The American School of Creative Science, Layyah (ASCS) is a Sharjah based K1 - G4 school that will progressively add grades to offer the American High School Diploma for students completing their High School education in future years. Part of the BEAM group of schools, all offer a unique combination of international curriculum within a UAE context, with a specific focus on traditional values and strong emphasis on Islamic teaching, including Quran recitation.
The American School of Creative Science in Layyah is the newest of the 3 schools owned and managed by BEAM in Sharjah. Currently open to Grade 4, ASCS Layyah opened in 2016, adding to the existing and expanding ASCS in Maliha and the original (from 2002) UK curriculum International School of Creative Science in Muwaileh. Two further schools opened in Dubai in September 2017, one located at Nad Al Sheba (ISCS) and the other in Al Barsha (ASCS).
This brings to 5, the total number of schools now operating under the Creative Science brand and owned and managed by Bukhatir Education Advancement & Management (BEAM). The Group apparently has ambitious plans to operate and manage further schools to be added to its portfolio, though details are not currently available.
The Beam Creative Science Schools, ISCS and ASCS provide a unique combination of an international curriculum blended with strong Arabic language and Islamic Studies programs, enabled by experienced academic teams, and a technology infrastructure geared towards achieving strong teaching and learning outcomes.
ASCS Layyah’s Vision states that (it) “shall be a learning organization that nurtures, cultivates and fosters creative and critical thinking skills, academic excellence with strong moral values to develop successful and contributing members of a global society”.
The school’s Mission “is to effectively instil traditional morals and values while ensuring excellence through an integrated curriculum based upon: Internationally renowned best practices in teaching and learning primarily based on the American Curriculum, UAE curriculum for Arabic Language, Islamic Studies, and Social Studies, and most modern innovative skills including proficiency in science and technology”.
It seems that ASCS has been successful if reaching out to families to whom this blend of an international curriculum, reinforced by the strong local standards in relation to Arabic and Islamic and Social Studies appeals. The school currently has over 620 students of 40 plus different nationalities. The main nationalities are Emirati (20%), Jordanian (17%), Syrian (15%) and Egyptian (10%). Admission to the school is based on an entrance test for each grade and stage level. Due to high demand, prospective students are also required to undertake a CAT4 (Cognitive Ability Testing) test.
ASCS staff are selected from the international educational community for their experience and dedication to the vision and mission of the school. ASCS states that it has a “highly qualified, dedicated and well-versed team of teachers and instructors having proven academic excellence who are fully devoted to the well-being, attainment and bright future of their students”. The school promotes its commitment to continuously achieving excellence, through providing all management and teaching staff at the school with a Continuing Professional Development program developed with the in-house training and development center. This aims to ensure that staff are abreast with the latest developments in education and teaching techniques to provide the most effective educational experience possible.
ASCS Layyah follows the California standards US Common Core curriculum (for English Language Arts, Math, and History/Geography, and Next Generation Science Standards for Science) integrated with the UAE Arabic, Islamic Studies and Social studies curriculum. The school aims to develop competent learners with a unique blend of values and moral-based education, adopting the same approach provided by the other Creative Science schools in delivering a unique curriculum that “nurtures, cultivates and fosters creative and critical thinking skills, academic excellence with strong moral values to develop successful and contributing members of a global society”.
From the outset, the English and Arabic departments adopt a common approach to ensure that links are established between the different subjects. In the KG department, for instance, both departments adopt an area-of-learning based curriculum and story books used in the English classes are translated in Arabic so that children can listen and interact with the same story in both languages. At the Elementary level, the school adopts a thematic approach, ensuring that children are encouraged to make links between the different subjects.
The school has also developed its own Computer curriculum that meets the objectives of the US Common Core Curriculum, while referring to material used in English, Islamic studies, Maths and Science, thus encouraging children to use their IT skills in a variety of contexts.
The US Curriculum offers a broad and balanced Kindergarten to Grade 12 academic programme geared towards inquiry-based, hands-on teaching methods, and world class learning strategies. ASCS Layyah will provide all the necessary support for students to take their SAT and TOEFL/IELTS exams which are requirements for college entry in the US.
Students will graduate with a High School Diploma upon successful completion of Grade 12. ASCS states that is in the process of obtaining institutional accreditation to ensure acceptance of the HSD, though no details are provided. However, given that the first diploma students will not commence their High School programme for 5 years, this should not be a concern.
The school promises to offer a rich and diverse Extra-Curricular program where children have ample opportunities to express their creativity and develop their talent. The program is delivered alongside the curriculum to support and enrich the academic, physical, social, emotional, and psychological development of students. Activities include regular educational field trips, sports competitions, cultural days to celebrate the diversity of the student body, Extra-Curricular Activities Clubs held every Wednesday afternoons, and academic competitions such as Spelling Bee Competition, Math Competition, Quran Memorization Competition, and Science Fair etc. there are also activities that cater to students’ aesthetic development such as Art Fair and Cooking Competitions.
The school campus offers a range of facilities in keeping with a modern school environment which is designed to promote traditional moral values and ethos, in addition to building critical thinking skills and academic excellence amongst its pupils. These include a world class Auditorium and unique Activity Rooms where children have ample opportunities to participate in activities and practical lessons offering an interactive experience where students can discover, plan and challenge themselves. In addition to building the educational and intellectual capability of children studying at the foundation stage and early years, other hands-on skills are also developed. This includes basic culinary classes in purpose-built kitchens that teach students hygiene etiquette and at the same time develop their independence in making the right food choices and meals for themselves.
ASCS integrates the learning of Computer and Computing by using the latest technologies and software, aiming to give its students a competitive edge by making Computer cross-curricular and integrated across all areas of their learning including the use of specialised ICT rooms. The school provides a wireless campus, tablets, e-Resources, Interactive Whiteboards, digital projectors, digital visualizers, ActiVotes and other latest interactive software and resources to enhance teaching and learning. Digital displays around the school are the norm to instantly celebrate digital work of students, as well as to provide information to parents.
In addition, a fully equipped Learning Resource Centre with multimedia facilities is available for students to enhance their learning outside classrooms. The indoor playgrounds are equipped with specialized safe flooring and offer multiple provisions for different games, while creating a safe level of usability. There is also significant outdoor space to enable a variety of sports to be played.
It is still relatively early days for ASCS Layyah, which is now effectively in its fourth year of operation. However, based on the history and success of the International School of Creative Science and ASCS Muweilah, BEAM appears to be growing its proven formula and there is every reason to believe that the Layyah School will continue to develop strongly.
Fees at ASCS Layyah are relatively moderate in comparison with other schools in the group, with KG starting at AED 19,500 rising to AED 28,600 for Grade 4 (slightly below those of ASCS Maliha and ISCS Muwaileh).
A useful option for parents is offered by BEAM's i-rusum Online Fee Payment gateway. Parents can pay school fees online or in person using a credit card. In addition, parents can also opt for a 0% Easy Payment Plan (EPP) for up to 12 months from the following banks, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic and Emirates NBD Bank.
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