Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) is essential to a St. Peter’s education. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout their schooling. The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows.
Creativity: arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
Action: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the Diploma Programme.
Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.
CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the St. Peter’s study programme. A good CAS programme should be both challenging and enjoyable, a personal journey of self‑discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life‑changing.
For student development to occur, CAS should involve:
- real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
- personal challenge—tasks must extend the student and be achievable in scope
- thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
- reflection on outcomes and personal learning.
The CAS programme aims to develop students who are:
- reflective thinkers—they understand their own strengths and limitations, identify goals and devise strategies for personal growth
- willing to accept new challenges and new roles
- aware of themselves as members of communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment
- active participants in sustained, collaborative projects
- balanced—they enjoy and find significance in a range of activities involving intellectual, physical, creative and emotional experiences.
As a result of their CAS experience as a whole, including their reflections, there should be evidence that students have:
- increased their awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth
They are able to see themselves as individuals with various skills and abilities, some more developed than others, and understand that they can make choices about how they wish to move forward.
- undertaken new challenges
A new challenge may be an unfamiliar activity, or an extension to an existing one.
- planned and initiated activities
Planning and initiation will often be in collaboration with others. It can be shown in activities that are part of larger projects, for example, ongoing school activities in the local community, as well as in small student‑led activities.
- worked collaboratively with others
Collaboration can be shown in many different activities, such as team sports, playing music in a band, or helping in a kindergarten. At least one project, involving collaboration and the integration of at least two of creativity, action and service, is required.
- shown perseverance and commitment in their activities
At a minimum, this implies attending regularly and accepting a share of the responsibility for dealing with problems that arise in the course of activities.
- engaged with issues of global importance
Students may be involved in international projects but there are many global issues that can be acted upon locally or nationally (for example, environmental concerns, caring for the elderly).
- considered the ethical implications of their actions
Ethical decisions arise in almost any CAS activity (for example, on the sports field, in musical composition, in relationships with others involved in service activities). Evidence of thinking about ethical issues can be shown in various ways, including journal entries and conversations with CAS advisers.
- developed new skills
As with new challenges, new skills may be shown in activities that the student has not previously undertaken, or in increased expertise in an established area.
Among the benefits of experiential learning are the following. Students are enabled to:
- see the application of academic learning, social and personal skills to real‑life situations
- bring real benefits to self and/or others
- understand their own capacity to make a difference
- make decisions that have real, not hypothetical, results
- develop skills to solve problems
- develop a sense of responsibility and accountability for their actions.