Round Square is a worldwide association of schools sharing unique and ambitious goals. Its origin comes from the philosophy of Kurt Hahn who taught that schools should have a greater purpose - beyond preparing students for college and university. He believed in educating young people for life in the fullest sense. Programmes initiated by Round Square help institutionally and culturally different, but like-minded schools to work together through service projects, annual conferences, exchanges, and outdoor expeditions.
The title "Round Square" is derived from a seventeenth century building at Gordonstoun School in Scotland, where a group of schools founded by Kurt Hahn, his colleagues and pupils, met in 1967. They were there to form an alliance of schools, to work on aid projects for those in need; they were brought together by Jocelin Winthrop Young, and chaired by the former king Constantine of the Hellenes. Dr. Hahn did not wish his name to be affixed to the organization, so the building in which they met gave its name instead, hence the "Round Square".
An annual Conference of the schools meets at a member school and, is attended by Heads, Staff, Pupils and Governors, and provides a forum for the exchange of views and experience, and for the initiation and development of projects.
Member schools arrange exchange visits for pupils and teachers and undertake aid projects in places such as India, Kenya, Hungary, and Russia and the United States.
Kurt Hahn (1886-1976)
Hahn was born into a cultured Jewish family in Berlin 1886. He was a natural, gifted teacher and in the summers of his youth he would gather his friends in the family summer house pavilion and read them tales of historic adventure. Often he led them on long hikes over rough terrain.
After studying at Oxford University, Hahn returned to Germany just before World War1. After the war Hahn founded Salem school in Germany, but was forced to leave the school and country because of his stance and comments against Nazism in 1933. Hahn retreated as a refugee to Scotland where he founded Gordonstoun School in April 1934.
Through Hahn's influence on British education, and his desire to foster physical fitness, enterprise, tenacity, and compassion in the country's youth, Hahn formed Outward Bound in 1941.
Hahn's philosophy for students was,
The Seven Laws of Salem (The First Hahnian School)
- Give Children the opportunities for self discovery.
- Make Children meet with triumph and defeat.
- Give Children the opportunity of self-effacement in the common cause.
- Provide periods of silence.
- Train the imagination.
- Make games important but not powerful from the enervating sense of privilege.
- Free the sons of the wealthy and powerful from the enervating sense of privilege.