CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) is an extracurricular programme which takes at least 18 months, being a vital and mandatory part of IB Diploma. CAS is based on the philosophy that academic growth is only one (albeit very important) component of the complex growth of an individual, therefore it tries to engage students in the following CAS areas:
- Creativity: Activities in this CAS area range from artistic activities, such as playing a musical instrument or participating in an art club, to further education activities like solving mathematical problems or conducting physics experiments.
- Activity: Physical exercise; done either in a sports or athletics club or individually or during PE in school.
- Service: The goal of Service is to lead students to understand their potential to make a valuable contribution to their community and society. Through Service, students develop their personal and social skills. This area is very broad and it is best to consult a CAS advisor, whether a particular activity could be taken as CAS Service. The activities – focused on helping the student’s community and society – can be divided into four categories (naturally, it is recommended to balance all of them):
- Direct Service: Primarily interaction with people, animals or the environment, for example tutoring.
- Indirect Service: The student does not interact with the recipient of the service directly, but there is no doubt about the contribution of their activities to the community. Examples include the redesign of a non-profit organization’s website or taking care of tree saplings in the school yard.
- Advocacy: The student promotes action on an issue important for the community, for instance initiating a campaign against bullying or creating an educative video focusing on sustainable water solutions.
- Research: The student collects and analyses data, then draws conclusions, focusing on topics relevant to the community, such as effective strategies to reduce litter in public spaces or conducting social research in the form of interviews with people on topics like homelessness or unemployment.
CAS is done by taking part in CAS activities – either one-time or a sequence of regular activities. Apart from that, every student must be involved in at least one CAS project, of recommended duration 1 month or more. The project challenges the initiative and determination of students and improves skills as co-operation, problem solving and responsible decision-making. A CAS project is group-oriented and can be focused either on a single one, or on more of the three CAS areas. It is possible for regular CAS activities to comprise a project, but they have to be performed for a longer time period and the structure of the project – the stages of development – must be present. The stages are: investigation, preparation, action, reflection and demonstration. Much of the work is focused on reflection. The aim is to deepen the student’s experience even more and place it into a societal and personal context, stimulating one’s further growth.
As evidence of their CAS activities, students gradually build their own CAS portfolio which is not formally evaluated. However, it helps the student and their CAS advisor to showcase an overview of the course of CAS programme, CAS activities and project, and serves to demonstrate the attainment of all seven CAS goals. During the CAS programme, every student attends three formal consultation sessions with their CAS supervisor (the first one at the beginning of the programme, the second one at the end of the first year of CAS and the third at the end of CAS). For the successful completion of the CAS programme, the seven CAS goals need to be achieved. These will be introduced to each student at the beginning of the programme.
CAS should, of course, not only provide additional academic education and develop one’s individual hobbies and capabilities, but also to facilitate overcoming at least some barriers in society and to foster communication between different groups of people. As a part of their CAS, our students have been involved in leading and attending debating clubs, organizing the Bratislava Model United Nations (BratMUN), publishing school journals (Dedlajn, Novohradská Newsletter), leading Scout brigades etc. As a part of Service, our students have worked for the Slovak Academic Information Agency (AIAA), Amnesty International, UNICEF, the British Council, Sloboda zvierat, Slovak Spectator, Strom Života, a boarding school for visually-impaired children, a home for physically disabled children and youth Mokrohájska, Kampino – a home of social service for children, and many other organizations, where they acquired priceless experience. We hope that you, the future IB students, will follow successfully in their footsteps.
In the school year 2013/2014, a new (already successful) tutoring programme was launched. In this programme, students, including those in IB, can officially tutor students from lower years. Often during tutoring, they themselves solidify their previous knowledge of the subject. Moreover, they also practice their skills of communication, formulating and explaining what they already understand to others.
So far, IB students have been helping the following organizations as a part of their CAS activities:
- Slovenský Červený kríž
- Integra – Domov sociálnych služieb
- Nadácia F. A. Hayeka
- Clevelend-Bratislava, Sisters cities organization
- ZŠ pre žiakov s chybami reči
- Diagnostické centrum pre deti
- Pomocná škola Hálkova
- Slovakia for the world
- Amnesty International
- Ustav sociálnej starostlivosti pre mládež a dospelých
- Domov dôchodcov Petržalka
- ZŠ internátna pre nedoslýchavých a pre žiakov so zvyškami sluchu
- ZŠ internátna pre sluchovo postihnutých
- Ústav sociálnej starostlivosti pre telesne postihnutú mládež
- The Slovak Spectator – Slovakia’s English-language newspaper
- Britská rada – Magic program
- ZŠ internátna pre slabozrakých
- Podporné centrum pre zrakovo postihnutých
- Nadácia Milana Šimečku
- Centrum vzájomného života
- Nadácia pre občiansku spoločnosť
- Nadácia Charty 77
- SAIA – SCTS
- The Foundation for a Civil Society
- Strom života
- Slovenský zväz telesne postihnutých
- Nadácia Horský park