Futuristically-named Twenty71 Elementary School is due to open at Nad al Sheba 4 in September 2021.
Twenty71 Elementary School has chosen an unusual name which will inevitably spark questions as to its source.
However, when one understands what the focus of the school will be - a future-focused community school offering the US California State Standards, integrating STEM subjects - a reference to a timeline 50 years ahead begins to make sense.
The school will open in September 2021 in Nad Al Sheba 4 and expects a significant proportion of its student body to come from the local Emirati community.
The school’s vision is tied to UAE’s Centennial 2071 plan which is futuristic in its vision and directly relevant to its immediate efforts today. The plan “aims at investing in the future generations, by preparing them with the skills and knowledge needed to face rapid changes and to make the UAE the best country in the world by the next centennial in 2071.” The school sees its Mission as: to become a leading STEM focused elementary school in the UAE that drives innovation and ambition with our community.
Explaining the logic behind the choice of focus, Twenty71 explains that over the past 10 years, growth in jobs involving STEM fields was three times greater than that of non-STEM occupations. STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than others in the coming decade. STEM-related industries are a major economic component of Dubai’s economy. Students and teachers in the twenty-first century must have the skills and abilities today to succeed.
STEM curriculum blends these subjects in order to teach “21st-century skills,” and the tools students need to have if they wish to succeed in the workplace of the “future.” It is an interdisciplinary approach to learning, where academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons and links.
The new school aims to offer a holistic education to students from Pre-K to Grade 5, by utilizing digital skills that will promote intellectual curiosity, social and emotional development and innovation between learners. Coding, robotics and simulations will form a key part of how learning is delivered, which is designed to expose them to the skills needed to succeed in the 21st Century in a post-COVID-19 era.
Introducing the new school, Principal Dr. Terry Burwell stated “With all of the changes that have happened in the last 15 months, this is a fantastic opportunity to re-imagine education, and to build something truly unique that parents and students really want. More than ever, skills for the future workplace are critical, as well as mental well-being, and leading a balance and healthy lifestyle. At Twenty71, children will think creatively by generating and exploring ideas, making original connections. We’ll work with them to find imaginative solutions and outcomes that are of value.I look forward to welcoming parents from Nad Al Shiba to join us in building something truly special!”
A key focus will be on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) aiming to provide students with a rounded curriculum, supported by the rigour and structure of the Californian Common Core Standards.
The STEM curriculum blends these subjects in order to teach “21st-century skills,” and the tools students need to have if they wish to succeed in the workplace of the “future.” It is an interdisciplinary approach to learning, where academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons and links.
The STEM focus enables students to learn important mindsets, skills, and projects that will foster innovation within the curriculum. STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than others in the coming decade. STEM-related industries are a major economic component of Dubai’s economy.
Children joining the school in pre-KG and KG will have access to an environment that offers a holistic and age appropriate learning environment in the early years, particularly at school entry level. The school will implement the California Preschool Framework, alongside the Kindergarten Academic Standards. This framework supports children’s learning experiences by promoting learning environments that are:
The framework supports promoting learning through play and independent child-directed activities. It allows teachers to individualize the curriculum based on children’s knowledge, needs and requirements. The inclusive strategies, domains and core fundamentals, all support quality, access and equality, which will be at the core of the approach to teaching and learning. The strength of the KG curriculum will be enhanced by the inclusion of such supportive frameworks and will ensure that the children master the key learning skills and foundations to successfully transition on to the Elementary grades.
The California Arts Framework will be used to support teachers in translating artistic content and practices into understandable, age appropriate and relevant instruction. This will assist in the development of artistic literacy and lay the foundation for children to make connections between the arts and core subjects.
The Kindergarten is also focused on teaching students through socialization skills, developmental play and innovation throughout the curriculum. Children are encouraged through the provision of a safe and secure learning environment to enable them to grow.
Kindergarten teachers are specialists and are trained in providing emotional and developmental support allowing students to learn and understand through engagement and creativity.
Once students move into the Elementary section of the school, they will be encouraged to become more independent in all aspects of their school work, through the promotion of the learning of skills, attitudes and knowledge that will support them outside the school environment as well as within it. Within the Elementary school, children will carry their STEM passport around with them, which will enable the capture each child’s achievements against STEM indicators.
Students will be supported with opportunities to learn and experience new things through a focus on digital skills; exploring robotics and coding. This bolsters the academic curriculum, encouraging innovation, problem-solving and creativity throughout their learning.
Experienced teachers will help guide students in their development, providing a balanced approach and showing practical examples of the skills they are learning. The school's goal is to send students on to Middle and High school with confidence in themselves.
With the expectation that students will come from the local community, Twenty71 will also ensure that the Arabic language will be a strong element of the school. The curriculum is enhanced with the inclusion of Arabic and Islamic Studies, celebrating and understanding Islamic values and encouraging awareness of Emirati and world cultures.
Although English will be the language of instruction, Arabic will feature in assemblies, in presentations, on display, in brochures and newsletters, and in everyday conversation between the schools and its students and parents.
The teaching and learning philosophy will be to promote a communicative language approach. The teaching of Arabic will be grounded in speaking, listening and the everyday experience of language. At all levels, the goal will be to ensure importance and provide inspiration in and for the learning of the language. The school will have the capability to communicate in classical or standard Arabic, when required, and will enjoy celebrating the traditional form.
Enrichment activities will also play a key role in daily life at Twenty71 Elementary School. The school will promote participation in at least two clubs, societies and activities each term to ensure the all-round development of each of student. In order to complement the approach to teaching, the school will have partnerships with Madar Farms (farming), Noxus (Virtual Reality) and Jam Academy (Sport).
Activities will include community service, mathematics, coding, robotics, and a range of sports such as swimming and soccer, as well as drama productions, music performances, and art shows, fundraising and charity work. These are on offer both during and after the school day, making them accessible to all students.
Twenty 71 will be an inclusive school that enables students of all backgrounds and abilities to meet their potential and develop their strengths. Staff will assess and plan to meet individual students’ needs where necessary, allowing qualified staff to help personalize the approach to each student.
Students with special needs will be identified in a range of ways including through the entry assessments and transfer records during admission; through CAT4 testing and performance in all external examinations; through teacher assessment in classrooms; performance in end-of-term or internal end-of-Grade exams; and the student tracking system.
Teachers are trained to identify common learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and limited reading comprehension. Teachers and support staff will work closely with the SENCO team who have particular specialisms in early childhood development and behaviour, sharing observations to ensure a unified approach to development and learning.
The SENCO team will work with each Grade Leader to examine the progress of lower-performing and high-performing students, as well as students who are not making expected progress. The school will consult with parents and use professional services external to the school where there are specialist diagnostics or support required.
Facilities in the school will include virtual reality, augmented reality, hydroponic and bio-domes to encourage eco-literacy, and awareness of the importance of sustainability. Additional facilities include: specialist art, media and music rooms, a Library, a flexible Maker Space, a Special Needs base and resource area, a Swimming/learning pool, safe outdoor play areas, large classrooms, a Clinic and Prayer rooms.
The school seeks to encourage a healthy lifestyle for all students and will provide balanced school meals through a catering service that will be available on premises. This is designed to aid concentration, positivity and proactivity through the provision of a fresh, wholesome and balanced diet.
School bus services will also be available through a third-party provider.
Fees for Pre-K start at AED 34,000 and will increase to AED 37,500 in Grade 5. In line with the school's aim to encourage local families to join the school, scholarships are available for Emirati students.
The school day will operate from 8am for Kindergarten and 7:45am for Elementary, with KG pick up at 1:30pm, and Elementary at 2:50pm.
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