The house system was first set up by the University of Paris. It has formed a unique academy educational model in both Cambridge, and Oxford in the UK. It builds communities in the longitude direction, and advocates teamwork and friendly competition between different grades. This allows every student to exhibit their own personalities through the colourful activities of the house.
HD school breaks free from the age related traditional layered teaching management mode, so that the children can learn to engage with children from different age groups, as they will do in their adult lives. This will elevate their self-awareness, whilst strengthening their sense of honour and their sense of belonging in a group. It will cultivate their teamwork abilities and leadership skills whilst upholding an active and positive atmosphere for the school.
It is worth mentioning that the symbols of the four houses of HD were designed by the students of HD independently. The Dragon and Pheonix representing the East, and the Gryphon and Centaur representing the West are adopted as the symbols of the houses. Thus exhibiting the educational concept of HD that extracts the essence of Chinese and Western education, and cultivates globalized Chinese people with “Chinese soul and a global outlook”.
In Greek mythology the Gryphon is a beast that has the body of a lion and the head of an eagle, and possesses the qualities of both. As lions and eagles command the land and the sky respectively, the symbolic setting of the house is the image of high mountains and plains. This represents the courage and boldness of the omnipotent griffin that dominates the world.
The Dragon is a creature of ancient legends, and the symbol of the Chinese nation. It appears in various literary and art works. It climbs up to the sky in the Spring Equinox, and dives into the steep cliffs in the Autumnal Equinox, also making rain fall from the clouds. The setting of the house is the sea, with roaring waves, and rain clouds. This exhibits the giant dragon’s abilities to summon wind and call for rain, together with its spirit to forge ahead.
According to legend, the Phoenix is the king of the birds: it has gorgeous feathers, and twitters pleasingly. “Feng” being the male, and “Huang” the female, combined they are “Phoenix” (feng huang), symbolising propitious and outstanding talents. The symbolic setting of the house is like the three feathers on the tail of the phoenix – very rare. This originates from the idiom “the hair of a phoenix and the horns of a giraffe” which expresses the hopes of the school to cultivate beautiful and outstanding talents.
Centaur is the totem, or honorary title, of the nomadic ethnic groups in the West. The centaur is full of wisdom and loves freedom. The house, which contains a sea of books, is set amidst a vast expanse of grassland. The image of a fine horse stepping on books is used to express the longing for wisdom and the spirit of consistent self-renewal and love of freedom.