Gulf Insider interviews Ms. Abby Saadeh, Principal of the Canadian School of Bahrain.

When did the CSB start and currently which grades does the school offer?

The Canadian School Bahrain opened its doors in 2019. CSB is certified by the British Columbia Ministry of Education and is the first certified BC offshore school in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The school offers a unique education program teaching the British Columbia, Canada curriculum integrated with Bahraini Social Studies, Islamic Studies, and Arabic Language.

Currently, the school offers Nursery to Grade – 5, and we are planning to offer Grade -6 from the next academic year.

How strong are the Arabic and Islamic subjects at the CSB?

Ms. Aisha Janahi – our School Director with over 30 years of experience in education in Bahrain – is focusing on maintaining a strong integration between the British Columbia (BC) Canada curriculum and Bahraini Social studies, Islamic studies, and Arabic language at the highest standards.

What do you mean by the ‘student-centered’ approach?

The Philosophy of Canadian School Bahrain is to provide global education with a holistic approach, focusing on developing the child’s core competencies of communication, creative and critical thinking while developing positive personal and cultural identity. All of the decisions made at CSB reflect what is best for our students. In our focus on 21st-century learning, we refer to “student-centered learning” as “personalized learning” which recognizes the learning uniqueness of each child.

The personalized approach acknowledges that not all students learn successfully at the same rate, in the same learning environment, and in the same ways. At CSB, personalized learning focuses on enhancing student engagement in learning and giving the students choices — more of a say in what and how they learn — leading to lifelong, self-directed learning.  Students and teachers develop learning plans to build on student’s interests, goals, and learning needs. Involving students in reflecting on their work and setting new goals based on their reflections allows them to take more control of their learning. Personalized learning also encompasses place-based learning, where learning experiences are adapted to the local environment or an individual context.

How do you assess the students’ progress?

At the Canadian School, we use both formative and summative assessment processes. Formative assessment means that we are continuously and consistently checking with students during their learning processes to provide recommendations and also to adjust classroom-wide strategies. We use this assessment process consistently using a variety of methods within many different types of activities and assignments. We use summative assessments to evaluate this learning at the end of an assignment or unit. We also use some standardized assessments to be sure our students are meeting British Columbia, Canada standards, and benchmarks.

What is the registration process and till when admissions are open?

The first step in the registration process is to complete a CSB application form and registration fee. The instructions can be located on the website or by contacting us by phone. When the application is submitted, our registration office will assign an assessment date and interview with the student. Following the assessment, the registration office will contact parents of acceptance.

Currently, we are accepting admission from Nursery to Grade 5.

How has the school stayed connected with parents and students through this period?

As a Principal and a parent myself, I understand the times we are in and concerns parents and students have during these often uncertain times. So the school and staff have made sure to communicate the various steps taken to continue to support families and the virtual education of the students virtually.

Being a British Columbia offshore school we had a set of standard procedures and tools for virtual classes, which made adaptation and implementation quite seamless. We had amazing support and response from both parents and students; they enjoyed the new way of learning and appreciated the effort of teachers and staff.

“The school has taken virtual to the most sophisticated online learning technology, as they learn virtually this will sharpen the knowledge and digital skills. Thank you CSB for taking our children to the highest level of learning”, said Ms. Bushra, Grade 1 Parent.

Now that schools are set to reopen in September, what precautions and measures has the school taken?

As per the instructions of the Ministry of Education – Bahrain, we are all gearing up for the new academic year and opening of the school in September. We are following all procedures and recommendations directed by WHO, UNICEF, FRC, BC Ministry of Education and by the Bahrain Ministry of Education to ensure the ultimate safe learning environment for our students.

Our procedures for prevention of the COVID-19 are very stringent and rest assured our whole staff is on constant alert. They have received training in the best practices of dealing with the virus. Also, as per the WHO recommendations we have placed hand hygiene stations at entrances and exits, hallways and classrooms, daily screening of body temperatures on entry into the building for all staff, students and visitors, regular cleaning, and sanitization of the complete school area. In addition, we rearranged all the furniture with increase distance spacing, physical distancing stickers in hallways and classrooms, etc. If needed, we will also minimize the number of students within the school each day through a variety of measures. We understand the concerns of our parents and students. Our school staff are here to support any student, or indeed family member, with all the practical support needed to ensure the safety of all members of our whole school community. 

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