American School of Dubai (ASD) offers student-centered learning and flexible spaces in early years
In conversation with Dr. Paul Richards, Superintendent, American School of Dubai.
Could you tell us about American School of Dubai’s (ASD) nursery and pre-school services?
The Early Learning programme at ASD — PreK(3 yrs), K1(4 yrs), and K2(5 yrs) — is a student-centered approach with a focus on inquiry-based learning. In our Reggio Emilia inspired play-based environment, children have authentic opportunities to work, play, socialize, negotiate with others, and make sense of their world. Through inquiry, discovery, exploration, and thoughtful intentional teaching, children will engage in interrelated experiences including math, science, social studies, creative art, language arts, music, movement, and Arabic.
How do you improve learning outcomes of students in pre-schools?
Our flexible learning spaces enhance the foundation of teaching and learning. The space gives students more control and responsibility, and improve academic engagement. Flexible classrooms produce better academic outcomes among primary school children than the more traditional, static classroom designs.
To be effective and authentic, the learning space needs to be built to adapt. It needs to be flexible and allowed to evolve over time.
By involving students in the design process and talking with them about the school space, we empower students and give them more ownership of their school and their own learning.
How do you ensure that students reach their developmental milestones?
The early learning experience is formative in providing children the opportunity to begin to develop foundational skills that define themselves and their love for learning.
Learning at ASD follows Creative Curriculum for PreK and K1 and Common Core Standards for K2 as a foundation for common learning objectives and standards. Teachers facilitate learning in a variety of group settings and strategically contribute to and guide learning based on students’ interests and learning styles.
Benchmarks and assessments such as Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking System and Word Analysis remain the same as previous years in our K2 classrooms. To measure growth and success, teachers regularly assess students’ progress towards meeting standards. These ongoing assessments occur through both formal and informal means.
How does the nursery at American School of Dubai stand apart from others in the neighbourhood?
ASD’s new PreK programme allows entry for 3-year old learners into an active K-12 community and to benefit from connections to older learners, world-class facilities, and extracurriculars. The 23-acre campus includes a sustainable garden, STEAM labs, and maker spaces, two libraries, a 630-seat performing arts theatre, covered playgrounds, and extensive athletics facilities that include a climbing wall, six tennis courts, and two 25-meter pools.
ASD is one of the few independent, not-for-profit schools in Dubai. The not-for-profit status means that all tuition and fees fund the cost of education.#