house system sense of belonging

The PaRK IS House System

The PaRK IS community is organised into four Houses. The House System promotes a sense of belonging across age groups and a degree of friendly competition between students. The activities organised around the Houses provide opportunities for teachers and students to develop all aspects of their growth and learning: personality, morality, creativity, knowledge, values and soft skills, including fair-play, teamwork, citizenship, mutual responsibility, self-discipline, initiative, perseverance and resilience. Participation in these activities contributes to excellence in the academic, social, sporting and cultural fields. From Grade 1 or upon entry thereafter, students are allocated to their House, which they will remain a part of until they leave the school.

Discover Our 4 Unique Houses

We launched our Houses with a contest to decide on a theme for each House, and "Explorers" was the chosen theme. This theme aligns perfectly with our Learner Profile – we teach all our students the skills to become curious, courageous, driven, and resilient to achieve their best, both academically and personally. These qualities are what it takes to conquer the world and succeed!

Initially, four adventurous men were selected as the names for each House. Then, we decided to ‘re-imagine’ our Houses, as the four great explorers of the sea, land, air and universe needed a female counterpart. Hence, all students had a vote to decide on the four new PaRK IS Houses:.Hillary & Tabei, Cousteau & Andresen, Vasco da Gama & Mother Teresa, and Armstrong & Johnson. Every House carries the name of two great explorers of human history, one female and one male, each representing a type of exploration. Which one is yours?

hillary tabei

Hillary & Tabei

The Hillary & Tabei House is named after Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, a mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist, and Junko Tabei, also a mountaineer, author, and teacher. Hillary was the first confirmed person to reach both Poles and the summit of Mount Everest; Tabei was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first woman to ascend the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on every continent. Tabei is a symbol of women's empowerment that helps to challenge female stereotypes.

This House cherishes and explores the traits below, which students develop over the years:

  • A resilient and driven mindset to succeed even in the most difficult situations, without giving up, challenge after challenge – after all, to reach the summit of the world’s highest peaks you need to be able to endure extreme circumstances!
  • A love of exploration, displaying a curious and courageous attitude.
  • Generosity towards others, following Hillary's and Tabei's roles as a philanthropist and a teacher.
cousteau andresen

Cousteau & Andresen

This House is named after Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French Naval officer and explorer, and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, a Portuguese poet and writer. Cousteau was a multidisciplinary innovator, researcher and explorer who was also interested in photography, film and writing. Andresen was a writer of numerous books and poems where the sea was a central theme. She has won several literary awards in Portugal and abroad.

This House cherishes and explores the traits below, which students develop over the years:

  • Creativity and innovation, exemplified by Cousteau's ability to question established practices in his lifelong research and Sophia's imaginative writing and world-building.
  • Communication and reflection, as demonstrated in their creative works, ranging from poetry to photography and film.
  • Respect, collaboration and empathy, as they prioritised and advocated for the protection of the environment and nature, particularly the sea.
gama mo teresa

Vasco da Gama & Mother Teresa

This House is named after Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. By sailing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, he overcame several challenges which allowed the creation of a sea route between the West and the East, bridging the gap between the two. It is also named after Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu, an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary who founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor and helpless in India. Considered one of the 20th Century's greatest humanitarians, she won the Nobel Peace Prize and was canonised as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.

This House cherishes and explores the traits below, which students develop over the years:

  • Communication, empathy and respect, based on their ability to adapt and build bridges between very different cultures and ways of life.

  • Autonomy and great thinking abilities, displayed in their extraordinary capacity to do what so many others had failed to do before.

  • Curiosity and resilience, based on their willingness to explore the unknown, and a drive to succeed in their mission.

armstrong johnson

Armstrong & Johnson

This House is named after Neil Armstrong, NASA’s first civilian astronaut to fly in space and the first astronaut to walk on the moon. Armstrong was perseverant, hardworking, and fearless, famously saying: 'That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.' This House is also named after Creola Katherine Johnson, an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent US-crewed spaceflights. Over her 35-year career at NASA, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and played a pioneering role in the use of computers for various tasks.

This House cherishes and explores the traits below, which students develop over the years:

  • A love of knowledge, based on Armstrong's career as a University Professor and Johnson's work as a mathematician. Later, they encouraged and inspired students to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

  • Confidence, courage, and ambition to go into space and walk on the moon for the first time, in Armstrong’s case, and Johnson’s barrier-breaking work as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist.

  • A hardworking, autonomous, and exploratory attitude, based on Armstrong’s intense training and Johnson’s determination to earn a graduate degree, becoming the only African-American female student to integrate the graduate school at the time.

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Learn more about our Houses and discover how they can help your child make lifelong friendships and acquire essential skills to excel at school and beyond.