Children in the Foundation Department (aged 3 - 5 years approximately) are taught the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum together, in mixed ability classes, by their class teacher and teaching assistant. The six areas of the curriculum are delivered in topics lasting on average 2 - 3 weeks at a time. Foundation classrooms provide an array of structured play activities which promote all round child-centered development. Specialist teachers further enhance learning with the provision of Physical Education and Arabic tuition.
A specialist music teacher, takes weekly singing and percussion lessons with FS2 pupils and works with staff to provide pupils with their first performance opportunities.
Currently the Primary Department has classes providing for Years 1 - 6 (ages 5 - 11 approximately). The National Curriculum is taught covering Numeracy, Literacy Science, Information and Communication Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music and Physical Education. In accordance with the local Ministry of Education requirements all pupils receive social studies tuition and specialist teachers deliver the Arabic curriculum in native and non-native teaching groups. Islamic education is also provided for Muslim pupils whilst non-Muslims receive a teaching programme relating to citizenship.
Beyond the day to day routines, school trips and the preparation for such events as Sports Day, Annual Presentations, and National and International Days encourage the learning of new vocabulary and understanding, enrich social bonding and promote the learning of roles.
Health and social education permeates throughout the school and SIS Mirdif prides itself on its warm, caring ethos.
Snack and Play Time
Snack times provide important learning opportunities for pupils. The schools healthy eating policy teaches children that balance is important in their eating habits. Sunday to Wednesday there is a 'no sweets, biscuits, chocolate, crisps etc' rule whilst Thursday is called 'treat day' and snack boxes may contain a food from the previously mentioned list.
In the Foundation Department snacks are eaten in the classroom and supervised by the teacher who actively uses the time to reinforce the learning of good table manners.
In the Primary Department pupils eat together in the canteen. Pupils from different classes are grouped together on a table with the eldest pupil designated as the table monitor. The table monitor is responsible for setting a good example and for helping and directing younger pupils in their table manners. The older pupils receive training for this role in their citizenship classes. Teaching Assistants and teachers as well as the Principal participate in duties to ensure that the canteen environment supports the development of good social skills and etiquette.
The school homework policy is designed to support and reinforce class lessons and to develop good habits of self-discipline.
As a further promotion of balance in a healthy lifestyle, homework is given Sundays to Wednesdays only, purposefully leaving the weekends free.
FS1 pupils are encouraged to develop a love of reading and select a book weekly, during their library lesson, to take home and share with their family.
In FS2 pupils take reading books home to share and, as they become ready, are given other short activities they can complete at home.
In Key Stage 1 about 15 minutes of homework is given and includes reading, spelling and numeracy practice.
In Key Stage 2 the amount of homework is gradually increased and sees Year 6 pupils with approximately 30 minutes of homework per day.
In addition to compulsory homework, optional homework tasks are provided should pupils and parents wish to complete extra activities.
Acknowledging the freedom to investigate and experiment does not necessarily imply the relaxation of morals and ethics. At Mirdif, we will create a fertile learning environment, enhanced by physical and creative development, whilst still providing a framework which encourages structure and a sense of social responsibility. We discourage tendencies that ignore the sensitivities of the region and that promote antisocial behaviour. Rather, our school prides itself on the parallel development of academics and personal character.
Creativity in the curriculum promotes learning process and it is worth noting that classes contain elements of music, dancing, singing and dramatics. Teachers sometimes decide that a numeracy lesson is most effectively taught using singing as an aid; or, sentence structure may be played out like a drama. In this region, with so many nationalities and perceptions of education capitalise on the various cultural traditions to enhance learning.
Extra Curricular Activities
We are aware of the value of activities outside the specified curriculum in enhancing and reinforcing what has been learnt by pupils in the classroom. In our determination to form a nurturing environment for the development of children who can approach the world at large, we offer an array of extra-curricular activities that allow pupils to build on their classroom lessons as well as expose them to as many scenarios and elements of learning as possible.
Reports and monitoring
Full reports are written twice a year to parents. We hold meet the teacher evenings at the start of the school year and have a full Parents' Evening in February when parents may meet their child's teachers and discuss progress with them. Parents are also welcome to contact teachers or the Principal throughout the school year if there are matters they wish to discuss.
Each individual's progress is monitored closely. Assessment forms part of the daily routine for teachers as it informs the planning for the next steps of learning. Standardised tests are performed annually and together with teacher assessment inform the detailed reporting of individual pupils as well as class, year and departmental groups. The school's Special Needs Policy covers children who may need extra help in any particular area. Able pupils are also given special attention and extension work.