Our global programs very deliberately put our students at the center of their own learning and expand what it means to be a citizen of our world.
Our students learn that our world is a complex and dynamic place — one that we are all members of and where constructive change is always possible.
A significant priority of Packer’s mission is to help young people become “empathetic, responsible, and globally minded.” This commitment exists in the classrooms and hallways of every division, from our Early Childhood program through our Upper School curriculum, as well as in our extracurricular offerings.
Packer students learn about the many different cultures, histories, and experiences represented here at Packer, in our vibrant and multicultural city, as well as in our national and global communities. They progressively master one or more world languages. The entire 10th Grade travels abroad through our International Symposium program, described below, and many Upper Schoolers participate in Packer’s elective travel programs or study abroad. Throughout, we emphasize opportunities for hands-on engagement in the world outside our walls.
Packer is proud to be an innovator in the field of Pre-K-12 Global Learning. One of Packer’s signature programs is the International Symposium, in which every 10th Grade student travels abroad at no additional cost. From 2013 through 2018, the entire 10th Grade traveled together to the Andalucía region of Spain; beginning in 2019, the program will include travel to Greece and Peru. (Learn about our elective spring break travel programs.)
In Greece, one group will explore the complexities of refugees, migration and diversity in modern Europe, while the other will examine climate change, entrepreneurship and sustainability on the island of Crete. In Peru, one group will offer innovative solutions to a developing rural area through a non-governmental organization, while the other will listen, observe, and work together in sustainable school-to-school partnerships.
Our International Symposium is designed to ensure that every Packer graduate has the experience of using their collaborative and problem-solving skills to generate ideas in unfamiliar contexts, alongside people with whom they may not have a common language.
Another signature piece of Packer’s Global Learning program is our decade-long relationship with the Ndonyo Wasin, a residential primary school for children from the nomadic Samburu people of northeastern Kenya. Members of our Lower and Middle School faculty apply to travel to Kenya to collaborate with Ndonyo Wasin faculty and engage with their students. This professional development opportunity enables our faculty to build their skills as global educators and explore new ways of bringing global themes back to their classrooms. They return with stories, local artifacts, and student work.
Lower School students cultivate relationships with new counterparts in Kenya through periodic exchanges of letters, videos, photos, drawings, and class-made books – an exchange that allows both groups to learn about the other’s lives, cultures, and perspectives.
Packer’s Global Learning program is guided by a framework that allows our students to develop global competency through five interconnected skills:
—Investigating the world
—Communicating ideas with diverse audiences
—Taking action to make a better world
Packer is a partner of the Ndonyo Wasin Primary School in the Samburu region of Kenya. Our Lower School students have pen pal exchanges with their Kenyan counterparts, and every summer several Packer teachers travel to Ndonyo Wasin to collaborate with their faculty and exchange their students’ letters.
The Lower School experience culminates with the Immigration Celebration, where the fourth grade presents historical and cultural studies of the countries that New York’s largest immigrant populations come from today.
In the Middle School, the Fifth Grade focuses on comparative study of the world’s ancient cultures, while the 8th Grade curriculum includes an interdisciplinary exploration of the global impact of plastic. Students also begin the study of Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish.
Our Upper School curriculum includes a number of global electives, including Cultural Anthropology, History of Modern China, History of Cuba, History of the Modern Middle East, Apartheid in South Africa, and Advanced Topics in the Literature, History and Memory of Atlantic Slavery.
Our elective Spring Break travel programs provide expanded opportunities for Middle and Upper School students to deepen their global understanding through first-hand experience.