The new Early Learning Programme (PreK and K1) at the American School of Dubai is based on the principles of Reggio Emilia — a play-based, student-centered approach with a focus on enquiry-based learning — and housed in a new purpose-built learning environment predicated on flexible learning spaces.
The September 2020 launch of the programme was put to a challenging test right from the start: To open a successful and innovative curriculum in a new space in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. “We have had to be strategic and prioritise our work to manage all the firsts of our new programme and space while keeping student health and safety our top priority,” says Deb Strate, Director of the Early Learning Centre. Following the guidelines from the KHDA and Dubai Health Authority, ASD enacted strict health and safety measures to meet this challenge including modified classrooms and materials, adjusted school schedules to accommodate sanitising and physical distancing, and the implementation of necessary cleaning regimens.
With the health and safety precautions in place, students have authentic opportunities to work, play, socialise, negotiate with others, and make sense of their world.
K1 teacher Hiba Najm says, “The classroom space plays a major role in promoting relationships, communication, collaboration, experimentation, and exploration through play. The open space, transparent doors, outdoor spaces, and common areas all play a role in building a great sense of community and belonging. Students learn best when they feel welcomed and safe, are actively engaged, and have ownership over their learning.”
Charlie T., a PreK student, says, “My favourite thing at school is to draw and play with my friends.”
ASD administration, faculty, and staff continue to be deliberate on creating a learning experience that is calm, safe, and student-focused. “We continue to keep students’ social and emotional well-being at the centre of our educational decisions,” says Strate.
The PreK and K1 students join an international community of nearly 80 nationalities with a mission to become passionate learners, prepared to adapt and contribute in a rapidly changing world.
For more information or to apply for the 2021-2022 academic year, visit Asdubai.org/admissions.