Ambassador School Sharjah, located in the Muweilah School District, is a sister school to the Ambassador School and Kindergarten in Dubai, both rated highly by the Dubai Schools' Regulator, the KHDA. The Sharjah Ambassador School (SAS) opened in 2016 and offers the UK curriculum-based EYFS programme in the KG and the CBSE curriculum from Primary through to Secondary. The school is currently open to Grade 8 and will grow organically to Grade 12 in the next 4 years.
The school's Vision is as follows:
Ambassador School is dedicated to creating responsible universal citizens who would be bright leaders of the 21st century by laying a superior foundation through quality education.
Its Mission is to:
Inspire our children to be passionate lifelong learners through a curriculum with pedagogical integrity, which allows them to always Inquire, Innovate, and contribute in meaningful ways to the society.
Through the CBSE curriculum, Sharjah Ambassador School aims to support its students with the latest educational trends and techniques, based on High Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). The school provides a wide variety of "hands-on", practical learning opportunities, aimed at making learning "both rewarding and meaningful". The medium of instruction is English. The SAS Early Years Programme is based on the internationally acclaimed EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) programme, which recognises each child as a unique individual and helps him or her develop across the key areas of personal, emotional and social development; communication; problem-solving; understanding the world; and physical and creative development.
The school aims to ensure that learning takes place in a stress-free and progressive environment. This seems a somewhat unusual aim for an Indian curriculum school, which would generally be recognised for a more pressurised approach to learning and achievement. However, according to the school, in keeping with the current directives of the CBSE, "evaluation is done in a way that boosts the morale of a child and pushes him/her to further achievement".
Learning at Ambassador School Sharjah campus focuses on developing the necessary skill-sets in an 'exploratory' and 'inquiry-based' environment. The curriculum gives students a tangible reason to learn, by combining different subjects into practical, real-life projects and best practices from across its affiliate schools, which are designed to enable children to consider each topic in greater depth and to explore different dimensions of learning. Each project is carefully planned to ensure that students master knowledge as well as develop the key skills. These projects run over a number of weeks and culminate in a public display, giving children the opportunity to showcase their work and their learning, to a variety of audiences, including local businesses. In many respects, this approach is not dissimilar to the cross-curricular units of enquiry-based approach of the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
Teachers plan personal learning targets for each child and work towards achieving them throughout the year. Bridge and accelerated programmes are designed to challenge students' development further. The impact of this approach in terms of teachers is also a demanding one. The teacher's role is that of "a mentor, philosopher and guide, who is constantly facilitating the learner to remain motivated and delve deeper into the subject and related fields of study".
The Ambassador Schools group places considerable emphasis on Continuous Professional Development for its staff across all Ambassador campuses. It organises an annual CPD programme which comprises extensive workshops involving both internal and external resources, leadership and subject matter training, the introduction of new teaching and learning techniques, worldwide education trends and skill developments. CPD is viewed by the group "as an initiative to create a knowledge-sharing platform, that involves all academicians for sharing of best practices, providing quality support and monitoring effectiveness". Given the emphasis on teachers as mentors rather than instructors, this is a mindset change that requires considerable support.
Whilst the school has a stated aim to ensure that children learn in a stress-free environment, this does not mean that their progress is not rigorously monitored. In the Pre-primary years (Kindergarten 1 and 2) assessments are informal and children are evaluated based on a record of daily progress. Sensory and play-based learning are integrated with theme-based learning activities. Children are prepared for the future with a strong ICT Programme and Tablet-based learning.
In the Primary classes, learning outcomes are measured on multiple parameters including verbal, class assignments, class activities (both individual and group), written assignments and co-scholastic subjects. Assessments are aimed towards focus on developing all aspects of an individual’s personality. In addition to marks and grades for academic performance, the school gives a detailed assessment of the child’s progress in each subject, his or her personality and work habits.
In Secondary, assessment is both formative (continuous) and summative (based on exams and tests), allowing teachers to build up a picture of the 'whole child', in line with the vision of the CBSE. Throughout all phases of education within the Primary school, SAS focuses on academic progress as well as providing opportunities to enable children to achieve their full potential in a wide range subjects including English, Arabic, Hindi/French, Mathematics, Science, Social and Environmental Science, Computers, Physical Education, Visual Arts, Performing Arts (Music/Dance/Instrumental) and Islamic Studies.
A particular focus of the school is its STEM Academy. Here, Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) are integrated in the classroom. Teachers guide students through the problem-solving process and plan projects, so that students are able to answer complex questions, investigate global issues, and develop solutions for challenges and real world problems, while applying the rigour of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content in a seamless fashion. Students are exposed to current learning in the fields of robotics, 3D printing, electronic circuitry and augmented reality.
In addition to the academic programme, SAS strives to offer a holistic approach to education. This is supported by a wide range of creative activities including Fine Arts and Performing Arts. Fine Arts includes painting and sketching, arts and crafts, creative design (including Computer-Aided Design) and pottery and sculpting (which takes place in a purpose-built Sculpting and Pottery Studio). Performing Arts includes learning musical instruments such as violin, guitar and drums, and singing and vocal development including reading notations and mastering tempo and speed.
Dramatic arts and creative stage offer a platform through theatre productions for personality development where students may overcome stage fright, master confidence for public speaking, build vocabulary and hone presentation skills to address larger audience. Students are involved in acting, dancing, singing, choreographing, directing, stage managing and other skills associated with theatre and stage. The acoustic panels, speakers, stage lighting and other audio-visual devices enhance their performance and instill confidence. The school also offers classes in Classical Indian dance.
A range of Sports programmes is delivered by professional coaches who assess each student’s skills, starting points of skills, develop and record skill enhancement all year-round and then prepare students for local and international competitions. The Sports Programme includes Cricket, Basketball, Soccer , Throw ball, Table Tennis, Badminton, Chess, Carrom, Mindfulness and Yoga.
What about facilities?
The Sharjah Ambassador School is a purpose-built modern school with many of the latest facilities. All classrooms are designed based on the learners’ age and requirements and the demands of the curriculum.
Facilities available in the campus include attached sand and green play areas in every KG classroom, a covered play area, learning centres, integrated IT set up in classrooms, elevators for students with special needs, a cafeteria, two libraries, IT laboratories, laboratories for Physics, Chemistry and Biology and a composite lab. Non-academic facilities include a learner swimming pool, a multi-purpose hall/auditorium, badminton courts, basketball courts, a Mini Soccer Field, Cricket Nets, Table Tennis, Music Studio, Dance Studio, Yoga Studio.
The school is particularly proud of its well-stocked junior library and a senior library, with a wide range of titles, covering both fiction and nonfiction, resource /reference books, dailies and magazines. The collection of books is updated regularly and students are encouraged to make full use of this facility to develop a love for books from an early age. In addition, the library also features an integrated ICT suite to compliment the research activities. The fully networked computers. with appropriate research based software and high speed internet access, are available for teachers and students to use.
School hours are from 7:30 am to 12:15 pm for Kindergarten children and 7:30 am to 2:15 pm for Primary and Middle School.
Clearly, Ambassador School Sharjah is determined to build on its reputation in Dubai in delivering a quality education at mid-range prices for Indian families in Sharjah. The school is still accepting applications for the 2018-19 academic year. Students applying for KG1 will be asked to participate in a face to face assessment, for KG2, there is an additional test. For children applying to Grades 1 to 4, tests in Maths and English are undertaken, whilst from Grade 5, Science is also added.
Fees are currently AED 10,300 for KG1 and KG2, rising to AED 15,600 for Grade 8. There is an additional registration fee of AED 500 and a further book fee of AED 500 collected separately from Grade 1 onwards.
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