Oaktree Primary's Tips For A Top Summer

Oaktree Primary's Tips For A Top Summer
By C Hoppe
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Hurrah! It's so nearly the summer, and parents around the UAE can cast off the packed lunches, PE kits and punishing driving schedules!

But hang on, before you let loose and (un) plan your family's summer, we speak to the staff at Oaktree Primary to discover how top these UAE educators feel about routine, travelling, saying goodbye and more...


Should parents keep to the regular routine- or let loose and have some seriously unstructured fun?

It is important to have some sort of routine, recognised by both children and adults involved, but this does not need to reflect school life, but could reflect what needs to be done about the home, as well as treats and days out. It is good to have an idea of when meals are, and the importance of manners, both for the children and adults. There should be a bedtime, and although this will be later than on school days, it needs not to be ridiculously late. Everyone needs some time to themselves, including the major carer - often Mum!

Christopher McDermott, Founding Principal, Oaktree Primary School.


Parents should ensure they are consistent with what rules are applied at home, it's important that children have the freedom to express themselves and create independence. There will be times when 'breaking away' from a routine is out of our control, such as a last minute trip to see a relative and it's important that children can cope with last minute changes.

It's valuable that as a school holidays end, parents get children back into a routine; talking about going back to school, asking what they're looking forward to, etc.

Craig Dyche-Nichols, Educational Consultant.


Making a travel trip memorable (photos, journal, blog, etc) Or simply sling em' the iPad and enjoy the peace?

It’s great to have days out. If the children can be involved in taking any photos, this is all to the good. It is good for the children, if they want to and are able to, to be involved in compiling journals which may involve photos and some writing. This should not be a chore. Children will usually enjoy this sort of thing and it will help them keep doing some of the things they are expected to do at school, without it being ‘formal’ in any way.

Christopher McDermott, Founding Principal, Oaktree Primary School.


Including children in the planning stages of a holiday is always a good idea, asking what they are interested in, where would they like to go, etc. Visiting places of interest for the whole family is essential, but even more so if travelling with young children, as they will need to be occupied at all times. Creating a blog, which doesn't have to be complicated, can start at an early pre-trip stage. Facts and interesting sights to see, can be researched beforehand and 'crossed-off' the bucket list as families travel. If children aren't old enough to express their thoughts in a journal, drawings and a video are a good way to communicate their holiday thoughts, experiences and memories. Creating a holiday Facebook, Twitter, Instagram account, specifically for a certain holiday, would be a good way for children to track their holiday and inform family and friends of their time away.

A great article I read recently on nationalgeographic.com had the 'Top 10 World Heritage Sites for Kids' which really did highlight the opportunities out there for families to enjoy holidays together with young children, exploring new countries whether it be climbing volcanoes, walking through enchanted forests, standing where gladiators and beasts fought, trekking through jungles, out on safari, or searching for dinosaur fossils.

Craig Dyche-Nichols, Educational Consultant.


Friends who are leaving- what's your advice? 

Change is a normal part of life.  It is natural for us to find it difficult. It is important to say ‘Goodbye’ properly so that there is some sense of closure and the giving of gifts and exchanges of photos always helps with this. Making sure that you know what the systems of communication are- is always a good thing - and don’t leave it too long before you make that first contact!

There are lots of books that you can share with your children about the subject of goodbye or there are lovely memory books that you can buy or make your own for your child to look back at after the goodbye has happened. These help stimulate discussions and help children understand goodbyes and that they are a normal part of life.

Christopher McDermott, Founding Principal, Oaktree Primary School.


Children in international schools will have to say many goodbyes as families move on from one country to another. What's important is that children keep a wide range of friendship groups; in school, during Extra Curricular Activities, in their local community and through their parents friendship groups, so when one friend leaves, they still have other friends to be close to. With social media at an advanced stage, the world is getting smaller and people the other side of the world seem so close through Facetime, Skype etc. It is important to keep communication ongoing and true friends will be friends for life, whether they are close to you or faraway.

Craig Dyche-Nichols, Educational Consultant.

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