends – so that we can understand each individual’s needs. Our small size allows us to respond to distinct circumstances and we take great pride in our ability to focus on the unique learning needs of each child.
Any school is, first and foremost, a place of academic learning and Green Shoots is no exception. Our small class groups, differentiated teaching and learning style, tightly-structured curriculum, and dedicated teaching staff ensure that your child will benefit from the best possible learning experience we can provide.
Beyond this, however, we offer so much more.
We believe that a school is not just a place of academic achievement but also the setting in which children are encouraged to become independent, confident, empathetic and creative individuals. We nurture and guide them as they develop the skills and personal attributes that will take them there.
Learning at Green Shoots is a holistic experience, where creativity and out-of-the-box thinking flourish, preparing our students for the challenges of the ever-changing 21st century. We provide students with a safe place within which to test their own limits: succeeding often but knowing that it is safe – and indeed important – to fail too, for it is through failure that we sometimes learn most effectively.
Our strong focus on learning for sustainability further differentiates us from other international schools. The idea that our world has only finite resources and we are both collectively and individually responsible for their care is woven into all levels of the Green Shoots curriculum and throughout our school day.
Student Representative Council
The Green Shoots student council comprises class representatives from our upper primary and secondary classes. Representatives are elected by their classmates and play an active role in sharing students’ ideas with faculty and developing the school’s systems, ethos and values.
A plastic-free campus initiative, which saw the banning of single-use plastic bags and containers on campus, was the result of student council brainstorming. Changes to our menu rotation and a new rubbish disposal system also stemmed from council meetings.
At Green Shoots, we believe strongly in empowering students to be responsible leaders and empathetic thinkers. The student council builds both skills in spades, as members must understand the needs of their fellow students and must learn to communicate these needs effectively to the school’s leadership.
At Green Shoots, mindfulness is a practice that helps us direct our attention to experiences and emotions as they unfold, being in the present moment with an open mind. Being mindful helps us respond effectively and appropriately to what is happening to us and around us, whether it be positive or negative. Developing the skills to be aware of, and to focus on and manage our emotions and experiences, is an essential skill for 21st-century learners so they can manage the daily stresses and challenges they may face.
Students and teachers all practice mindfulness on a regular basis in a variety of ways. Breathing exercises, guided visualisations, quiet reflection time, and art journaling are just a few ways we support all members of the school community to be more mindful and keep a healthy balance in their lives.
Food & Nutrition
The establishment of diverse and healthy eating habits are an important part of life at Green Shoots as we teach our students that a healthy mind and healthy body are intertwined.
Our kitchen prepares food fresh each day, avoiding MSG, artificial colours, and additives entirely, and sugars as much as possible. Our menu changes each term based on a three-weekly rotation as central Vietnam’s weather changes from dry to wet, cool to hot.
We combine Vietnamese and international dishes in each rotation, ensuring that every day’s menu contains a balance of the five core food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and dairy), especially lots of Vietnam’s wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables. This pattern is broken only on Meat Free Mondays, when we allow our students to appreciate a meat-free meal in order to help them understand the positive impact of reducing meat consumption on our environment.
We offer vegetarian and gluten-free meal options for students and staff who require them and encourage non-vegetarian students to try our vegetarian options at various points through the year as they expand their culinary options.
Students in the kindergarten receive a morning snack around 10am, lunch at 11:30am (younger students) or 12pm (older students) and a small afternoon snack before the end of the school day.
Primary students take their morning snack at 10:30am and lunch at 12:30pm. Secondary students take these meals shortly after the primary classes have been served. Both primary and secondary lunches are served with a dessert of fresh fruit. Students in these classes do not receive an afternoon snack.
Field Trips & Outings
Field trips and outings are an integral part of learning at Green Shoots, where experiential learning is key to our programme. School trips offer a variety of benefits to students of all ages: they can reinforce learning that has taken place in the classroom, engage students in a real-life project, develop socialisation skills, offer exposure to new environments and situations, and develop curiosity. On top of all this, they are fun! Trips and outings allow children to bond with classmates in a new way and gain a new perspective on people, places, and situations they are approaching from a new angle.
Our teachers plan trips that support learning in different areas of the curriculum. Most of these will be local (in the Hoi An and Danang area) and will take place during school hours. Some trips may be overnight and, for our secondary students, may involve overseas travel. Our primary classes often celebrate the end of the school year with an overnight camping adventure on school grounds.
Extra Curricular Activities
Green Shoots offers a range of extra curricular activities to students and community members from Reception and above. Teachers, some secondary students, and outside providers offer a broad range of activities which vary from term to term and include a range of:
- Sports (for example: football, swimming, tennis, futsal)
- Games (for example: chess, other board games, and Minecraft)
- Skills (for example: knitting, cooking, sign language, jewellery making, and crafting)
- Other activities (for example: mad scientists, choir, photography, and additional languages)
A selection of our recent ECA activities can be seen below. Please contact the school if you would like to learn more about our Extra Curricular programme.
Calendar & School Day
Our academic year runs from late August to late June and includes 180 or 181 instructional days, in line with many Northern Hemisphere international schools.
School holidays include a Mid-Autumn break in October, a Christmas break, a Tet break (Lunar New Year, for which exact holiday dates are set by the Vietnamese government) during our Spring Term, and a break between our Spring and Summer Term in March or April.
There are also nine Staff Professional Development Days incorporated into the calendar where teaching staff, but not students, are required to attend. Five of these are in the week preceding the start of the school year and the remaining four are placed through the academic year and can be found, clearly marked, on our school calendar.
The school year is split into three terms, two of which are further split into smaller teaching blocks.
The Autumn Term runs from the beginning of our school year in late August to the Christmas break and is subdivided into Autumn One (from August to mid-October) and Autumn Two (from late-October to the Christmas break).
The Spring Term runs from January to our Spring holiday, which falls sometime in late March or April (exact timing depends on the Lunar New Year, Tet, which falls in January or February). Our spring break is planned to divide into manageable teaching blocks the period between Tet and the end of the school year. The Summer Term runs from the end of the spring holiday to the close of the school year in June.
These terms are used by teachers to plan units of study and are based roughly on the British term system. They do not coincide with billing quarters, which simply split the full teaching year into four periods of equivalent length.
The Green Shoots school day runs from 8:30am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday. Our younger students can access a longer day through our Before and After School Care programmes, which offers childcare from 7:45am to the beginning of school and from the end of the school day until 5pm each day. This service is available to students in our Little Shoots, Early Years and Key Stage 1 programmes.
Green Shoots provides a school bus service between Hoi An and Danang and also locally within Hoi An. Our buses contain booster seats and safety harnesses for young children and seat belts for all children. Each bus is accompanied by a bus supervisor.
While every attempt is made to meet the individual needs of each family using, or wishing to use, the bus service, the following points must be noted:
- The school does not offer door-to-door pick up and drop off but will amend bus stops on a term-by-term or annual basis to best meet the needs of families living in different areas.
- A new bus service will be launched where sufficient demand exists in a given area.
- The bus will wait up to two minutes at a designated pick up or drop off stop, after which it will proceed to the following stop. If a child arrives for pick up after the two-minute waiting period is over and the bus has moved on, he or she will need to make alternative travel arrangements. If a parent arrives late at a drop off point, the bus will return to that point only after all other bus stops have been served.
For more on our bus service, see the Policy Handbook.
Many of our older students cycle to school. Green Shoots provides secure parking for cyclists in a covered area that is locked at 8:30am, when school commences, and unlocked again at the end of the school day at 3:30pm. All students who opt to cycle to school must wear a helmet.
Some Green Shoots parents choose to bring their child to school by bicycle, motorbike, or car. Those using the first two forms of transport must ensure that their child wears a helmet and has appropriate protective attire for Central Vietnam’s changing climate.
For more information about our transportation policy, please see the Policy Handbook.