- Star International Mirdif’s “EYFS” enrollment peaked to 45% this year, with the addition of short online public lessons to familiarise potential and existing students about the school
- The school’s facility has been praised by the DHA and KHDA authorities for adhering to the highest safety standards and adopting the strictest precautionary measures
Star International School Mirdif, a bespoke family-oriented and research-driven British curriculum school in the heart of Mirdif, recently launched an innovative 15-minute long online lesson for potential Foundation Stage students, as part of its latest efforts to adapt to the current challenges of on-site education with the Covid-19 pandemic. The school has also recently introduced vocational education to the curriculum with a number of new industry-focused subjects such as Travel, Tourism, and Sport, set to benefit young students in college and future careers. In addition, Star International Mirdif has ramped up its efforts to make the school premises as safe and engaging as possible for returning students, offering a premium educational experience with its well-equipped school facilities. This academic year, the school has ensured to provide a more engaging classroom environment, learning approach and student experience with its state-of-the-art facilities; such as the hi-tech science and robotics laboratories, splash pools, astro pitches, running tracks and spacious outdoor sports hall and garden playgrounds.
“Log In and Learn”: A new and engaging approach for EYFS learning
“Log In and Learn”, a platform designed for and dedicated to the greater public, has been created with the intention to spread Star International’s community throughout Dubai. “Log In and Learn” platform is made up of 15-minute online session that have been devised to provide parents and children within the EYFS1 (Age 3) and EYFS2 (Age 4) group, with knowledge about the school, teachers, subjects and learning environment in a fun and engaging way, supported by the application of exciting activities and conversation points that children and parents can have together.
Relatively, Star Mirdif International has introduced their “Stories with Star” initiative with the aim of encouraging children to read more books which is also part of its larger framework to spread literacy across the UAE. Whilst this reading initiative has been rolled-out to target all year levels, a key focus will be children aged 3 to 5 since encouraging literacy and high reading skills is one of the school’s key priorities. Relatively, prior to Covid-19, Star International School Mirdif opened its first community ‘EYFS library’ at the front side of its EYFS building. This allowed students to lead their parents into the library and helped them to direct their own learning, whilst engaging with their friends, teachers and families at the same time. Another key mission of the “Stories With Star” initiative is to blossom conversation within families around exciting and adventure-filled stories and lessons in order to boost the habit of reading at home again.
Commenting on Star International School Mirdif’s highly successful EYFS programme, Principal Gill Roberts, remarked: “Even with the anxiety that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought amongst parents, Star International Mirdif has still witnessed strong growth within its EYFS section. Starting with only 95 students at the beginning of the year, the school has grown exponentially within just six months of operation by a rate of 45 percent, with more students still looking to join in Term 3 for EYFS1. Interest in our EYFS section has been so high in fact, that we have decided to open up an additional EYFS1 class, which is also filling-up quickly for the new academic year,” Gill added.
The reason behind the school’s staggering growth is credited to its excellent reputation for its Early Years School learning, which has been consistently demonstrated through its exceptional quality of teaching, smoothness in transition as and when distance learning needs to be utilised, particularly during uncertain times such as the current Covid-19 period, when educational authorities are demanding schools to adhere to newly stipulated online and offline rules and methodologies.
Raising the bar: Adopting the highest-standard Covid-19 safety measures
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, parents have become more cautious about their younger children studying at the premises of a school, however, Star International Mirdif has focused its efforts and resources in order to ensure that all enrolling pupils within the younger age bracket can learn in a safe yet engaging learning environment. With weekly inspections taking place by both the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Knowledge & Human Development Authority (KHDA). Face-to-face learning continues to surpass distance learning as the school environment aids to improve children’s well being and mental health, creates a closer sense of community and enables teachers to clearly monitor where students are along their progress scale.
There are 118 protocols that have been put in place at Star International Mirdif, which range from social distancing of tables, introduction of Chromebooks to Years 3 and above and “No Bags” policy and the deployment of cordoned-off bathroom cubicles to enhance safety measures and social distancing. Additionally, the school has introduced new and fun social distancing artwork for EYFS students to enable them to learn about why they need to ‘maintain social distancing’ in an age-appropriate manner, reviewed timetables to allow smooth drop-off and pick-up without too many children entering an area at one time, cleaning timetables to enhance the regularity of disinfection, conducting sterilisation sessions every weekend and introducing external interactive webinars that are focused on educating students about the importance of maintaining hygiene for a healthy life. Star International Mirdif has been privileged to consistently receive positive feedback from the local authorities about the school stringently following the correct protocols and keeping everyone safe for students learning on-site.
“Since the start of this year, we have tirelessly worked to ensure that we adhere to the latest WHO and local authorities’ health and safety measures for students studying at Star International Mirdif. During March as an example, we celebrated having a week of “zero Covid cases”. When we consider the fact that there are approximately 900 people in our school community of students and staff members, we think this is quite impressive and this just reinforces our continuous commitment to make the learning environment at Star International Mirdif as safe as possible for students, teachers and staff all together,” commented Gill Roberts.
About Star International School Mirdif:
Star International School Mirdif is a BSME-accredited, co-educational British Curriculum school founded in 2008, and situated in the heart of the Mirdif Community. Currently, the school embodies 700+ students, 70+ nationalities, 65 teachers and 105+ school staff under one roof, and is open to year groups EYFS 1 through to Year 9, with plans to expand into Year 10 for the next academic year, and growing organically year-on-year. This expansion has an aim of obtaining the school’s first set of GCSE results in July 2023. The school is a research-driven, family-oriented institution, guiding the children through learning with its key Pillars of Learning; Learning for Self, Learning for Change, Learning for All. Star Mirdif prides itself on offering affordable education offered by British-trained and qualified teachers, with nominal tuition fees starting at AED 27,000.
Star Mirdif ’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) offers an exclusive learning environment situated away from the Primary and Secondary school, which offers plenty of space for inquisitive and energetic learners. The Foundation Stage building at Star Mirdif provides an abundance of outdoor space for lessons and breaks, as well as a beautiful indoor atrium for assemblies, collaborative events such as house music performances and hot weather play time. In addition to this, the school has a purpose-built splash pool to give students a safe introduction to swimming lessons within the younger age groups.
Over recent years, Star Mirdif Primary school has grown and developed from strength-to-strength. The school community has expanded by 50%, with a thriving cohort of students who are eager to learn. Star International has introduced a wider choice of extracurricular activities covering areas from Newspaper Club to Badminton, Art and Drama clubs. The soon to launch “STEAM” curriculum, students will be introduced to computer science and robotics at an early age and explore building and designing within the technological lense. Throughout the school, children are encouraged to be proud of their work and are offered plenty of opportunities to compete across all subjects from Islamic Studies, Sports, Science, Entrepreneurship and many other subjects.
Currently in its second year, the Secondary levels at Star Mirdif offer education from Years 7-9. With the start of the academic year 2021/22, the school will introduce Year 10; with the Year 9 cohort selecting their GCSE choices this Spring. Furthermore, the school will be offering a wide range of qualifications to suit all interests and capabilities of students including GCSEs, iGCSEs and BTEC’s, with subjects such as Physical Education, Art, History, Geography, Business Studies, Sociology and many more.
Star International is led by Gill Roberts as Principal, alongside Neal Oates as Vice Principal, both of whom are very passionate about investing and improving the quality of education provided at the school on a continuous pace. With their direction, the school will continue to reach goals of excellence by offering new facilities, educational equipment and learning experiences to all its students.