Al Khaleej International Private School is a US curriculum school based in the Al Azar area of Sharjah. The school offers a unique integrated American and Montessori curriculum aimed at enhancing children’s social, intellectual, physical, and emotional development. It opened on a purpose-built campus in 2015, and educates children from KG to Grade 12.
The school’s Vision is “To build a young intellectual community who will become active participants in life-long learning and contributors to the betterment of society. Al Khaleej International School is committed in creating a sustainable educational journey that is socially, personally, and intellectually transformative”.
Its Mission is “to create a pleasant, secure and stimulating learning environment in which all members of the school community can grow and develop to a new level of knowledge and wisdom. Our mission is encompassed around the idea of not just teaching our students, but to shape students’ personalities and ensure the young generation emerge as leaders for a brighter future”.
The staff of Al-Khaleej International School believes that in order to accomplish its vision and mission, “all lifelong learners should live with our most valued morals, which include: Caring, accepting, and respecting others, setting high expectations for success, visionary leadership, pursuing creativity [and] Societal responsibility.”
AKIS aims to empower young people from a wide range of diverse backgrounds to be fully prepared for living happy and fulfilled lives in the context of a rapidly changing world. AKIS endeavours to be open to change, adapt, innovate and keep pace with the ever increasing needs of the society, in order to equip its students for the challenges of the 21st Century. Al Khaleej International School (AKIS) is a member of The Beaconhouse Group which has almost 303,500 students in eight countries, and is among the largest school networks of its kind in the world.
The school currently employs 96 staff and educates approximately 530 students with a capacity for around 800 students when full. Current numbers mean a low staff:student ratio of 1:6, ensuring close personal attention. Teachers come from the US, UK, South Africa, and Nigeria among other countries.
The school is led by Mrs. Asma Dahbour who has over 21 years of experience as a Teacher, Mentor and leader in Canada at top ranked schools in Ontario. Her mission is to develop more leaders for tomorrow. Following her research at St. Katherine’s University in the USA which further enhanced Mrs. Dahbour’s personal learning experiences, she is dedicated to integrating and training others in more effective teaching methods.
Al Khaleej International School offers an advanced American curriculum that is associated with the state of California’s Common Core standards of education. AKIS’s New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation is under process.
The School offers following subjects: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Robotics, ICT, Life Skills and Social Studies, Art, Music, Physical and Moral Education and a choice of Modern Foreign Language. In common with other UAE schools, AKIS also follows MOE’s mandatory subjects of Arabic, Islamic Studies, UAE Social Studies and Moral Education for Arabs and Non-Arabs.
AKIS assesses students’ attainment and progress through comprehensive analysis of International Benchmark assessments such as MAP, PSAT, SAT, AP, TIMSS, PISA, and CAT4. In addition, AKIS offers a platform for students to exhibit their talents and interests through Extra and Co-curricular activities, events and competitions. All students are recognised for their flourishing talents and creativity by the Al Khaleej Community through their awards and rewards programmes. AKIS ensures an enjoyable learning environment through its strong infrastructure which includes state of the art indoor and outdoor sports areas, Primary and Secondary libraries, general and specialist science laboratories, Robotics Lab, Music Room, etc.
In addition to the core US curriculum, the school offers the Montessori approach to education in respect of the way in which the curriculum is taught. Although largely viewed as a nursery curriculum, there are schools that offer the Montessori approach through Elementary and Middle school also. Al Khaleej International School is the first in the UAE to offer this combined curriculum.
The creators of the Montessori approach believe that every student is an absorbent mind who can adapt to culture, time, and place. AI Khaleej International School has adapted the Montessori theoretical approach and applied it to its curriculum content. It embraces creativity and imagination through sensorial experiences, so students can be inventive.
Montessori emphasises learning through all five senses. It is not just simply through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is designed to be an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.
In addition to the Montessori approach, the school offers a more traditional STEM Program designed to educate students in the four specific disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates students into a cohesive learning thought process based on real-world applications.
Whilst the focus in the KG is on the Montessori approach, and from Grades 1 to 10, on the US Common Core standards for Math, English and Science, the school also offers Advance Placement courses for students in grades 11 and 12. Students who have completed a prerequisite course in subjects such as Biology, Math, Physics, a foreign language and Geography among others during Grades 9 and 10 are eligible to choose from 38 courses. Not all of them are provided by the school, but students may register for assistance in preparation for the AP exam. In addition, the school offers SAT testing and English Language testing (IELTS), designed to ensure that students are qualified for College.
Students are expected to take personal responsibility for their education including: developing an academic plan to create a good balanced studying routine; developing good study skills by ensuring adequate time for studying class material; coming to class prepared through taking responsibility to complete all assigned tasks; taking full advantage of all available academic resources; and by being an active participant in class and extracurricular activities.
As a Montessori and American curriculum school, Al Khaleej International School selects American books and products that are approved by the Ministry of Education. Teachers use various types of English, Math, and Science kits. The KG department is well resourced with toys used for learning, and books. It also has its own stage, play and eating area. Children have access to hands on tools for their cognitive development guided by the teacher and department head.
The school states that it offers state of the art facilities and educational tools. The classrooms are unique and different from traditional schools in that each class is considered to be a "smart" class. Each class is equipped with a smart board, tables and contour flexible chairs, which are designed to make a child’s learning experience enjoyable. Classrooms are also designed to enable collaborative and multi-functional activities. This approach aims to make learning more engaging by giving students more visual rather than static images. Teachers are expected to be “transformative educators”, able to assist all types of students at different academic levels with various abilities and learning styles.
The school says that it celebrates diversity and promotes a positive learning environment in respect to the Islamic culture. Accordingly, Al Khaleej International School offers a Quran Memorisation Programme which is dedicated to helping Muslim Students to memorise Quran during the school day. The students are required to memorise the assigned parts of Quran and recite them weekly to the Quran Teacher. Additionally, teachers use a modern, but conservative approach in teaching methods.
In addition to the main curriculum, the school also offers an Extracurricular programme that takes place on Wednesday afternoons. Students may participate in activities such as French, ICT, Music, Drama, STEM (Engineering), Chess Club, Art, Sports and Stick Construction.
Fees range from AED 15,000 to AED 25,000. The Admission process involves a formal interview with the Principal of the school and assessment.
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