Through the generous support and encouragement of the UWC Thailand parent community, the school was able to purchase a small fleet of boats (five Optimist dinghies) in order to launch its first-ever sailing programme this activity season.
The programme, which is administered by the school and taught by staff from Phuket Yacht Club Sailing School, takes place after school and on the weekends at Phuket Yacht Haven. There are currently 18 students from Grade 1-6 enrolled in the after school/weekend programme; however, the boats—complete with custom UWCT sails—are also used by other grade levels that are learning to sail as part of their Physical Education and Outdoor Education units.
“The goal is for this to be the foundational level of a development programme.”UWCT Outdoor Education Coordinator Chris Lahey
“In the short term, we would love to have a school regatta with the goal of expanding that to an inter-island regatta next. In the long-term, we would love to see our students participating in larger regatta events like the Kings Cup and Top of the Gulf.” explains UWCT Outdoor Education Coordinator Chris Lahey.
The development of UWCT’s sailing programme aligns with several of the school’s focal areas, which are outlined in its five pillars: Academics, Outdoor Education, Service, Social-emotional Learning and Mindfulness, and Activities. These pillars support the school’s educational philosophy which: “focuses on experiential education designed to engage learners, often in collaborative situations, in critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making in contexts that are personally relevant to them.”
An ambitious programme of this kind, one that encompasses intellectual, spiritual, and physical challenges, cannot be confined to the classroom or, indeed, the school campus. This is why UWCT actively promotes outdoor education activities—like sailing—to provide authentic opportunities for its community to bond together as they engage in interdisciplinary experiences, interacting with the world around them.