Park International: A New Approach to Education

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PaRK International School: a new approach to education

Students are not all the same and PaRK International School celebrates that difference. Here, teaching is personalised and opens up international horizons, without forgetting the school’s Portuguese roots.

Bespoke Education: the student plays the main role

We are all different, with different interests, needs and vocations. And that’s just as well. PaRK International School embraces this difference and has an educational model that respects it. At this school, the goal is for each student to be happy and achieve excellence in everything they do.

“Since each student’s needs are different, the education must also be different to guide and inspire them to be successful and happy in their adult lives. So, by personalising education, it is possible to tailor it to each student’s specific needs and get them to reach their full potential while developing social skills,” says Barbara Beck Lancastre, founder and CEO of PaRK International School. Besides, when we do what we really enjoy, we put much more effort into it, don’t we? That’s the other advantage of personalised teaching: motivation.

According to Samantha Gonçalves, Executive Head of PaRK International School Alfragide Campus, “it is very important to adapt the teaching to each student so that they are motivated to learn more and better. Thus, it is even easier to overcome obstacles and maintain focus in case students have difficulties or, in an opposite scenario, not to become demotivated if they do not feel any difficulty. Moreover, an adapted education model also allows us to enhance the students’ strengths for their academic success and to ‘work’ on their weaknesses to overcome any difficulties, promoting academic excellence”.

This model of education also gives students valuable tools for their future. Children and teenagers truly retain the information and knowledge they acquire during their academic path, as well as the social and emotional skills to know how to use it in a flexible and adaptable way in their personal and professional life. In this way, “we are forming truly global citizens, who know how to collaborate and be autonomous, resilient, with excellent adaptation and communication skills, critical thinking, and who know how to use technology to enhance learning and problem solving”, says Samantha Gonçalves.

A curriculum to suit each student

At PaRK International School, students have more freedom of choice as to what they study, namely from Grade 7 onwards, when Senior School starts, as they can choose some of their subjects according to their interests and potential. In Grade 7, they can choose a third language, in Grade 8 they can choose three subjects in art, music or drama, in Grade 9 they can select three out of 12 options and in Grade 11 they choose all the subjects they will study (six). For example, if they choose Mathematics and Science, they can also learn more about Languages and Literature. Why choose only one specific area so early and be conditioned? With this method, not only do students have more time to work out what they want to do in the future, but they are better prepared for academia and a successful personal and professional life.

Different areas to explore

A good curriculum is not just about Maths, English, Portuguese and Science. Arts, music, technology and sports are also very important elements, and are all integrated into the PaRK IS curriculum.

At PaRK International School, students have access to several areas of knowledge to learn in-depth, including Information Technology, Visual Arts, such as Design & Technology, Public Speaking, Social Skills, Research and Investigation, P.E. and Drama. In addition, students can also take part in PaRK Music Academy as an extracurricular activity, or play for PaRK Team (open to students from Grade 4 and up). PaRK Team involves weekly training sessions, preparing for different tournaments (the school participates in inter-school tournaments with the best international schools in Portugal), and to practise other sports such as athletics, basketball, football and volleyball throughout the school year.

Moreover, for Grades 5 and 6, there is also MyTime once a week, when students have the possibility to work on the areas they most enjoy. MyTime includes a wide range of activities – sports, art, music, robotics, programming, lab, mathematics, cooking, sewing and school newspaper -, and each student chooses the activity that meets their interests, defined for each term. On the other hand, in Senior School, there are several co-curricular Clubs and activities available to all the students. These take place at lunchtimes, after school and sometimes may involve activities in the evenings, weekends and holidays. Whenever they take place, they are always fun and challenging, and help with the development of new skills and interests, while further developing the PaRK IS Learner Profile attributes in the students.

Social skills are key in this educational model

PaRK International School is not only concerned with imparting purely academic knowledge to its students – according to Samantha Gonçalves, their well-being is also a priority. This is why it has a specialised Well-Being department, responsible for the Social Skills programme, plus “a team of psychologists who work closely with teachers to support each student as a whole and at all times during their academic journey, with the aim of ensuring the development of social skills from daycare to Senior School”, explains the Samantha Gonçalves.

The Well-Being department is also responsible for hosting important sessions throughout the year on key topics such as bullying and mental health. In addition, they help prepare students for their subject choices and for university itself: “Our student-centred counselling programme offers each student the tools and support they need to follow the right university and career path for their unique profile, increasing their chances of success. In addition to our student counselling services, we also have a Vocational and Individual Professional Guidance Programme”, explains Inês Appleton, Head of Well-Being.

3 Campuses available

There are 3 PaRK International School campuses in Portugal, the latest (and largest) being in Alfragide, attended by children and teenagers of all ages, from 1 year old to Grade 12:

  • Early Learning School (from 1 to 5 years old)
  • Junior School (from Grade 1 to 6)
  • Senior School (Grades 7 to 12)

Learn more on PaRK IS website:

Are you ready for the next school year?


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