Such active and experiential learning gets children to move more, and think big. It spurs them to embrace their curiosity and to see learning as a lifelong pursuit. “This is the essence of education at Harrow Appi — a place where academic excellence is seamlessly blended with the beauty and wonder of our natural world,” says Tong.
Harrow International School Appi Japan is one of Asia’s most distinctive boarding schools. Drawing on the 450-year legacy and academic excellence of Harrow School in the UK, Harrow Appi offers a world-class British education with 100% boarding and state-of-the-art facilities — all within a uniquely Japanese setting.
This direct access to nature offers more than pollution-free air, star-filled nights, and a clean healthy environment. “Our students are encouraged to step beyond the confines of traditional textbooks and immerse themselves in the practical exploration, critical thinking and application of their knowledge and understanding; this is deep learning,” says Head Master, Stephen Tong. “Whether it's delving into astronomy, conducting scientific investigations, expressing creativity through the arts, or analysing statistical features around our campus, our students are empowered to experiment and engage with learning in a dynamic and immersive manner.”
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Outdoor activities have taken students into blizzards, music ensembles, lava fields and retirement homes. In winter (or white season), students ski or snowboard up to four times a week. Come summer (or green and gold seasons), they'll focus on golf, tennis, and cycling. Enrichment programmes allow students to engage with their surroundings through mountain biking, tennis, golf, hiking, or other outdoor activities as well. At every new step and scene, these students learn teamwork, problem-solving, resilience, and adaptability — attributes that are crucial for success in life and leadership.
"As active participants, students take leadership and ownership over their learning,” says Fitzgerald. “Whether it's through outdoor expeditions, sports, adventurous activities, or creative and artistic endeavours, students are encouraged to experience, reflect, adapt and apply learning in a cyclical process."
Set amongst the mountains of Iwate Prefecture, the school is located on the best ski resort in Japan(Ski Awards 2022), neighbours a 36-hole golf course, and has access to 14 tennis courts for students to access. This provides a unique platform for students to develop essential life skills that textbooks can never replicate. “The natural environment and outdoor experiences at Harrow Appi provide a dynamic and enriching extension of the school's educational philosophy,” says David Fitzgerald, Assistant Head: Enrichment. “They offer students the opportunity to gain practical life skills, nurturing their holistic development and preparing them to be leaders who excel both in their academic pursuits and in life beyond the classroom.”
Learning in context
“These qualities enable students to explore, challenge themselves, and develop leadership skills, which not only enrich academic journeys of students but also empower them to excel in life and to stand out in university applications,’ says Fitzgerald. “We benchmark the learning experiences of our students outside the classroom utilising our Harrow Values of Honour, Humility, Courage and Fellowship, as well as Leadership Attributes.”
It’s all part of the school’s model of “close personal tutoring” premised on understanding what motivates each child. This provides tailored guidance, academic support, and mentorship. “In the morning, you might find your House Master helping you with everyday tasks like tying your shoelaces, creating a sense of familiarity, and building strong relationships. This unique approach allows connections to be made at a very personal level,” says Tong.
The most authentic way to become a Harrovian is to be a boarder. As a full boarding school, every Harrow Appi student becomes a boarder, the only Harrow school inheriting the the full boarding approach of Harrow School in the UK. Full boarding comes with full access to all the school has to offer — including round-the-clock and 360 degrees support from qualified teaching staff, House Masters, designated House Parents, academic tutors, non-resident tutors, and many more. They know each student’s individual interests, challenges and passions.
A unique British boarding experience
They then went into their natural surroundings and applied what they learned to analyse the environmental impact of their idea along with the potential risks and possibilities they should consider. "This transdisciplinary learning activity aligns with Harrow Appi's educational philosophy by not only fostering a love for learning but also by preparing students for life and leadership in a sustainable and environmentally conscious world," says Fitzgerald. "It reflects how students acquire knowledge and skills not only within the classroom but through direct interactions with nature, reinforcing the school's commitment to holistic education."
It involved students from various year groups and subjects, including Geography, Biology, Design Technology and Economics. Students started by exploring various aspects of ecology, environmental science, and sustainability as part of their regular curriculum. They learned about ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change, and the impact of human activities on the environment. "Students designed a compost prototype and proposed their ideas as well as [a] strategy to successfully implement the importance of organic food waste around the school," Fitzgerald shares. "This project is an excellent illustration of transdisciplinary learning that merges classroom knowledge with real-world environmental issues."
A diverse campus community unites a wide range of viewpoints, expertise and aspirations. Removed from the distractions of the cities, this makes for an ideal setting for Harrow Appi students to focus on their academics, acquire transdisciplinary knowledge and skills and develop interpersonal skills and relationships with their peers. All three were on display during the school’s project for World Earth Day.
Harrow Appi’s faculty members are experts recruited from all over the world — 71% are from the UK and almost 50% hold advanced degrees. As the student-to-teacher ratio is 1:4, classes are small, allowing teachers and coaches to impart their wealth of knowledge and personalise their advice and guidance. Paired with 24/7 boarding support, this adds another dimension and layer of pastoral care from the Harrow Appi teachers and staff.
Welcoming all backgrounds and aspirations
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