Education UAE Issue 6

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DECEMBER 2020

VIRTUAL LEARNING: THE NEW PILLAR OF EDUCATION

SUPPORTING GIFTED LEARNERS THROUGH THE BLENDED MODEL

GAMING ADDICTION LOST IN A VIRTUAL WORLD


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IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

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020 has been a year like no other in our lifetime. With a global pandemic and a fractured economy, these are worrisome times. But it’s not a new thing – the 1918 flu pandemic, for instance, killed 50 million people. And it’s not all bad news either: the way that the pharmaceutical companies have shifted gear to produce a vaccine in such a short time is a minor miracle. It’s still a difficult time for many people though, which is why, in this issue of Education UAE, we hear from Dr Saliha Afridi, a clinical psychologist and the Managing Director of The LightHouse Arabia, about the mental health implications of the pandemic on children and teachers. We present a number of feel-good stories too, not least Nickelodeon’s ’Extraordinary Me’ campaign in the UAE, highlighting youngsters who are inspired by what they love doing and what they do extraordinarily successfully. Nine-yearold Lamia, an Emirati rhythmic gymnast, and DJ Michelle, a professional female DJ, are the two talented kids featured. A new series also begins, focusing on Arabic culture, starting with music and its complex rhythmic and melodic modes. It often seems a little overwhelming to those new to it, but its spontaneous nature

and sense of inclusion and enjoyment repay those who make an effort. The various forms of ‘intelligence’ is another topic on our radar, with Niranjan Gidwani, an independent consultant director and former CEO of the Eros Group, taking a look at different types of intelligence, and how they will become increasingly important in the years ahead. Continuing the theme of intelligence and development, we look at a new study from a team of neuroscientists from Cardiff University that explores the positive impact doll play has on children, helping them to develop empathy and social information processing skills, even when playing by themselves. Of course, even in these difficult times, it is still essential to stay fit and healthy, so we look at current guidelines for winter sports programmes as the world continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This and so much more is in this festive edition of Education UAE, including hotels, restaurants and resorts that are creating special celebrations that allow people to come together is a fun and safe environment during this joyful season. Happy holidays!

Rod Millington Editor-in-Chief

Rod Millington has been active in the commercial writing sector for over 30 years, with work published throughout Europe, North America, the Far East, and the Middle East. During this time, he has had the privilege to speak to a wide range of fascinating and entrepreneurial people, from captains of industry through to pop icons such as Sir Paul McCartney. In total, Rod has had over 25 million words committed to print across more than 35 publications for clients as diverse as FIFA, Cunard, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and Dubai Municipality.

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This magazine is published by TPG Publishing LLC. All material is the copyright of TPG Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. This magazine is the property of TPG Publishing LLC. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form whole or part without written permission of the Managing Director of TPG Publishing LLC. While every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequence arising from it. In the case of company or product reviews or comments, these have been based upon the true and honest opinion of the Editor at the time of going to press.

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BECAUSE WE CARE


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Contents

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Servant Leadership: The Ultimate Key To A Healthy School Environment

42

Music Based On Melody And Rhythm

44

Dyslexia and Rewiring The Brain


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THE FEATURES IN THIS ISSUE INCLUDE… DID YOU KNOW? Ministry Of Education

6 Launch Of The 50x50 Initiative 10 New Virtual Platforms Encourages More Creative Educational Policies

Knowledge And Human Development Authority

17 Covid-19 Changing UAE Education For The Better

Abu Dhabi Department Of Education And Knowledge

11 Revolutionary Coding School Offers Virtual Check-In

Sharjah Private Education Authority 10 Sharjah Ruler Visits SPEA

Outstanding Schools Middle East 8

Building And Developing New Connections

Higher Education

38 An MBA Unlike Any Other, The Emirates Academy Of Hospitality Management 41 Heriot-Watt Inks Agreement With Taaleem Education 41 Herman Miller and AUD Announce Top Three In Design Challenge

Know It All!

46 IQ and Intelligence 48 Covid-19 Presents An Opportunity To Overhaul The Educational System

Our World

50 Your Clothes Tell A Story 51 The Sustainable Schools Virtual Summit

Parent Corner

52 Playing With Dolls Helps Develop Empathy And Social Processing Skills 54 Gaming Addiction – Lost In The Virtual World

The New Normal

The Lounge

EXCELLENCE IN

The Lounge - Festive

12 A Natural Approach To Better Mental Health 14 Implications Of The Pandemic On Children And Teachers

58 How Law Changes Will Effect Expat Parents 60 The Rescuer Protection Law Will Boost Survival Rates

Pre-School

18 A Nursery Designed For The Modern Age

62 Tis The Season To Be Safe 64 Festive Dining 70 Classic Christmas Movies

Schools

Myth Or Truth

24 Vernus International School Opens At DSO 25 Robitics For All – Special Olympics UAE 26 Repton Family Of Schools Introduces Repton Al Barsha 26 Alef Picks Up Two Guinness World Records 26 RAK Academy Rolls Out 1,500 Chromebook Devices 34 RGS Guilford Is Bringing It’s 500Year Heritage And Academic Excellence To Dubai 36 Supporting Gifted Learners Through Blended Model

74 Is Santa Claus Real?

Book Review

76 Who Are Our Heroes?

Health And Nutrition

78 An Extraordinary Mental Health Burden 80 Hair Loss And Hormones 82 Is Sugar Really Bad For You?


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Did You Know?

MOE

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF THE 50X50 INITIATIVE

Under the framework of the national and private schools will participate in 1,000 efforts to implement the ‘Designing virtual interactive workshops, with 50 the Next 50’ project launched by students taking part in each workshop. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, State for Government Development and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the The Future, and Secretary-General of the Ministry of Education announced the Committee stated that the UAE Government launch of the ‘50x50 Initiative’. is keen to enhance the national responsibility R‘Designing the Next 50’ aims to unify of the 50,000 students and their awareness minds and visions to achieve innovation and establish partnerships Around 50,000 students towards a new phase of representing all academic stages development in the UAE. from over 1,200 public and The project will be overseen by the 50private schools will participate year Development Plan Committee, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the importance of participating in designing and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to the country’s future, through creating an shape the UAE’s next 50 years. environment that supports ideas and initiatives. The Ministry of Education’s initiative involves Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister students in designing the components of of Education, stressed that the initiative the country’s comprehensive development will enable the students to interact with plan for the next 50 years, in cooperation the nation’s issues, overcome related with the ‘Preparation for 50 Committee’. challenges and participate in the development The initiative focuses on involving process, adding that an initiative is a key students in the plan, by exploring their tool for developing a modern vision that will views, aspirations, ideas and development serve the country’s education agenda. He suggestions on vital topics. noted that it comprises a series of digital Around 50,000 students representing workshops that explore the ideas, visions all academic stages from over 1,200 public and aspirations of participating students.

The initiative will enable the students to interact with the nation’s issues

MOE ANNOUNCES THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ALEF PLATFORM IN ALL UAE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The UAE Ministry of Education has announced the implementation of the ‘Alef Platform’ in all UAE public schools. The initiative aims at providing the UAE’s educational system with the latest innovations in digital education, including AI and Big Data. This will facilitate the achievement of the national agenda, which includes developing a first-rate educational system.

access to several academic programmes to support them throughout their journey in self-learning. His Excellency Eng. Abdul Rahman Al Hammadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education, affirmed that the UAE seeks to consolidate its educational system and aspirations for the future of education by laying the foundation for a flexible and effective virtual learning ecosystem that meets the UAE’s ambitions and goals:

The UAE seeks to consolidate its educational system and aspirations for the future of education The Alef Platform will be used to teach 40,000 plus students from the fifth to the ninth grades the six core subjects, namely: Arabic Language, Mathematics, Science, Islamic Studies, Social Studies and English Language with a plan to cover grades 10, 11 and 12 during the next academic year. Teachers and students will also have

“The strategic vision of the Ministry of Education is built on a futuristic vision to develop an educational system that is up-to-date with the current developments in technology and capable of enhancing the intellectual skills of our students to enable them to unravel their creative potentials.”


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KHDA

DUBAI’S PRIVATE SCHOOL SECTOR ENJOYS 14% ENROLMENT GROWTH AT NEW SCHOOLS Dubai’s private school sector demonstrated its resilience with enrolments at new schools showing an increase of 14% in the last academic year. According to information published by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the 30 new private schools that opened in the emirate between the academic years of 2017-18 and 2019-20 saw student numbers escalating by 14% in the last academic year. Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of KHDA, said: “Dubai’s school sector faced unprecedented circumstances this year. Despite setbacks, the emirate’s school sector has not only proven its ability to bounce back from challenges, but also recovered stronger and better. New schools continue to open in Dubai, new families continue to move to Dubai, and our educational community continues to deliver a high quality of education. “We’re grateful to the teachers and school leaders who have been so devoted to their students and their work; to the parents who have placed

their trust in Dubai and our schools; and to the students who have shown such courage and optimism throughout this period. Our community will continue to work together in the weeks and months ahead to build a more resilient, future-focused private school sector.” KHDA’s private school landscape data for the year 2020-21 shows that 53%

53%

OF STUDENTS FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING

14%

INCREASE IN STUDENT NUMBERS

47% STUDENTS DISTANCE LEARNING

of all students in Dubai have returned to face-to-face learning, while 47% continue to study through full-time distance learning. Four new schools opened in the current academic year. Schools have established their ability to deliver learning in a safe and healthy environment in the midst of the current circumstances.

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NEW PRIVATE SCHOOLS

100%

FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING TARGET

With many schools transitioning to 100% face-to-face learning, confidence among schools and families to return to a normal learning experience is rising.


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Did You Know?

Building and Developing New Connections at Outstanding Schools Middle East LORD JIM KNIGHT HAS CALLED ON THE 200 PRINCIPALS, ACADEMIC AND PASTORAL HEADS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST, ALONG WITH ADEK, KHDA AND SPEA, TO GIVE THEMSELVES SPACE. SPEAKING AT OUTSTANDING SCHOOLS MIDDLE EAST, HE EXPLAINED: “IT’S TIME TO STOP AND REFLECT IN ORDER TO INTERPRET THE CHANGES OF 2020 AND BUILD ON THEM.”

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ir Michael Wilshaw  Sir Michael Wilshaw spoke of his ambivalent relationship with the term “outstanding”. It is a mindset, not a result. What matters is to be a “Good” school and to be obsessed with improvement. In his experience, outstanding leaders are fiercely competitive, ambitious, perceptive and unconventional. They are restless, with a clear view of what they want, yet pragmatic enough to get there. It is their role to disseminate this management and governance structures. passion and drive to all staffing levels. Wellbeing worked its way into almost Sir David Carter told us how to lead every conversation and with good reason. with impact and gave a framework for Sir Anthony Seldon said it’s time to underpinning school improvement through stop just talking about wellbeing and to establishing values, designing plans, talent start teaching it. For Mike Lambert, it’s

about finding evidence-backed programmes founded on sound data and integrating them into the curriculum. He shared Dubai College’s journey for adding wellbeing to the curriculum. Kate Griggs opened everyone’s eyes to the brilliant potential of the 20% of all students that are underserved by our current education systems – dyslexics. Delegates responded with enthusiasm, especially in the interactive video roundtable discussions. They described the process as somewhat therapeutic, offering reassurance, connection, validation and a focus to carry them through the rest of the year. A director from Al Mamoura Academy explained that it was “reassuring in this


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Wellbeing worked its way into almost every conversation.

It’s time to stop and reflect in order to interpret the changes of 2020 and build on them. difficult environment to talk with people, to hear other people’s approaches to teaching and learning during Covid-19 and beyond – to take those ideas away and implement them in our own school setting and to know we are on track.” A Dubai school explained how the roundtables enabled them to flesh out “meaningful ideas with people from different backgrounds” and valued the “building and developing of new connections to focus on improving school practice through ongoing conversations.” CPD is more important now than ever,

especially for school leaders. There are still many challenges ahead. Distance learning must be accompanied by useful templates, fair assessments, rich dialogue and deep questioning. Student wellbeing must be taught. Staff CPD and wellbeing must be put first. Decision-making and planning must involve effective parent input and communication. The home and school spheres are merging, so how can schools better manage emotional and social development? These are the questions that Outstanding Schools Middle East will look to answer in 2021.

 Sir Anthony Seldon

CPD is more important now than ever, especially for school leaders


10 Did You Know?

SPEA

SHARJAH RULER VISITS SPEA H.H. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has lauded the eminent role of the Sharjah Private Education Authority, SPEA, praising its extraordinary efforts in achieving a qualitative leap in educational levels in the emirate’s schools. He underlined this during his speech at the headquarters of SPEA, where he was briefed on several educational initiatives that are being implemented. The Ruler of Sharjah highlighted the importance of reviewing a number of challenges in the educational process, primarily those of developing the methods and techniques of education in private schools in the emirate, in addition to developing some school curricula. Furthermore, he shed light on the role of parents in supporting the learning process by encouraging their children, and concluded his speech by thanking the employees of SPEA, wishing them further success.

NEW VIRTUAL PLATFORM ENCOURAGES MORE CREATIVE EDUCATIONAL POLICIES MOE THIS NEW PLATFORM HIGHLIGHTS THE REAL PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE KEY ROLES OF STUDENTS, PARENTS AND EDUCATIONAL STAFF Parents, students and teachers can take a greater role in the overall success of a school when they are allowed to be active participants in the decision-making process. And with the roll-out of a new virtual platform, ‘We Make Our Policies’, members of the wider education community are now being encouraged to put forwards their own thoughts and ideas. Launched by the Ministry of Education (MoE), this new platform highlights the real partnership between the key roles of students, parents and educational

staff in creating future education policies. Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, explained: “The ministry strongly believes in the importance of integrating the roles of students, teachers, parents and educational policy-makers. The platform is a tool that will make all of them cooperate in drafting educational policies more creatively.” Al Hammadi added that the ministry is adopting an approach based on transparency and effective partnerships that will enrich the educational movement, establish a

framework for the ministry’s relations with its partners, and benefit Emirati schools. The platform was implemented in response to the launch, by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, of a project to prepare for the next 50 years in the UAE, which aims to encourage the country’s citizens and residents to present ideas and designs for the future of the nation. Parents throughout the UAE have been very positive about the new platform, with one mother, Jane Leigh, believing it to be a “crucial” move, commenting: “It’s great that we now have an opportunity to give our opinions and ideas on education policies. I think parents have some very innovative ideas about the best ways our children can be taught.” It is not only parents who are encouraged, with many teachers also optimistic about how ‘We Make Our Policies’ can influence education in the future, believing that their views can help to improve students’ learning skills. Indeed, many teachers have wonderful ideas on good education policies, but until now they have not had the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. However, this new virtual platform brings a wide range of people into the conversation, allowing them all to contribute to policies and programmes that will ultimately boost performance in the classroom.


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ADEK

THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – ARE WE READY?

We stand on the threshold of a technological revolution that will fundamentally change the way that we live and work. It will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before and, although we don’t know exactly how it will unfold, one thing is clear – the response must be integrated and comprehensive. And this includes ensuring that young people have the core skills required to prepare them to take part in the future job market. With this in mind, ADEK recently participated in an online session organised by G20, entitled ‘Securing Future Jobs with the Right Skills’. Majid Al Shamsi, Director of Higher Education Business Development at ADEK and project lead on 42 Abu Dhabi,

spoke about the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, including the gap in the type of skills students have right now compared to what will be needed. This is underlined by the fact that 87% of executives today say that they are experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years. Indeed, one-third of senior leaders state that finding talent is their most significant managerial challenge. A knowledge-based economy is fuelled by digital disruption, and students must learn the right skill sets to secure future jobs. It is estimated that there will be a $3 trillion revenue growth until 2030 due to this technological revolution, so huge opportunities are undoubtedly on the horizon.

ADEK

REVOLUTIONARY CODING SCHOOL OFFERS VIRTUAL CHECK-IN

42 Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and Ghadan 21 Accelerator Programme’s revolutionary coding school, has embarked on a series of virtual ‘check-In’ sessions – a key milestone in the selection of the school’s inaugural cohort ahead of its opening in February 2021. In excess of 4,000 potential students have already completed 42 Abu Dhabi’s online preselection assessment, with around 200 young people a week exploring the opportunity. The assessment evaluates applicants’ cognitive capacity via logic and memory games. During the check-in sessions, applicants also receive a detailed briefing on 42 Abu Dhabi’s unique peer-to-peer learning methodology and its mastery-based, 21-level curriculum. This allows students to deep-dive into key specialisation areas, including Imperative Programming, Parallel Computing, Algorithms, AI and more. Prospective students can engage with 42

Network alumni via an open floor Q&A too. The latter have completed the divergent and gamified project-based coding program, which expands critical thinking and problem-solving skills, helping students to begin to understand the wide range of future career opportunities available with industry-leading coding acumen. Majid Al Shamsi, Director of Higher Education Business Development at ADEK and Project Lead on 42 Abu Dhabi, said: “The first 42 Abu Dhabi ‘Check-In’ sessions kicked off with an incredible start with 200 applicants attending last week’s sessions. As the admission race heats up, the calibre of candidates is very strong, and we look forward to our first cohort of the UAE’s next generation of coders starting to take shape.” 42 Abu Dhabi, a major enabler in Abu Dhabi’s strategic vision to create a diverse and inclusive

education infrastructure that empowers and enables a future-ready workforce, is an initiative of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s three-year government accelerators programme. This innovative programme aims to fast-track the emirate’s economic transformation through investment in knowledge, the economy and the community to support business, innovation and people. The purpose-built 42 Abu Dhabi campus, located in the heart of the UAE capital’s historic Mina Zayed warehouses district, will accommodate up to 750 students once fully operational. Applications for 42 Abu Dhabi remain open for students aged 18 years and above. While candidates do not require previous coding experience or academic qualifications, successful 42 students typically display ambition, aptitude, commitment, proactivity, curiosity and creativity, as well an innate ability to adapt and collaborate.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO APPLY, VISIT WWW.42ABUDHABI.AE


12 The New Normal

A Natural Approach to Better Mental Health THIS HAS BEEN A YEAR THAT HAS TESTED US ALL TO OUR LIMITS. WE HAVE BECOME INCREASINGLY AWARE OF THE FRAGILITY OF OUR MENTAL HEALTH. OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO FEAR, STRESS AND UNCERTAINTY THAT HAVE RESULTED IN ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, MOOD AND BEHAVIOURAL DISORDERS. THIS HAS HEIGHTENED OUR AWARENESS ABOUT THE FESTERING EPIDEMIC OF MENTAL HEALTH AMONG OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH. ALARMINGLY, CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS ARE RECEIVING DIAGNOSES OF THESE MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS SUCH AS GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER. Conventionally, with a diagnosis comes a prescription of psychiatric medication. Children and adolescents are not immune to these prescriptions, and we have no idea of the long-range impact of these drugs on our children’s neurotransmitters and their ability to wean off these medications. There is a different way to look at mental health disorders that go beyond diagnoses and symptomatic treatment. Functional Medicine looks at what the root causes of disease are rather than focusing on symptoms. Mental health is viewed NOT as something that is in the brain; rather, it is a consequence of imbalances in the body that AFFECT the brain. By fixing the body, we automatically fix the brain because the

body and brain are one interconnected system. If a child is exhibiting mood or behavioural symptoms, the first place to look is the health of their gut and the composition of their diet. The gut is our first interface with the world! The gut is made up of trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, fungi etc. called our gut microbiome. In many cases, there are imbalances in the colonies of good and bad microorganisms living in our gut, a condition called Gut Dysbiosis. This is important for mental health conditions because many of the good bacteria in the gut, called probiotics, are responsible for making more than 80% of all neurotransmitters in our body, including serotonin and dopamine.


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In addition to healing the gut, we also need to focus on other body systems such as energy metabolism, detoxification, hormones and reducing inflammation. Correcting imbalances in our body is essential to reclaiming the physical and mental health of our children. The key steps involved in this process include: 08 Looking for and correcting nutritional deficiencies, such as magnesium, impact brain functioning and mood regulation. 09 Research suggests that regular exercise might be as good as or even better than antidepressants for some people. 10 Reduce children’s screen and social media time. Numerous studies have linked the outdoors with decreased anxiety and depression.

01 Eating a diet full of whole, unprocessed foods with lots of fibre, good sources of protein, and healthy fats. The brain is about 60% fat; therefore, eating plenty of healthy fats (including anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids) can help reduce inflammation and heal the brain.

06 Addressing food sensitivities, allergies, and triggers can have a profound impact on mood and behaviour.

02 Making a rainbow of fruit and vegetables a mainstay of our daily diet will help support neurotransmitter production.

Probiotics, are responsible for making more than 80% of all neurotransmitters in our body

03 Reducing fast foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates (breads, cereals), inflammatory vegetable oils (such as corn, soy oil), chemically processed foods, GMOs, soda, etc. 04 For a child with severe mood and behavioural issues, elimination of junk food is square one. Become a detective and find hidden sources of sugar in all our everyday foods. 05 Introducing fermented foods and probiotics into the diet are essential for children’s brain, mood and the reduction of anxiety since they help support the gut-brain connect, the gutimmune connection and gut-hormone connection.

07 Hydrate hydrate hydrate.

11 Set a no phones in bedrooms rule since these devices send out electromagnetic radiation that triggers brain activity, preventing the brain from doing its night time duties of rest, repair, detoxification and restoration. 12 Limit the use of electronic devices 1-2 hours before bedtime. The blue light from the devices reduces melatonin levels, the hormone that helps us fall and stay asleep. 13 Get enough sleep. The consensus among researchers for optimal sleep levels is 9-12 hours for children aged 6 to 12 years and 8-10 hours for teens aged 13 to 18 years. 14 Create a safe environment by reducing triggers such as EMFs, mould, dust, heavy metals and chemicals. Use non-toxic cleaners and building materials.

The consensus among researchers for optimal sleep levels is 9-12 hours for children aged 6 to 12 years and 8-10 hours for teens aged 13 to 18 years.


14 The New Normal

MENTAL HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF THE PANDEMIC ON CHILDREN AND TEACHERS BASED ON WHAT HAS BEEN SEEN AT THE LIGHTHOUSE ARABIA AND FROM MY INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WORLDWIDE, THE MENTAL HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF THE PANDEMIC HAVE BEEN UNPRECEDENTED. THESE CAN BE SEEN THROUGH AN INCREASE IN ANXIETY DISORDERS, MOOD DISORDERS, SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS, POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS SYMPTOMS OR DISORDER, ACUTE STRESS DISORDER, SLEEP DISORDERS, AS WELL AS LONELINESS, BURNOUT, DOMESTIC ABUSE/CHILD ABUSE AND RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS.

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tressed parents are the hardest part of the pandemic for younger children. If a parent is feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious due to world events, then it is likely that they will not be able to see, contain or help their child process the difficult emotions that the child might be going through. Children look to the parents to regulate themselves, and if the parent’s nervous system is overloaded, then it is likely that they are unable to be fully present for their child.

DR SALIHA AFRIDI, is a clinical psychologist and the founder and Managing Director of The LightHouse Arabia, one of the largest mental health centres in the UAE. Her expertise is in parenting and burnout in the workplace sector.

Because children do not have the cognitive abilities to fully comprehend what is happening in the world, and young children are egocentric, they can often feel that such events are either their fault or somehow if they behaved better that they would be able to go back to the way things were (i.e. go play with their friends the way they used to). Children are also very tactile and need a lot of physical reassurance from teachers and their friends—they will not understand why their teacher can’t hug them the way they used to, and instead, they might internalise such moments as something being wrong with them. Childhood is a time of great social and emotional development, and much of that happens in play and on the playground.

The school and play environments have become sterile and ‘socially distanced’, and this leaves a child missing out on some important elements of social and emotional development. Saying this, children are resilient, and they will overcome adversity, as long as the parents prioritise their psychological and physical health above academic development. For resiliency, they are going to need rest, routine, and healthy role modelling. Schools and teachers have had to adapt quickly due to the pandemic, with the new academic year having seen concern, frustration and fatigue in teachers. The added stress of keeping children and themselves safe from Covid-19 means they are not only concerned about their own underlying conditions but also worried about that of the children they teach, and of course their livelihood. There are also the added pressures to adapt to the new school environment and the continually changing rules. With the need to differentiate quickly between normal sickness and Covid-19, anxiety about the stresses on the medical system can set in. There is, of course, continued apprehension around schools closing again should there be a second spike and having to adjust back into home learning once again.


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due focus on the mental health of students AT ALDAR ACADEMIES, there’s a big ring suffe and lise socia to hard it ng findi ren are to the current situation. Many child in g essin addr is , which Aldar Education with the effects from the health crisis in Mondays and Wellbeing Wednesdays ful Mind ing host from , a range of ways l clubs. socia al virtu and ures meas iness some academies to monthly happ

ation. In did not ease off during distance educ The take-up of counselling by students ts, as scen adole some by nt increased engageme fact, Aldar Education saw trends of considerations – r sello coun a with king spea or they didn’t fear being seen visiting with school. ss for students upon the return to that will see them continue online acce ented of assistance during these unpreced But, it’s not just the students in need t assis to tives initia ire requ ol the scho times, the teachers and staff within clubs, al social nights, quiz nights and book with their wellbeing, including virtu who staff for p grou ort supp a Aldar has and counseling sessions. In addition, to Covid-19 – called Solace. have experienced a bereavement due

AT THE ARBOR SCHOOL, planning for how best to support student mental health and wellbeing on their return to school has involved months of ongoing discussio ns with leadership teams as the situation evolved. Training for teachers was a priority, with the wellbeing team delivering CPD across the school to give everyone a chance to reflect on their own experiences and to anticipate some of the issues the students might be facing. The first weeks of term were dedicated to student wellbeing, and involved creating feelings of safety through establishing routines, circle times to get to know individual ‘bubbles’ and increased opportunities to talk and reflect. Wellbeing continue s to be a school priority at Arbor, with preventative support at the universal level through the school’s Arbor Mindfulness curriculum, with more targeted support is available for those who need it. Some students, who previously experienced anxiety or low mood, may find these unpredictable times particularly challenging, so the school’s therapeu tic intervention programme includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), play therapy and counselling.

Schools and teachers have had to adapt quickly due to the pandemic


16 The New Normal

VIRTUAL LEARNING: THE NEW PILLAR OF EDUCATION

by Derek Devine, Senior International Business Development Manager at Edmentum

As the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world, the challenge for teachers and parents alike has been finding ways of engaging students with curriculum content remotely, so their progress can be accurately measured and their education doesn’t fall behind. Eight months into the global shutdown, it is clear that virtual learning has played a critical role in facilitating learning and minimising disruption during this challenging time in many educational institutions. Although many countries reopened schools in September, the impact of the coronavirus continues to be felt across educational communities – with many children (and in some cases, whole year groups) self-isolating due to exposure to the virus, and others in high-risk groups remaining at home to ‘shield’. Additionally, schools have been faced with rapidly widening attainment gaps and losses in learning, whilst simultaneously struggling with the unpredictable education landscape presented by Covid-19. Since March 2020, edtech and virtual learning provisions have been uniquely placed to support teachers and pupils throughout this pandemic and will undoubtedly continue to act as a lifeline for lost learning into 2021.

Personalised learning Edtech is uniquely placed to provide a personalised curriculum to young people, whether they are learning in the classroom or working remotely. With blended learning set to form a foundational part of the curriculum for the foreseeable future, it is vital that students are able to embark upon personalised learning plans, whether at school or home. This provision allows teachers to feel confident that each pupil has access to a high-quality, curriculum-aligned education that is specifically tailored to each child’s needs, wherever they are learning from. Unlike offline learning provisions, edtech can track the progress of pupils and help identify and work on the pain points in each pupil’s learning – so teachers are not only able to consistently monitor pupil attainment but also know pupils are receiving targeted academic support. Personalisation is always important – pandemic or no pandemic – as young people learn in different ways, at varying speeds, with individual strengths and weaknesses. If young people are being taught material that is either above or below their ability level, this can jeopardise their engagement with their learning path. However, if they are being taught material that is directly targeted at their ability level, they have a much greater chance of remaining engaged with their learning at their own pace, and in turn, have a better chance of thriving academically.

Derick Devine, has been working with international schools for over eight years, including running workshops on how assessment data can enhance teaching and learning in the classroom in the UAE. More recently, Derek has been focusing on supporting schools with the implementation of hybrid learning models.

Targeted instruction and diagnostic support In these uncertain times, it is all too easy for pupils to fall behind, even when provided with high-quality learning. Sadly, it is even more likely this will go unnoticed when schools are having to tackle the problems that come with navigating this pandemic. This is where edtech can step in, as the right sort of learning technologies will offer targeted intervention and support as soon as a pupil is displaying signs of struggling with, or even withdrawing, from their learning. Teaching and learning is a two-way process that involves instruction and feedback on the amount of learning that is taking place. Real-time formative feedback is embedded into many packages, which enables teachers to evaluate the learning that has taken place and adjust their instructional strategies appropriately.Through utilising edtech programmes to help monitor pupil engagement, teachers can stay informed of where any gaps in learning might be, how serious they are, and what measures might be implemented to help close them. In addition to prioritising attainment levels, these features also help build a sense of community in this strange new digital world – as well as freeing up valuable time for teachers to do what they do best: teach. Unsurprisingly, the use of edtech has increased significantly through schools across the world and looks likely to have won itself a more permanent place in the classrooms of the future. This is a positive step, as we have not seen the last of the pandemic disruption, and all schools have a herculean task in addressing the long-term issues this will cause for both teachers and pupils. Thankfully, with personalised learning and targeted intervention provisions, some of the burdens can be lifted from the shoulders of teachers, and pupils can feel reassured that they will not be left behind as a result of this pandemic.


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Covid-19 Changing UAE Education for the Better DR ABDULLA AL KARAM, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND DIRECTORGENERAL OF THE KNOWLEDGE AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (KHDA), SAYS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS BEEN POSITIVE FOR THE EDUCATION SECTOR: “EDUCATION HAS DEFINITELY CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. TECHNOLOGY HAD ALREADY TRANSFORMED ALMOST ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY - MANUFACTURING, TRANSPORT, HEALTH, BUT NOT EDUCATION. IT TOOK COVID-19 TO CHANGE THE STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION.” He went on to explain that the pandemic has changed people’s expectations of education and of each other: “Parents and teachers are working together, much more closely. Parents are getting a close-up look at what and how their children learn. Parents now expect to have a choice in how their children learn.” He said students have also become more in charge of their learning and pupils’ well-being has taken centre stage: “Parents and students will be looking for customised learning experiences that benefit their children’s specific strengths, and schools will be looking for a more diversified ‘customer base. Physical schools will become more important than ever - as centres of the community, as places where students and teachers go to build friendships and improve their wellbeing. “This pandemic has also shown us where a school’s strength really lies, which is relationships and wellbeing. When all learning was online, students wanted to go back to school because they missed their friends. Teachers missed their colleagues. Parents missed catching up at the school gates in the morning. When we are cut off from each other, our mental and emotional health declines. “Schools have a huge part to play in improving the wellbeing of individuals, and the whole community. When online learning can meet students’ academic needs, it’ll be the physical schools that meet the holistic needs of students that will really stand apart.” Government entities across the UAE also highlighted resilience in the face of the pandemic. Stan Brackman, director

for strategic planning and excellence at Sharjah Private Education Authority, said: “We have a new academy that not only supports teachers, which is the primary function of the academy, but also supports parents because as we’ve seen with Covid-19, it has really impacted them dramatically. “Therefore, we now have parents who are more involved in the education process than before. So, we have developed the Sharjah Education Academy to help support the transition from the system that was in place before Covid-19 to a system that we are moving in towards now.” Other speakers at the conference said the K-12 sector will come out of the

pandemic as strong as ever, despite shortterm challenges. Ashwin Assomull, head of L.E.K. Consulting’s Global Education Practice, said: “K-12 is one of the most essential and defensible sub-segments within education and is not expected to be adversely impacted by digital disruption in the long run. Our recent survey of Dubai parents indicated that 90% of parents in the emirate are satisfied with remote learning delivery. However, traditional schools will continue to remain the mode of choice for parents, with blended learning becoming the new normal in a post-pandemic world.”


18 18 Excellence in Pre-School

A Nursery Designed for the Modern Age WE ALL KNOW HOW IMPORTANT A CHILD'S FIRST YEARS ARE, AND INCREASING RESEARCH IS SHOWING THE FULL IMPACT OF THOSE EARLY EXPERIENCES ON OUR EDUCATION AND LATER LIVES. THAT IS WHY LADYBIRD NURSERY HAS RAISED THE BAR ONCE AGAIN, CREATING A NEW FACILITY THAT IS NOT ONLY EXCEPTIONAL IN EVERY SENSE BUT SAFE AND SECURE FOR THE ‘COVID-19 AGE’.


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any safety features that are built into the design of this new world-class nursery, not least that it is set in a ground-floor only building, negating the health and safety problems that can arise in multiple-floor buildings. There is also ultraviolet technology in the ducts that has proven to eliminate the transmission of viruses through the air-conditioning system. Last but not least, all thermal scanning will be through contactless cameras and not through handheld thermometers. The building is very open, with all learning spaces having access to the outdoors. The natural sunlight and open space have been a real winner with parents in Ladybird Nursery’s JVC facility, which has received LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council. The same certification is being targeted in the new nursery. Covid-19 has not affected the layout, but it has allowed for the improvement of operational features. Following Ministry of Education Regulations the nursery will cover over 64,0002ft with a maximum of 195 students attending. During Covid-19 times, the nursery will run at 50% capacity per Ministry of Education regulations.

Also, under the current guidelines, Covid-19 ratios are those mandated by the authorities:  Under the age of two years: Eight in a bubble with a ratio of four children to one adult  Over the age of two years: Ten in a bubble with a ratio of five children to one adult During normal times, the Ministry of education specifies the following ratios, which Ladybird Nursery strictly follows:  Four children for one adult for children up to one-year-old  Five children for one adult between the ages of one and two  Eight children to one adult for children between the ages of two and three  Ten children to one adult for children aged over three


20 Excellence in Pre-School

The nursery will cover over 64,0002ft with a maximum of 195 students attending During Covid-19 times, the nursery will run at 50% capacity


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Staying Safe The protocols in place at Ladybird Nursery are truly first-class, including posters and signage throughout for social distancing and proper hygiene. All teachers demonstrate proper handwashing as an activity and ensure all children wash their hands frequently. Temperatures are taken at the entrance in the morning, during the snack break and before departing. All bags are sprayed when children enter, and each lunch box is wiped down. The classrooms are sanitised throughout the day, and toys that have been put into mouths are removed and placed in a separate sanitisation bin. Children stay within their assigned bubbles and do not share play spaces with others. All parents are encouraged to provide food that gives independence to the little ones, allowing them to eat by themselves, while also ensuring that their allergies are taken care of. At present, children are socially distanced at the 1.5m requirement at their tables. Gloves are changed between handling each child’s lunch box, which has already been wiped down The EYFS Curriculum Ladybird Nursery is designed so that it offers a Montessori environment in which children can learn to work and develop independently. This allows children the freedom to explore their natural interests in a structured manner. Although the Al Barsha setting is large, it will always reflect simplicity for the learner. A fair amount of time will be spent outdoors where children can develop physically and use natural elements to inspire themselves. With the classroom, the nursery will be following the EYFS curriculum with the child being guided through the five areas of the Montessori pedagogy: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Cultural.

Ladybird Nursery is designed so that it offers a Montessori environment in which children can learn to work and develop independently The morning starts with outdoor play. Once the children enter the classroom, it’s time to wash hands and start their circle time followed by the Montessori work cycle time. Mid-morning will be time for a snack followed by some more classroom and outdoor activities, with the ever-popular story-time at the end of the day. During the week, the children are also exposed to music, the bespoke Kidz Fir Programme, and the learning of the French and Arabic languages.

Contact info.hq@ladybirdnursery.ae www.ladybirdnursery.ae Jumeirah 1: + 971 4 344 1011 Jumeirah Village Circle: + 971 4 553 9900 Social media ladybirdnurserydubai ladybirdnurserydubai ladybird_dubai ladybird-nursery Ladybird Nursery


22 Cover Story

EXPO 2020 AND DUBAI CARES TO BOOST KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR ALL

HOW DO WE HARNESS AND CHALLENGE OUR KNOWLEDGE OF SCIENCE, MEDICINE, SUSTAINABILITY, TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER VITAL AREAS OF ENDEAVOUR TO BETTER PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE? THAT’S THE QUESTION THAT WILL BE ASKED AT KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING WEEK, WITH INTERESTED PARTIES BEING ABLE TO JOIN VIRTUALLY ON 15-16 DECEMBER 2020 TO FIND OUT HOW EDUCATION, SKILLS AND WORK MUST KEEP EVOLVING IN ORDER TO FACE NEW CHALLENGES AND NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN THE YEARS AHEAD.

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ecognising the critical role of knowledge across countries, cultures, generations and social contexts, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Knowledge and Learning Week will explore the future of education and how its reform is vital to reflect a changing world that must benefit our children, the economy, and society as a whole. Open to the public, the event will be delivered in association with UAE-based global philanthropic organisation Dubai Cares, with keynote remarks offered by Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation; His Excellency Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education; and His Excellency Dr Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares and a Member of its Board.


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Expo and UAE philanthropic group to host virtual Knowledge and Learning Week Innovating for a Better Future Knowledge and Learning Week will look at how education and know-how can propel the global community to innovate for a better future for all, helping humankind push further than we have ever done before. Topics will include digitalising education, upskilling Arab youth and last-mile learning as the world looks to rebuild in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Other subjects covered will take in intangible and tangible heritage, creative industries and knowledge economies, and tourism as a catalyst for community knowledge exchange. Various Expo 2020 international participants, grantees from Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme Expo Live, and

projects supported under Expo 2020’s Global Best Practice Programme – a platform that highlights projects from around the world that have provided impactful and sustainable interventions, with a view to expanding them elsewhere – will feature across the two-day event. These include Expo Live grantee Seenaryo, a Lebanon-based arts and education organisation whose ‘Kindergarten Playkit’, a mobile app offered in Arabic, French and English, is transforming the teaching of refugee children, and The Citizens Foundation, a Global Best Practice project that hires only female teachers and principals to deliver quality education in Pakistan’s most neglected rural and slum communities.

Keynote Speakers

HER EXCELLENCY REEM AL HASHIMY Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation

Topics include digitalising education, last mile learning, and upskilling Arab youth Meaningful, Action-Oriented Dialogue Dubai Cares will also host RewirEdX, an international conference on education, over the two days, bringing education leaders and practitioners from around the world together to engage in meaningful, action-oriented dialogue to rethink and reimagine attitudes towards education. This virtual event will serve as a one-year countdown to the RewirEd Summit, which will take place in collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai during Expo’s Knowledge and Learning Week in 2021. This will include Rewiring Education/Learning for the Future, a panel discussion moderated by Annina Mattsson, Director at RewirEd, and featuring Paolo Glisenti (Italian Commissioner General to Expo 2020 Dubai), Professor Nihel Chabrak (CEO, UAEU Science and Innovation Park, Executive Director UAEU Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Fund), and Ekaterina Loshkareva (R&D Director for WorldSkills Russia). In addition there will be talks and breakout sessions throughout the two days from a number of leading delegates from all over the world, including:  Educating Finland/Resilient TVET, showcasing Finnish systematic and digital success  Plenery: the Future of Connectionivity and Education, encompassing lessons learned, best practices and recommendations on how to strengthen distance learning opportunities, and how to better respond in the face of a crisis  Estonia Panel, highlighting personalised education empowered by technology  Plenery: Minister of Education Perspective, which looks ahead to 2021 and asks: How Will I Start my Year? This will be moderated by HE David Sengeh, Minister of Education in Sierra Leone.

There will be time to relax and unwind too. On 15 December at 7.00pm, for instance, there will be a performance by one of the world’s leading opera stars, Juan Diego Florez, whose generosity, charisma and passion have inspired his many philanthropic endeavours. There will also be a series of short Children’s Tales from Around the World. Knowledge and Learning Week features leading policymakers, academics and thought leaders who are committed to creating a future that is bright, prosperous and optismistic for everyone on the planet. This is an important event and should not be missed.

HIS EXCELLENCY HUSSAIN BIN IBRAHIM AL HAMMADI UAE Minister of Education

HIS EXCELLENCY DR TARIQ AL GURG Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares and Member of its Board


24 Excellence in Schools

VERNUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OPENS AT DUBAI SILICON OASIS Vernus International School (VIS), a new American primary school in Dubai focused on project-based learning, has inaugurated its new campus at Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), an integrated free zone technology park. In its first phase, the school will have capacity for 600 students, bringing the total number of educational seats available in DSO to 7,100 – a 9% increase from the 6,500 seats available in 2019. Phase two of VIS will include secondary classes, and phase three will be VIS Academy. The project spans an area of 6,024m2, at a total cost of AED 50 million. VIS offers an American curriculum for children from Pre-K

VIS offers an American curriculum for children from Pre-K to Grade 5 to Grade 5, based on the Common Core States Standards (CCSS), as well as international standards P21 and Global Awareness, to meet the needs of diverse learners and increase college and career readiness. Stemming from the school’s belief in the holistic development of children, it aims to find each individual child’s strengths and talents and build on them to give the children confidence to solve unfamiliar problems.

CITY FOOTBALL SCHOOLS AND XYLEM JOIN FORCES

AL DIYAFAH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WIN CURTIN UNIVERSITY’S DEWA BUSINESS CUP CHALLENGE 2020 City Football Schools have announced a unique partnership with Xylem, which aims to educate UAEbased children on the importance of hygiene, hydration and water wastage. An educational programme focusing on the importance of water was initially launched in four schools in Abu Dhabi. The programme has now been rolled out in a further six schools, with an additional 15 having expressed an interest in taking part from January 2021. Simon Hewitt, Head of Football Operations MENA,

explained: “We have been working hard this year to connect with many schools and children in the country to educate them on the importance of a healthy lifestyle – and this partnership with Xylem is a fantastic part of those efforts.” Barbara Lubaczewska, Principal at Al Rabeeh Academy, one of the schools to have taken part in the programme, said: “The feedback from the students has been amazing and has helped to further their understanding of the important role that water plays in their health and hygiene.”

The Business Cup Challenge 2020 hosted by Curtin University, in partnership with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), came to a competitive finish as ‘Team Blitzkrieg’ from Al Diyafah School were crowned the champions from 1,100 participating students from across the UAE.‘Team Beta Squad’ from Raffles International and ‘Team FFF’ from Dubai College came into a close finish winning first and second runner-up titles respectively. With a focus on Big Data for this year’s challenge, the virtual event which was held due online due to Covid restrictions this year, showcased business solutions by various teams of students who presented their ideas to a professional panel during the online event. The judging panel was led by Dr Hesham Esmail, Head of the 4IR Research Group at DEWA R&D, Mr Dan Adkins, CEO, Transnational Academic Group Middle East, Dr Khayati Shetty, and Head of the Curtin Business School, Professor John Evans, currently PVC and President at Curtin University’s Dubai campus and Ms Sannah Rajpurohit, a management

consultant in the Middle East with a background in software engineering who has previously worked with Google and Big Data Analytics. The winning team that included Ayaan Mallick, Edward Noronha, Garv Gupta and Bilal Shiji was selected based on the feasibility and creativity of their idea, the relationship to DEWA and big data, the ability to save money, and the quality of their financial and PESTLE analysis. After three gruelling weeks of intense competition from students across 62 schools in the UAE, the champions of Al Diyafah High School defeated the rest with their innovative ideas.


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196 STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN UNIFIED ROBOTICS PRESEASON TRAINING

Special Olympics UAE has concluded the Unified Robotics 2020 preseason training, with 196 students in 58 unified teams from 25 schools participating. The four-week experience kicked-off on 9 November and catered to two age groups: 8-11 years and 12+-year-old students of

diverse abilities. The virtual iteration of the Unified Robotics programme is designed to factor the impact of Covid-19 on education and the partial move to distance learning across many schools. Mainstream schools, special needs schools and centres across the UAE took part.

Special Olympics Unified Robotics is a STEMbased enrichment experience bringing together neurodiverse students with their neurotypical peers to work together as one team. Unifying students on a single team for training and competition focuses the attention of students’ capabilities and minimises differences, breaking down barriers and creating friendships. Opening STEM opportunities for neurodiverse students provides pathways to independence by instilling confidence, developing communication and social skills, and exposing them to yet another field of possibility for their future. Talal Al Hashemi, National Director, Special Olympics UAE said: "We are delighted with the wide participation in the Unified Robotics 2020 preseason training, at a time when schools continue to be challenged by the consequences of the pandemic and the increased pressure on teachers. It shows that we choose not to allow these extraordinary circumstances to shake our commitment to children of diverse abilities, ensuring that no-one is left behind. We look forward to even more participation as we plan our Unified Robotics 2021 programme."


26 Excellence in Schools

REPTON FAMILY OF SCHOOLS INTRODUCES REPTON AL BARSHA The Repton Family of Schools in the UAE has reached yet another milestone, announcing the transition of Foremarke School Dubai to Repton Al Barsha. A natural next step, the move follows the re-branding of its esteemed sister school in the United Kingdom, Foremarke Hall to Repton Prep School.

The school will begin physical upgrades to its Al Barsha campus in 2021, with full re-branding and implementation set for completion at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. This allows existing parents to benefit from a lengthy transition period, to ensure both parents and students are acclimated with comfort and ease.

RAK ACADEMY ROLLS OUT 1,500 CHROMEBOOK DEVICES FOR ALL GRADE 2 TO GRADE 8 STUDENTS parents had about students getting too much screen time on their personalised learning device. “Some parents may be worried that students will spend  RAK Academy Executive Principal Graham Beale hands over a Chromebook laptop to parents at the school’s main campus in Ras Al Khaimah. their lesson time staring at screens with no teacher engagement or Ras Al Khaimah Academy controls, but this will not be Family of Schools has the case at RAK Academy,” delivered 1,500 new he said. “Our teachers will be Chromebook devices to using technology that we know students in Grades 2-8 in makes a difference in teaching the largest roll-out of school and learning and develops the technology of its kind in Ras students’ personal learning and Al Khaimah, marking the higher-order thinking skills.” start of an exciting new era in “At RAK Academy, the interactive, modern learning health, safety, and wellbeing across its five campuses. of our students, staff, and In light of the Covid-19 parents are of paramount pandemic, students have importance, so our operational received their laptop devices practices reflect that and equipped with the Google ensure a safe and secure Chrome operating system school environment.” in a series of socially distanced events throughout the school day, while the parents of full-time distance learners have been collecting the device safely via a drive-through system. Executive Principal Graham Beale moved to allay any fears

1,500 NEW CHROMEBOOK DEVICES TO STUDENTS IN GRADES 2-8

ALEF EDUCATION PICKS UP TWO GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Alef Education smashed two Guinness World Records™ for ‘Most Users to Take an Online Infection Control Lesson in 24 Hours’ and ‘Most Users to Take an Online Pandemic Awareness Lesson in 24 Hours’. Alef Education is synonymous with providing inspired and innovative AI-powered educational solutions to both institutions and individuals. The recordbreaking Guinness events were part of Alef Education’s intention to furnish the younger generation with life skills, particularly during the Covid-19 era, and to encourage students to take part in hands-on training for infection control and pandemic awareness.


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28 Excellence in Schools

Servant Leadership: the Ultimate Key to a Healthy School Environment WORKING IN A SCHOOL IS A BEAUTIFUL JOB, BUT IT CAN ALSO BE LONELY, HARD WORK AND STRESSFUL. HOWEVER, LEADERSHIP STYLES - OF WHICH THERE ARE MANY - CAN HAVE A CRUCIAL INFLUENCE ON THE WELFARE OF TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS. HERE, WE DISCUSS THE ADVANTAGES OF A SHARED LEADERSHIP STYLE WITH LARRY SAVERY, WHO HAVING COMPLETED TRAINING IN ‘SERVANT LEADERSHIP’ IN THE USA IS NOW PRINCIPAL OF THE AMERICAN NATIONAL SCHOOL IN AL AIN.

Larry Savrery, is and experienced administrator with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. National Writing Project Workshop Leader with emphasis in training educational leaders. Skilled in Statistical Data Analysis, Program Evaluation, Team Building, Creative Writing, and Workshop Development. Strong education professional with a CAT 2 focused in DP Administrators from International Baccalaureate.

EDUAE: How did you get into education? Larry Savery: I started my working life as a freelance journalist. While working as a journalist, I got a call from my former athletics director about coaching a wrestling team at a high school. At that time I needed something stable, and I enjoyed coaching, so I said: “Tell you what, give me a full-time position at the school, and I will coach the wrestling team.” Once in the classroom, my coaching instincts took over, and I was hooked. After seven years of teaching, it was time for a new challenge. The management appreciated my work ethic and the ease in which I led my colleagues. So, they provided the challenge by sending me to compete in Leadership 2000, which proved to be the gateway that allowed me to finish my master’s degree in Educational Leadership. After I finished my degree, I felt I was ready to be a principal. Luckily, I was wrong, and wiser heads prevailed. Instead, I became a dean of students. And if you ask me now, from all my positions in education, this is the one I prefer, because there is a direct link to servant leadership.


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EDUAE: How does servant leadership work? LS: The ultimate aim is to help people to achieve their own individual goals. When you help those people achieve, you are helping yourself achieve your higher goal; student achievement. It is a different mindset that doesn’t focus on total control. One of my favourite stories was when President Kennedy visited NASA. He had a conversation with a custodian where the custodian said: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” This mindset that everyone is important, everyone is serving for the greater good, is essential when running an organisation through servant leadership. It starts down at the cleaners or custodians. You go in if something is not done right and instead of being the dominant boss you ask them: “How can I help you to do this better?” Maybe they need some equipment, so you provide it. Eventually, the students see a beautiful, clean school; a place where they would like to learn. Building trust in that custodian allows them to go that extra mile; they don’t want to disappoint you. EDUAE: Can you give an example of one of the other benefits of being a servant leader? LS: At one school I ended up learning about the complexities of a schedule because this particular school had to deal with eight different types of the population, so we had to make a schedule for eight different groups of learners. In the end, this complex problem was solved with the teachers and administration working together. I learned how to do it with the teachers. We created what we called pods; now, they are called bubbles. I could never have had a teacher buy-in if I had done this by myself. EDUAE: So it essential to share leadership responsibilities? LS: Most schools are organised very straight. You have a principal, a vice-principal and the teachers. For a school with 600 students like the school I am at now, I prefer to have a principal, vice-principal, dean of students, two head of sections (primary, secondary), coordinators and a head of the American curriculum. Each has a role to maximise serving the student, pleasing the parent and the teacher. You get different perspectives and experience. EDUAE: Do you think it is time for the UAE to offer a more servant leadership style in schools? LS: The UAE is a very young country. The fact that it is trying to find an educational identity is crucial. The UAE is not hanging on to one simple system, and that is not an easy job. What the country needs is an educational system that will serve everyone.

It is a different mindset that doesn’t focus on total control The trap, however, is that it is very easy, when something looks difficult, to go back to what you know. The UAE has an enormous ambition for education, and they have achieved so much already. But if it is not willing to fail, it will not try something new. That is essential for finding your identity. No great discoveries came without failure. EDUAE: What advice would you give to other schools looking at shared leadership? LS: I would open up very similarly to how I opened up the American National School. I told my teachers: “We are a new school, we are pioneering. I want you to try everything and anything, and I want you to fail gloriously.” For me, that has always been my ambition for them, because when you work from the top down, there is a level of control that it is very intimidating. Teachers need to have the space to do something without asking permission first. I want them to know that I'm the one with the big shoulders. I'm the one that's going to go ahead and take the fall, and I will support them.

Miknke Knol, the owner of Turnip Education, an educational consultancy focused on improving the quality of teaching, learning and leadership. She has worked over 20 years in Europe, supporting and improving schools, and achieves sustainable impact by involving all stakeholders in the transformation process.


30 Excellence in Schools

INHALING POSSIBILITY, EXHALING CREATIVITY


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THE GRADE 11 DP STUDENTS AT GREENFIELD INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HAVE BEEN WORKING EXCEPTIONALLY HARD DESPITE THE TIGHT RESTRICTIONS OF COVID-19. TOUGH MEASURES HAVE BEEN IMPOSED ON ALL OUR LIVES, BUT CRISIS CAN SOMETIMES LEAD TO INNOVATIVE AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING EXAMPLES OF CREATIVITY. AT GREENFIELD INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, NOTHING HAS TAMPERED THE ENTHUSIASM OR ORIGINALITY OF THE STUDENTS. IF EXAMINED CLOSELY, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE STUDENTS HAVE USED THEIR CREATIVITY AS A FORM OF CATHARSIS; PRODUCING INTRICATE WORKS WHICH DEMONSTRATES THEIR PASSION FOR THE VISUAL ARTS.

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he vibrancy and vivid colours of the rich tapestry of cultures that makes this IB school so special is evident in the wide-ranging artworks produced. The new restrictions have, in some ways, made the students more resilient, encouraging them to continue being creative in the classroom whilst developing positive and international perspectives. Throughout this period, they have worked with sustained effort to create works that reflect their own individual identities. Covid-19 has meant that the students have not been able to travel to their

home countries for quite some time. Wanderlust, discovery and staying connected to their native countries has found a creative outlet on the walls of the school's classrooms. Each student has created expressive works of art that, in some way, is connected to or is representative of different aspects of their own cultural heritage and identity. The pandemic has facilitated the opportunity for students to create personal work that explores and often challenges them to think of art and identity in a wider and more global context. The variety of works produced provides the community with a fascinating

glimpse into the globally diverse and creative heritage of the school. The broad range of art, covering everything from Photoshop to a variety of painting styles, is testament to the conscientious efforts of the students. For many students, creating art has been a therapeutic activity in the time of a global pandemic that has enhanced their wellbeing. These examples shown here, it is hoped, will engage onlookers and stimulate them to pose questions about the role of art and creativity in shaping and reacting to circumstances beyond our control.


32 Excellence in Schools

‘Extraordinary Me’ Lands in the Middle East NICKELODEON’S ’EXTRAORDINARY ME’ CAMPAIGN IN THE UAE HAS SEEN A LIVE-ACTION INTERSTITIAL SERIES HIGHLIGHTING KIDS WHO ARE INSPIRED BY WHAT THEY LOVE DOING AND WHAT THEY DO EXTRAORDINARILY SUCCESSFULLY.

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ine-year-old Lamia, an Emirati rhythmic gymnast, and DJ Michelle, a professional female DJ, are included as the two talents coming from the UAE with inspiring life stories. The show went live on Nickelodeon at the end of November. The series is also available on the Nickelodeon website (http://en.nickelodeonarabia.com), the Nickelodeon YouTube channel, and me.nickelodeon.tv.

With the objective to support and promote young talent, the Nickelodeon international campaign sheds a light on youngsters’ extraordinary passions, as well as their determination to pursue their goals. The series will kick-off with a twominute video of the local girls, where they introduce themselves while addressing the audience and inviting them for a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the shoot and set. The campaign will feature eight children from all over the world, each with their own unique story, which be told by the voice of the protagonists, the kids, in their own language. The video´s voice over will inspire non-English speaking children to feel authentic to a local audience.


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The series will kick-off with a two-minute video of the local girls

The campaign will feature eight children from all over the world LAMIA @lamia_lilwonderofuae The only Emirati rhythmic gymnast, and the youngest athlete in the history of the UAE, Lamia, who studies at The international School of Choueifat Dubai, started rhythmic gymnastics training at the age of five and won her first medal six months later at the First International Junior Championship in Dubai. Lamia has participated in six international camps and master classes with Olympic champions in rhythmic gymnastics. She won the ‘Achievement of the Year’ award at the Dubai Youth Olympics School in 2018.

DJ MICHELLE @iamdjmichelle The youngest professional female DJ in the world, Michelle, a student at Online American Curriculum School iCademy Middle East, grew up watching her father’s spinning skills and listening to music. As a result, she developed an innate fascination with music. She is the youngest Brand Ambassador for Numark and Mackie – professional DJ and sound equipment brands. Recently, she also started to produce beats and is now working on her first single, in addition to her first book. Through the campaign, Nickelodeon is providing a platform to extremely gifted children who wish to inspire young viewers and lead them to build something beautiful with their own passions. Whether it’s playing an instrument, excelling at a sport, helping the environment, or inventing the next big thing, this series will focus on everyday kids doing extraordinary things.


34 Excellence in Schools

One of Britain’s Oldest Independent Schools to Open in Dubai in 2021 ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS INDEPENDENT BRITISH CURRICULUM SCHOOLS IN THE UK, THE ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL GUILDFORD (RGS GUILDFORD), HAS ANNOUNCED IT IS BRINGING ITS 500-YEAR HERITAGE AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE TO DUBAI AND OPENING ITS NEW CAMPUS IN SEPTEMBER 2021.


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stablished in 1509, RGS Guildford is renowned for its track record of academic excellence and innovative approach to teaching that prepares young people for life, whilst retaining its historic roots. By combining a foundation of heritage with a forward-thinking approach to teaching and learning, RGS Guildford is consistently ranked as one of the top schools in the UK at both A Level and GCSE. Each year, all of RGS Guildford’s pupils routinely secure places on the most competitive courses at leading world universities, with some 325 graduates over the last 10 years attending Oxford or Cambridge Universities. RGS Guildford’s alumni have gone on to have incredibly successful careers in all areas from business to sports, the creative arts and politics.

 Craig Lamshed, Founding Principal, RGS Guildford

I cannot wait to welcome pupils and parents through RGS Guildford Dubai doors in 2021 to what will be a fantastic school and an amazing educational experience for our community

RGS Guildford Dubai will provide a co-education for boys and girls aged three to 18 and will be led by Founding Principal Mr Craig Lamshed, who brings over 25 years of education and senior leadership experience to the UAE, including as a Principal in Dubai and also covering the British, UAE, International Baccalaureate, Australian and American curricula. Mr Lamshed has been a brand leader for Cambridge Schools in Dubai, a member of the Global Education Review and is accredited as a British Schools Overseas reviewer. Mr Lamshed said: “I cannot wait to welcome pupils and parents through RGS Guildford Dubai doors in 2021 to what will be a fantastic school and an amazing educational experience for our community.

We have a genuine interest in our pupil relationships as we believe this is what promotes happiness and wellbeing in school. RGS Guildford Dubai’s stellar curriculum is entwined with the school’s core values and will provide a platform for pupils to reach their full potential, irrespective of their passion.” The new school will be located within Majid Al Futtaim’s flagship Dubai community, Tilal Al Ghaf, adjacent to Hessa Street, between Dubai Motor City and Sports City. On completion, the school will sit on an impressive 40,000m2, and will be able to accommodate 2,100 pupils. The light and dynamic building will include a 25-metre competition standard swimming pool and stateof-the-art classrooms and labs that will support science, art, languages, music and more.

ADMISSIONS DETAILS FOR THE ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL GUILDFORD DUBAI WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON. IN THE MEANTIME, FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL, PLEASE CONTACT: enquiries@rgsgd.com.


36 Excellence in Schools

Supporting Gifted Learners through the Blended Model IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO ESTIMATE THE NUMBER OF GIFTED STUDENTS IN THE WORLD BECAUSE AN APPRAISAL IS DEPENDENT ON SEVERAL FACTORS AND OFTEN QUITE SUBJECTIVE, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR GIFTED CHILDREN (NAGC). IF IT WAS DIFFICULT IN A FACE-TO-FACE SETTING, IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY MORE DIFFICULT IN THE BLENDED MODEL. It is generally agreed that gifted students “perform at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience and environment in one or more domains” (NAGC, 2020). This is distinguished from ‘talented’ students who demonstrate a natural aptitude or skill in a given domain. So how can we support these gifted students in excelling in the online setting? Here are four easy steps to follow to ensure that their needs are not only met but that they are challenged and extended to reach their full potential.

Pick out the skills that you can target and build these into the challenge or project.

STEP 1

STEP 2

STEP 3

STEP 4

STEP 5

Do a brain dump of things your student is interested in Use these areas to guide your general theme or topic and build a project around it.

Appraise the student’s strengths Analyse the student’s data and triangulate information from assessments like CAT4, MAP, GL and internal assessment tools to isolate key strengths and abilities. Pick out the skills that you can target and build these into the challenge or project.

Set a real-life challenge In light of steps one and two, find or generate a project for the student to complete where they must utilise their key skills and extend them. For example, completing an application for a real-life job, competing in a chess competition or building a model aeroplane from a blueprint.

Empower the student Allow the student to work at his or her own pace and own level; let them feel more in control of the learning process. Provide self-directed and independent learning opportunities by creating a mentor/mentee type relationship between the teacher and student.

Celebrate On completion of the project, share it with peers, family and the wider school community, thereby valuing excellence and personal challenge.

Catherine O’Farrell, Group Head of Student Services for Bloom Education, has been consulting in the UAE for almost 10 years and is a regular conference speaker and media contributor. She has a Master’s Degree in systems and a Bachelor’s Degree in both education and psychology.

It is generally agreed that gifted students “perform at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience and environment in one or more domains



38 Excellence in Higher Education

AN MBA UNLIKE ANY OTHER FROM MANAGING A RESTAURANT OR HOTEL TO ORGANISING EVENTS AND CATERING, THERE ARE A VARIETY OF HOSPITALITY CAREERS ON OFFER IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS. AND AS A LEADING GLOBAL PLAYER IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, WITH OVER 100,000 HOTEL ROOMS AND BRANDS, DUBAI IS AN EXCELLENT LOCATION TO FOLLOW SUCH A VOCATION.

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o those people with a genuine interest in building a career in the hospitality industry, there can be no better starting point than The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM): an internationally recognised education provider that offers a broad portfolio of programmes in the fields of tourism and hospitality management. To be found opposite the iconic Burj Al Arab, EAHM is set in a pulsating neighbourhood where students have the opportunity to grow, learn and flourish in the first and only university in the Middle East to dedicate itself to hospitality. Moreover, its boutique-sized educational experience - small classrooms that give students an intimate space in which to obtain knowledge and expertise - is formally accredited by the UAE Ministry

of Education, Institute of Hospitality in the UK, and the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education (THE-ICE) in Australasia.

An MBA is becoming crucial for hospitality employees EAHM’s programmes include a threeyear Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in International Hospitality Management with Honours and a oneyear plus dissertation Master of Business Administration (MBA) in International Hospitality Management.

The MBA is unlike any other, allowing students to work and study concurrently if required. Furthermore, it has been benchmarked against 15 other internationally-recognised master’s-level courses and has been put together by over 60 global senior industry executives who have contributed to its structure and content. Or to put it another way, students learn from the best in the business. Students can engage in an array of different options, such as digital marketing, event operations and risk management, innovation leadership, law and ethics in the business world, special interest tourism, and cross-cultural selling and marketing. As the world has adapted to the ‘new normal’, there is a growth in demand for hospitality. As a result, those starting an MBA now will graduate at a time


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management, including practical skills and an internship. MBA students can study full-time or part-time, with classes run in the evenings. The quality of our education is reflected in a 97% employment rate among recent graduates. Our learning environment is personalised, industry-leading faculty are highly qualified, and our facilities are first class. There is no better place to gain a worldclass hospitality education." An MBA is becoming essential for hospitality employees to acquire executivelevel positions within the industry, with many businesses looking for individuals with commercial acumen, critical thinking and networking skills – skills that with EAHM are developed from day one.

EAHM graduates have recorded a 97% employment rate, with successful applications in over 100 companies across 40-plus countries when the industry will be enjoying a renaissance. In particular, it will be looking for highly qualified, well-informed and skilled managers to deliver hospitality services in a fresh and exciting new way. With the skills and network EAHM’s MBA provides, students will be equipped to show the way in a new age of hospitality. A World-Class Hospitality Education The master's degree equips students with a competitive advantage in management, teamwork and strategic thinking, complemented by extremely employable skills that are valuable across a range of senior positions. With hands-on experience in some of the world's most renowned and sought-after brands, EAHM graduates have recorded a 97% employment rate, with successful applications in more than 100 companies across 40-plus countries. There are many reasons for this level of success, not least that EAHM has a veteran team of faculty members that are internationally acclaimed by organisations such as the World Tourism Organisation and the United Nations as experts in the field. In addition, they possess wideranging industry experience and pass on expert knowledge armed with PhD qualifications. What really sets EAHM apart from its competitors is its partnership with

One of the top 10 hospitality schools globally the Jumeirah Group, which gives students direct management experience at the iconic Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah. This gives them an in-depth insight into the operations of worldfamous brands, in fields such as human resources, food and beverage, marketing and more. Dr Michael Newnham, Associate Dean at EAHM, sums up the experience for students, explaining: "One of the top 10 hospitality schools globally, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, aims to provide a strong foundation in International Hospitality Management to start or accelerate your career. Bachelor students are immersed in three years of intensive study spanning all aspects of hospitality."

CONTACT Christine Mathias christine.mathias@eahm.ae MARKETING & ENROLLMENT The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management VISIT US AT +971 (0) 55 500 9958  www.emiratesacademy.edu


40 Excellence in Higher Education

CAPITAL COLLEGE JOINS THE PRESTIGIOUS EAUC The college is committed to supporting the 'shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path' movement Furthermore, the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda emphasises the development of better education systems by transforming teaching methods. In line with this, Capital College strives to introduce effective teaching techniques into business and vocational programmes that will uplift the quality of education and make students aware of the importance of sustainable development.

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apital College has become the UAE's first college to be associated with the prestigious EAUC - The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education - as a prominent signatory member. The college is now part of over 200 globallyrenowned institutions that intend to lead and empower the post-16 education sector and create further awareness amongst its students. The college aims to incorporate sustainability into the student curriculum and activities, making them responsible leaders of tomorrow. With Capital College's dynamic team of educators and staff, the membership of the EUAC will expand the footprint of sustainable living in the UAE. Some of the ways Capital College will contribute to sustainable development include inviting guest speakers from industry to talk to students, organising interactive learning sessions on sustainability, arranging clean-ups, and including students in charitable causes. In line with the UAE's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and EAUC membership, Capital College will be contributing to quality education and various sustainable reforms that will empower the country as a knowledgebased economy.

ď„… Dr Sanjay Batheja, Co-Founder & Director, Capital College

The college is now part of over 200 globally-renowned institutions ď„… Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, Co-Founder & Director, Capital College

The college is committed to supporting the 'shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path' movements Commenting on the latest association, Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, CoFounder and Director, Capital College, states: "The education market in the UAE is ever-evolving. The UAE education sector is set to grow by 378th units between 2020 and 2024. With such significant growth and Capital College being a leading higher education provider with an array of entrepreneurship and vocational programmes since 1998, we believe that we have a certain responsibility of shaping students - both individually and professionally. Hence, our association with EAUC will give us an eminent platform and the required resources to effectively channelize students into a sustainable stream." Along with this, Capital College is also the first higher education institution in the Northern Emirates to become a signatory member of Principles Responsible for Management Education (PRME), a UN-driven initiative supporting sustainability. The college is part of a select 800 signatory members around the globe.


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HERIOT-WATT INKS AGREEMENT WITH TAALEEM EDUCATION Heriot-Watt University, one of Dubai's top universities, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Taaleem Education, the leading provider of private K-12 English language education in the UAE. The agreement is targeted at creating mutually beneficial educational opportunities for staff and students in the next three years.

HERMAN MILLER AND AUD ANNOUNCE THE TOP THREE OF THE ‘RESILIENT - STUDENT DESIGN CHALLENGE 2020’ Following the launch of the Resilient Challenge, a collaboration with AUD Interior Design Department, Herman Miller is delighted to announce the top three of the competition. The challenge focused on the investigation and design of an efficient and flexible furniture system station for designers, architects and students in design and architecture, suitable for home-based use, office-based use or academia-based use. The competition offered students the chance to leverage Herman Miller’s extensive knowledge in the area of learning spaces and reflects existing and new research. Undergraduate Interior Design students from American University in Dubai, Manipal University, DIDI, Ajman University, Heriot Watt, Zayed University, Amity University, Al Ghurair University and American University of Sharjah were invited to take part in the four-week-long challenge.

Over 50 entries were submitted with the judges eventually shortlisting 12 designs, showcased on Herman Miller social media platforms and the universities’ platforms. From the 12 finalists, the top three have been offered an internship with leading architecture and design practices in the region. They are: Tanseera Muhammed from Manipal University who designed Boomerang, Abdallah Alawadi from AUD designed The Peggable, and Niria Alcuriza from Heriot Watt designed Trible. Gensler chose Tanseera as its intern, while Roar chose Abdallah and Woods Bagot have chosen Niria. Chris Morley, Head of Design at Herman Miller and one of the judges, commented: “There was a wide variety of submissions; every single one had its merits. Once we had a top 12, the three we selected rose above the others. These three showed clear thinking, simple execution and creative flair.”

 Prof Amma Kaka (R), Provost and Vice Principal of HWUD with Alan D Williamson (L), CEO of Taaleem Education

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai said, “It gives me great pleasure to sign this MoU with Taaleem Education. Given the current global challenges, more than ever before, there is a pressing need for students and working professionals to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and mindset to enable them to be successful in a competitive and changing marketplace. I am glad that we are able to provide opportunities to make that happen.” Recent reports state that the UAE education market is expected to grow from $4.4 billion in 2017 to $7.1 billion by 2023. Additionally, the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Education 2020 strategy is designed to bring significant qualitative improvement in the education system, especially in the way teachers teach and students learn. Partnerships such as these will go a long way in supporting this vision.

TANSEERA MUHAMMED Manipal University

ABDALLAH ALAWADI AUD

NIRIA ALCURIZA Heriot Watt


42 42 Know It All

MUSIC BASED ON MELODY AND RHYTHM THERE IS A GREAT TRADITION OF CULTIVATING THE ARTS IN ARABIC CULTURE, PARTICULARLY MUSIC, WITH ITS COMPLEX RHYTHMIC AND MELODIC MODES. TRADITIONAL ARABIC MUSIC ENGAGES THE EMOTIONS OF THE MIDDLE EAST WITH THE SAME INTENSITY THAT THE GREAT SYMPHONIES AND STRING QUARTETS ENGAGE WESTERN MUSICIANS AND AUDIENCES. AND WHILE AT FIRST IT MAY SEEM OVERWHELMING TO THOSE NEW TO IT, ITS SPONTANEOUS NATURE COMES FROM A SENSE OF INCLUSION AND ENJOYMENT.

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t is, of course, impossible to talk about a single Arabic culture. It isn’t easy to characterise because it covers a wide range of lands, periods and genres. And of course, the traditional music of the Middle East has been influenced by all of these different cultures. But what do ‘first-timers’ need to know to really start to appreciate this unique art form?

First of all, much Arabic music is based on scales or modes, and is characterised by an emphasis on melody and rhythm, as opposed to harmony as in the Western world. Furthermore, while there are some polyphonic genres of Arabic music, typically it is homophonic - one sound or line of melody that is played by multiple instruments at the same time.


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The four main fundamentals of Arabic music can be defined as Scales, Intervals, Rhythm, and Texture. Scales Arabic music is played in scales called maqamat, which translates as ‘places’. It’s a term that comes from the singer’s place on the stage when singing for the ruler. Yet it is more than a scale: it has prefixed main notes, register, and the different motifs are emphasised. Sometimes, a particular tempo or metre is required too, as a result of the choice of maqamat. Intervals In Arabic music, sound intervals are quarter-tones, as opposed to Western music, where a semitone is the smallest interval. This differentiation is why those not used to the music often think that the musicians are playing ‘off-key’.

Rhythm Rhythm is highly developed in Arabic music, with some percussionists, for instance, combining different rhythms at the same time, creating variety and an impressive level of refinement. Texture Whereas Western music favours the development of harmony, Arabic music focuses on homophonic, playing of the same tune by all of the instruments, while ornamenting the original melody from time to time, independently. Art, Pop, Rock and Jazz Unlike the folk image that some people outside of the region have of Middle Eastern music, many works can be termed pure art music. Composers such as Abdel Wahab and Farid El Atrache have written pieces that are classics in their field: art music in every way, performed by large orchestras.

Popular music in the region derives from traditional music, using the same scales and rhythms of art music Popular music in the region derives from traditional music, using the same scales and rhythms of art music. Nowadays, though, many ensembles incorporate electronic instruments, such as synthesisers and keyboards, which can be tuned for performing in quarter-tones and traditional Middle Eastern rhythms. Within this sphere, there has been an increase in the popularity of Arabic R&B, reggae and hip-hop, which often features a rapper such as Ishtar in her song ‘Habibi Sawah’. However, some artists have taken to using full R&B and reggae beats, an approach that has enjoyed a mixed response. There are also a growing number of Arabic rock bands that fuse hard rock with traditional Arabic instruments, with bands such as Meen, Dabke and Jadal gaining a lot of media attention. East meets West in Arabic Jazz, with early influences beginning with the use of saxophones by musicians like Samir Suroor

in the ‘local’ style. The first mainstream jazz elements were incorporated into Arabic music by the Rahbani brothers; Lebanese composers, musicians, songwriters, authors and playwrights who are best known for their work with Lebanese singer Fairuz. They also launched the careers of artists who first worked as backup singers for Fairuz or acted in their musicals; many of them became major forces in the Arab music industry. Yes, Arabic music is diverse, and those new to it may find it challenging to begin with. But repeated listening really does pay huge dividends. And once you’re hooked, you may consider visiting the leading music festival of the Arab world, which takes place every August (Covid-19 permitting) in the ancient city of Jaresh in Jordan, where it is possible to hear the greatest Arab musicians live on stage. If you get the chance, it’s an event not to be missed!


44 Know It All

DYSLEXIA

E

IC

K HE

R

C

L

H VID TC

EO

WA

and Rewiring the Brain

JACOB, A YOUNG YEAR 7 STUDENT IN MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, HAS RECENTLY BEEN IN THE NEWS FOR PROCLAIMING: “DYSLEXIA MAKES ME THINK DIFFERENTLY. EINSTEIN HAD IT; A LOAD OF FAMOUS PEOPLE HAD IT. SO NOW I THINK ABOUT IT, I’M OKAY WITH IT. NOW, TO ME, DYSLEXIA IS A SUPERPOWER!” NEUROPHYSIOLOGIST TIM CONWAY AGREES, BUT GOES FURTHER, BELIEVING THAT THE SUPERPOWER OF DYSLEXIA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CONDITION ITSELF, BUT INSTEAD HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE SUPERPOWER OF THE BRAIN.


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he brain is not, of course, pre-wired for reading, spelling and writing, just as it isn’t pre-wired for walking and dancing. However, it is pre-wired for learning, and Conway believes that with the correct learning experiences, both at home and in school, the brain can construct more robust ‘wiring’ and stronger skills, even for those children struggling with dyslexia. There has been considerable research, published in peer-reviewed journals, to back this hypothesis up; clearly illustrating that even a severely dyslexic child can make a significant improvement in phonological awareness and reading skills. This research shows that we can prevent more than 90% of students from reading below grade level. But only if appropriate instruction in developmental language is given (not phonics programmes) as the first teaching a child’s brain

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receives for language development and then reading lessons. At the very outset, it is important to understand that the number one predictor of being able to read well is not a reading skill. It is the speech perception skill of being able to recognise and manipulate the sounds within a spoken word (phonological awareness). Despite this, though, the majority of schools start reading instruction with phonics programmes which, while a crucial skill, are not the predictor of successful reading skills. Indeed, in every language in the world, we learn to talk first, then read and spell, and lastly build up the ability to compose essays. So, Conway, argues, if schools continue to ‘build the house of reading skills from the second storey up’, while mistakenly assuming that all young people have an equally strong ‘foundation of speech perception/ phonological awareness skills’, we will continue to have one in every five children with mild, moderate or acute dyslexia.

50-85% of people in prison are functionally illiterate. 50%

89% of teenagers who commit suicide have spelling mistakes in their suicide note.

85%

89%

We can prevent more than 90% of students from reading below grade level if proper instruction in developmental language is given. 90%

Simos et al., in 2001, showed that if children with dyslexia had access to rigorous and scientifically verified interventions, their readings skills could develop to within the ‘average’ range. Once this level is reached, children no longer meet the criteria for dyslexia. And research shows that even the most severely dyslexic child can make an enormous improvement in phonological awareness and reading skills. Moreover, it is essential to point out that the brain activity of those children who received an evidence-based intervention was indistinguishable to the brain activity of conventional readers who had well developed phonological awareness. Further research and evidence-based intervention must continue to be carried out; for the fact is that the inability to correct this difficulty is causing far more problems than most people perhaps realise. Today, as a society, we tend to concentrate on the positives of everything, and while it’s nice to be positive, it can also brush problems under the carpet.

Nowadays, we hear that Jennifer Aniston (pictured), Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn and Billy Bob Thornton have dyslexia – all ‘celebrities’ in the public eye. What we hear less about is that several studies testify that 89% of teenagers who commit suicide have spelling mistakes in their suicide notes that are similar to those children with dyslexia. Other studies report that 50-85% of people in prison are functionally illiterate. But the solutions are out there. Provide the human brain with well-researched and highly effective learning experiences, and it can rewire itself and build new skills. Ultimately, therefore, dyslexia’s real superpower is not that all dyslexics become billionaire entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson. It is that they have access to the world’s finest and most complex computer to help with their condition – it’s called the human brain.


46 Know It All

IQ and

Intelligence INTELLIGENCE IS JUST A BROAD TERM, WHEREAS IQ (INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT) IS USED TO DESCRIBE THE CALCULATED VALUE OF A PERSON’S MIND. BUT WHAT DOES ‘INTELLIGENCE’ ACTUALLY MEAN IN TODAY’S WORLD? NIRANJAN GIDWANI, AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT DIRECTOR AND FORMER CEO OF THE EROS GROUP, TAKES A LOOK AT VARIOUS TYPES OF INTELLIGENCE, AND HOW THEY WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT IN THE YEARS AHEAD.

T With a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune, India, Niranjan Gidwani is known for his ability to build regional groups .

he real story behind IQ is narrated very well in Harvard Professor Howard Gardener’s path-breaking work called ‘Multiple Intelligences’. In 1900, Paris was seeing a huge influx of people from the villages. These people were migrating along with their children. In 1899, France had made it mandatory that all children between the ages of six and 14 be made to attend school. Because of the influx, the government needed a way to assess the intelligence of the children so that the more intelligent kids got priority. Alfred Binet was a psychologist who had devised a method which is now famously known as the IQ test. However, Howard Gardener, through his book Multiple Intelligences, explained that there are eight other forms of intelligence. These are literary, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, spatial, naturalistic and spiritual. It is essential to understand how each one works. Because in varying degrees, we are gifted with all the nine intelligences to deliver better results.

Literary intelligence is about the capability to read and write well. Between a manager who can do the maths well, and another who also reads and writes well, the latter is likely to succeed much more. In a world where we have to network with different teams and nationalities, the capacity to be a better leader is determined by how well we express ourselves through languages, reading and writing. Music is about harmony. Studies indicate that children who play an instrument learn to ‘listen’ much better and grow up to be better empathetic professionals. Not everyone is endowed with the intelligence to play music, but anyone can cultivate the capability to build appreciation, and it has several benefits. Great sportspersons have what is called kinesthetic intelligence. In certain kinds of sports, we do not have time to think. In fact, it is said if you think, you are dead. Consider sports such as boxing, fencing, etc. People who play such sports can take critical decisions involving the body and the mind on-the-fly where each move is a


47

There is what Gardener calls existential intelligence, or for lack of a better word, spiritual intelligence

new move, and sometimes life depends on it. How is a firefighter or a trauma surgeon’s job any different? How much time do we think they have to process information and take action? Increasingly, professions of the future will need leaders with greater kinesthetic capability. We have all come across many people who can converse better, can make friends quickly, and solve problems collaboratively. This category of people has high interpersonal intelligence. They work better as a part of a group. This is hugely important for those who want to lead. Sometimes we need to follow, but at all the times we have to collaborate effectively. Given a position of power and authority, why do some managers behave in a despotic manner, and others in a firm but humane way? Those who are more self-aware have a realistic understanding of who they are and what their true needs are. They are emotionally stable and can deal better with the ups and downs in life and business. These people

have a higher degree of what Gardener calls intra-personal intelligence. This is extremely important in professionals whose decisions impact a large number of other people. Spatial intelligence means the ability to navigate. In today’s world, in a profession like sales, you realise that some salespeople can map and chart a client organisation much better than others. Some people can land in a new town, and in a matter of time, map it really well. These are known as spatially more intelligent people. In the early days, every tribe had someone who was better at recognising animal calls and knew one animal from the other by looking at hoof or pug marks. That individual was very important for the safety of the hunters and the success of any mission. When farming became the dominant activity, this person was the one who knew one herb from another, could tell which mushroom to eat and which to avoid. Such people were gifted with naturalistic intelligence. As we all become more environmentally aware and sensitive

to our planet, naturalistic intelligence (i.e. the ability to relate to the natural world) will be in demand across all professions. Finally, there is what Gardener calls existential intelligence, or for lack of a better word, spiritual intelligence. Most of us appreciate the presence of a higher power. Some people can connect easily with the presence of such a power. As a result, research has proven that they can better deflect anxiety, can better deal with loss, and can better balance decisions with yardsticks of morality and self-governance. Such professionals, who internally know what is right, and more importantly, can stand up and do the right thing, again and again, will increasingly become more relevant in the world of business. Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardener is a book worth being picked up and read by all potential leaders of the future.


48 Know It All

HOW COVID-19 PRESENTS A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY TO OVERHAUL THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM ALL AROUND THE GLOBE, CHILDREN ARE STUCK IN EDUCATION SYSTEMS THAT BARELY DIFFER FROM THOSE OF THEIR PARENTS AND EVEN THEIR GRANDPARENTS. THIS IS MIND-BOGGLING CONSIDERING THE PACE OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE - STUDENTS ARE ULTIMATELY BEING PREPARED FOR A WORLD THAT DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE.

I CHRISTOPHER POMMERENING, the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer at Learnlife, is an entrepreneur and learning visionary. His journey has seen him evolve from an internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist into a high impact entrepreneur on a mission to change education positively worldwide.

t must be said, however, that Covid-19 has ironically presented us with a unique opportunity to overhaul the current education system and its outdated practices.

awareness, have no agency, and where there is an over-reliance on exam pressures and standardised testing, would be one of the biggest blunders of the 21st century.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted education systems everywhere. We have now seen that simple synchronous online schooling does not work. Children, parents and teachers are burning out, and a wellbeing pandemic is closing in. In many regions, the only solution to going back to school is to simply separate desks by two meters and divide the schoolyard with painted lines.

Standardisation is creating the biggest dead-end for our future generations. In the next decade, most everything that can be standardised will be automated by machines. What will be the purpose for a standardised humanity? Now is the time to embrace learning innovation and unleash a new lifelong learning paradigm for everyone. What we need is a new learning paradigm that is learner-centred and focuses on purpose-inspired and personal learning. Selfdetermined learning will substitute standardised instructional education. In order to understand the future and navigate a changing environment, it is important for individuals to understand themselves.

How can we expect the next generation to adapt to a rapidly changing world if the very systems in place to help them grow and learn are not able to adapt and respond to these changes? To simply ‘return to normality’ post-Covid-19, to a context where learners do not build self-


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 Intrapersonal space Such awareness provides a healthy basis for growing the ability to relate effectively with others  Interpersonal space We all need to navigate this changing society.  Societal context As we look at how humanity protects the earth’s ecosystems

Now is the time to embrace learning innovation and unleash a new lifelong learning paradigm for everyone

 Global perspectives Added to this, we live in a digital world  Digital space Which profoundly shapes people’s lives. This is an opportunity to revamp our learning environments and design in a way that learning can truly flourish. Any school could use this unique moment in time and set-up modular learning studios in their outdoor spaces to relieve class sizes and include creative and digital empowered pop-up learning hubs to experience the future of learning. More than ever, we have to develop our most human qualities - creativity, adaptability, original thinking, and collaboration will all be key concepts in learning communities, as well as in the workplace.

Standardisation is creating the biggest dead-end for our future generations


50 50 Our World

YOUR CLOTHES TELL A STORY In recent years, sustainability has become a buzzword and is starting, thankfully, to turn heads. Just as consumers today are taking a closer look at the food they consume and the chemicals they put into their bodies, they are also shifting their purchasing decisions to create a cleaner and safer environment through the clothes they wear.

What we wear can have a lot to say about who we are. It’s a powerful experience when we wear clothes that tell a story or make a statement, so let’s ensure it is an inspiring one that is not only good for us, but good for our community, and our planet, which is our home. With this in mind, home-grown school uniform brand Kapes is leading the way, offering schools, parents and children ethically made and sustainable school uniforms, free from harmful chemicals and produced in certified working conditions. Made in their entirety from quality sustainable materials, including GOTs certified organic cotton, recycled polyester, regenerated nylon, and recycled ocean plastics, Kapes is serious about its narrative as a brand and empowering the next generation to tell its sustainable story each time they put on their school uniform. It’s a sustainable story every child should be proud to tell, and one that is not only better for their health, but will save the planet we live on.

Ethically made and sustainable school uniforms, free from harmful chemicals and produced in certified working conditions

Not only good for us, but good for our community and our planet

Matthew Benjamin, Founder & CEO, Kapes Determined, hopeful, mindful. Matthew Benjamin is the British founder of Kapes, a homegrown sustainable school uniform brand. Having spent the last three years building and running sustainable bespoke menswear tailor, Benjamin Siggers, his desire to have a positive impact on a larger scale grew. Learning all Benjamin could about the impact that manufacturing clothing has on the earth, Benjamin decided to take his learnings into developing sustainable school uniforms. “Uniform suppliers have a responsibility to focus on sustainability and transparency, but schools must vote for the change they want to see with their wallets”.


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Schools are in a unique position to shape the minds of younger generations when it comes to sustainability

INSIGHTS FROM THE SUSTAINABLE SCHOOLS VIRTUAL SUMMIT During December, educational institutions and the community will have free access to The Sustainable Schools Virtual Summit, where speakers, including Matthew Benjamin, the founder of homegrown, sustainable school uniforms brand, Kapes, offer their expertise on how schools can create or enhance sustainability in schools. The mission of the summit is to bring together headteachers, teachers, school business managers, directors of education, inventors, professors and specialists in sustainability to leverage their expertise, experiences, concepts, ideas and innovations to transition schools into sustainable practices. Representing Kapes, Matthew Benjamin shared his insight on how schools could reduce their environmental impact by switching to sustainable school uniforms, the need for climate crisis awareness to empower children to be more connected to the things they wear and buy as well as the need to mould a generation of conscious consumers who will be able to reduce the current global environmental damage caused by the generations before them. Benjamin commented: “Schools are in a unique position to shape the minds of younger generations when it comes to sustainability. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world and school uniforms contribute to this, but if we can use uniforms to educate kids so that they are more connected to the things that they wear, where and how they are made, and the impacts of this, then they will be more conscious consumers as they grow older and can help fight the climate crisis.�

Nineteen speakers will discuss a variety of topics, including why climate change education is more important than ever for vulnerable people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, where to look for Greentech solutions, how schools worked to produce five sustainability and climate change leadership teams, as well as highlighting the role of UNCC and the need for climate action.


52 52 Parent Corner

PLAYING WITH DOLLS HELPS TO DEVELOP EMPATHY AND SOCIAL PROCESSING SKILLS BARBIE®, AND A TEAM OF NEUROSCIENTISTS FROM CARDIFF UNIVERSITY, HAVE ANNOUNCED FINDINGS OF A NEW STUDY CONDUCTED USING NEUROSCIENCE FOR THE FIRST TIME TO EXPLORE THE POSITIVE IMPACT DOLL PLAY HAS ON CHILDREN, BRINGING TO LIGHT NEW EVIDENCE THAT DOLL PLAY ACTIVATES BRAIN REGIONS THAT ALLOW CHILDREN TO DEVELOP EMPATHY AND SOCIAL INFORMATION PROCESSING SKILLS, EVEN WHEN PLAYING BY THEMSELVES.

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ver the past 18 months, senior lecturer Dr Sarah Gerson and colleagues at Cardiff University’s Centre for Human Developmental Science have used neuroimaging technology to provide the first indications of the benefits of doll play at a brain level. Through monitoring the brain activity of 33 children between the ages of four and eight, as they played with a range of Barbie dolls, the team found that the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), a region of the brain associated with social information processing such as empathy, was activated even when the child was playing on their own. These benefits of solo doll play were shown to be equal for both boys and girls. Dr Gerson explains: “This is a completely new finding. We use this area of the brain when we think about other people, especially when we think about another person’s thoughts or feelings. Dolls encourage them to create their own little imaginary worlds, as opposed to say, problem-solving or building games. They encourage children to think about other people and how they might interact with each other. The fact that we saw the pSTS to be active in our study shows that playing

with dolls is helping them rehearse some of the social skills they will need in later life. Because this brain region has been shown to play a similar role in supporting empathy and social processing across six continents, these findings are likely to be country agnostic”. Dr Upasana Gala, UAE’s renowned neuroscientist, founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training adds: “Developing a sense of empathy is an essential life skill for young children as it helps them not only in their childhood years but also in their adult life. It helps them build better and stronger relationships with others, making them better learners and leaders. Raising empathetic children creates a better future for everyone. And this is especially important in today’s day and age where this is a growing need for social connection.” To gather the data for the study, the children’s play was split into different sections so the Cardiff team could capture the brain activity relating to each kind of play separately: playing with the dolls on their own; playing with the dolls together with another person (the research assistant); playing with the tablet game on their own and playing with the tablet game along with another person (the research assistant). The dolls used included a diverse range of Barbie dolls and play sets with all Barbie dolls and sets returned to starting positions before each child began their test to ensure consistency of experience. Tablet play was carried out using games that allow children to engage with open and creative play (rather than a rule or goal-based games) to provide a similar play experience to doll play. The findings of the study show that when children played alone with dolls, they showed the same levels

Understanding that kids can help develop these skills through playing with dolls like Barbie is remarkable and a helpful tool for parents

of activation of the pSTS as they do when playing with others. Another finding of the study is that when children were left to play tablet games on their own, there was far less activation of the pSTS, even though the games involved a considerable creative element. To understand the relevancy of these neuroscience findings, Barbie independently commissioned a global survey that asked more than 15,000 parents of children in 22 countries. Results of this showed 91% of parents ranked empathy as a key social skill they would like their child to develop, but only 26% were aware that doll play could help their child develop


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Barbie independently commissioned a global survey in 22 different countries questioning 15,000 parents

these skills. During this time at home, parents are increasingly worried about ensuring their child is developing social development skills, with more than two-thirds (70%) saying they are concerned about how this isolation might affect their child and how their child interacts with others. Similarly, 74% of parents are more likely to encourage their child to play with a toy if they knew it was proven to help their child develop social and emotional skills, like empathy. “As leaders in the dolls category, we’ve always known that doll play has a positive impact on kids, but up until now, we have not had neuroscientific data that demonstrates these benefits,” says Lisa McKnight, SVP and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel. “The findings of this research highlights that playing with dolls, such as Barbie, offers positive benefits in preparing children for the future through nurturing

social skills like empathy. As we continue to inspire the limitless potential in every child, we are proud to offer dolls that encourage skills we know are highly valued by parents and are determinants in children’s future emotional, academic, and social success.” Barbie will be supporting these findings with an online hub, http://benefitsofplay.mattel.com/ static/BenefitsOfDollPlay-en-gb.html featuring resources for parents, caregivers, and children, to assist them in enhancing and applying their social processing skills. These resources have been developed alongside leading empathy expert, writer, and educational psychologist, Dr Michele Borba. Michele Borba says: “The latest scientific findings from Cardiff University and Barbie are extraordinary and so relevant to the times we are living, given the limited social interaction our children can have. It’s

been shown that children who have developed empathy and social skills early in life can have better grades, stay in school longer and make healthier choices overall. Empathetic children might also be more likely to stand up for a child being bullied and try to engage and resolve the conflict. Understanding that kids can help develop these skills through playing with dolls like Barbie is remarkable and a helpful tool for parents.” The results of the study are published today in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience as ‘Exploring the Benefits of Doll Play through Neuroscience’. Recognising that this study is a first step towards understanding the positive impact of doll play with further research required to build on these initial findings, Dr. Sarah Gerson and the Cardiff University team along with Mattel, have committed to further neuroscience studies in 2021.


54 Parent Corner

LOST IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD by Piet Jansen, Yes We Can Youth Clinics YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A WIZARD TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE COMPLETELY CHANGED OUR WAY OF LIVING IN THE 21ST CENTURY. ALTHOUGH THE TERM SOCIAL IMPLIES PLATFORMS CONNECT PEOPLE AS ORIGINALLY INTENDED, NOWADAYS MANY OF THESE DIGITAL HANGOUTS ARE ABUSED BY TROLLS TO DISORGANISE, MISINFORM AND GROOM (ADVERTISERS KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU THAN YOU DO ABOUT YOURSELF). IT IS ALSO CLEAR THAT MANY LIFESTYLE PICTURES ARE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE AND, AS MY MOTHER ALWAYS SAID, IF SOMETHING IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT CERTAINLY IS. KIDS ARE CONSTANTLY PRESENTED WITH A WORLD THAT CANNOT EXIST IN REALITY.


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56 Parent Corner

Parents feel exhausted, drained, at the end of their wits - no wonder the kids do too

Piet Jansen is as the Director of International Relations, a valued member of Yes We Can Youth Clinics, a specialist treatment centre in the Netherlands that treats over 800 youngsters a year, age 13-25, suffering from a wide array of (complex) mental health issues.

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id you know that on the entire planet, almost one in two humans older than 13 have a Facebook account (2.7 billion users)? Did you know gaming revenues ($137.9 billion in 2018) are almost three times that of the film industry ($50 billion in 2018)? In 2020, approximately 62% (4.8 billion) of the entire world population have internet access, with the US (90.3%) and Europe (87.2%) having the highest percentages of connection. If you realise that one in six people (1.3 billion) is aged between 10 and 19 and that one in three suffers from a mental health issue, you have more than 400 million youngsters at risk. You do the math and decide for yourself if compulsive

social media and console use is at a pandemic level, destroying the lives of families all over the world. At Yes We Can Youth Clinics, we notice that compulsive gaming and screen addiction almost always stem from untreated mental health issues. It just creeps into the lives of young people, and in the end, it can destroy them. It is not the time online that counts, but the reason why they game or compulsively need to check their phone. Their actions are either driven by a strong desire to belong or by a self-inflicted conviction they never will. Young people misbehave, rebel and throw in the occasional tantrum. It’s all part of naturally transitioning into adulthood, as challenging parental control is the most normal thing to do. But what if temperament turns into aggression or destruction?


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It starts to become a real problem when this kind of behaviour lasts for several months. When being cheeky, aggressive, disobedient, and rulebreaking behaviour becomes the norm. When rebellion turns into manipulation, lying, stealing, cheating or violence. When upholding structure and discipline no longer works. When school/work/ social activities suffer and risk-taking behaviour gets out of control. Or depressive lethargy sets in, totally cutting oneself off from the outside world. Seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist is probably the most sensible thing to do. But what if that ship has sailed and a more intensive approach is needed? And how do you motivate a rebellious child?

Did you know gaming revenues are almost three times that of the film industry

Perhaps you recognise this kind of behaviour in your students. So how do you act when you see children and families have become powerless over their problems, and professional help is needed? Asking for help is difficult, for some even impossible, the ultimate form of humiliation. There are feelings of failure, as a human being and in life. Feelings of fear: to lose a child, but also for other children to be affected if you don’t act, and to witness a marriage disintegrate, if it hasn’t already. Feelings of shame, to themselves, their friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Feelings of despair. This was not the life they envisaged. Parents feel exhausted, drained, at the end of their wits - no wonder the kids do too. The rollercoaster of emotions is quite understandable, logical even, and if you are an educator you are only able to exercise indirect influence. Your main purpose is therefore not only to signal serious problems at an early stage, but to create a network in which children feel confident to confide in you. It is your challenge to align the entire system. How to bring this message of concern to parents? Perhaps one exaggerates, and the other downplays the situation. Specialist family counsellors can help to manage this much-needed alignment. They will hear you out with patience and explain how to best address families in which problems are not easily discussed. They can help you uncover all sorts of unhealthy mechanisms which parents may believe are right, but in actual fact only make things worse. They can also help in how to best approach the child. In the end, your goal is to align the system in which help is accepted and ready to happen!

Almost one in two humans older than 13 have a Facebook account (2.7 billion users)

Contact www.yeswecanclinics.com +31 (0)85 02 01 222 Social media YesWeCanYouthClinics YesWeCanYouth yeswecanyouthclinics Yes We Can Youth Clinics


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HOW LAW CHANGES WILL AFFECT EXPAT PARENTS Changes to the UAE penal and civil codes, ushering in a broadening of personal freedoms and equal protections, will invariably have an effect on expat families, with the laws on inheritance being a prime example.

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istorically, in some cases, if an expat died without a Will, the deceased person’s assets would be divided as per Sharia law. This would involve some compulsory rules of division of the estate between certain members of the family, which may not always be in alignment with the wishes of the deceased or the family. However, the new changes stipulate that, if someone has not made a Will at the time of death, the inheritance is to be dealt with according to the law of their country of nationality. There is one exception to this, though, and that pertains to UAE real estate, which will continue to be subject to UAE laws unless the Will has been registered in the UAE. It is also essential to understand that Sharia law will still apply to Muslim expats living and working in the UAE. The new amendments to the Federal Laws on inheritance will only apply to non-Muslim expats. There is also likely to be a change to the law as regards

custody of children following a divorce. Until now, non-Muslim expats who divorce in the UAE have either Sharia law or the law of their home country applied (a choice is given), and where the two parents are of different nationalities, the law of the husband’s nationality applies. UAE law would be put into operation for any aspects that remained unaddressed. Although not confirmed as yet, it is expected that there will be a change in relation to children and custody in certain instances. Sharia law is less likely to apply, as the divorce will proceed as per the law of the country where the marriage took place, regardless of the individual’s nationality or religion. There are other ways in which the new changes will impact expats, covering everything from cohabitation through to alcohol consumption. All of these many changes are intended to enhance the well-being of all UAE residents. Expat parents will undoubtedly benefit from these developments.

The new changes stipulate that, if someone has not made a Will, the inheritance is to be dealt with according to the law of their country of nationality

All of these many changes are intended to enhance the well-being of all UAE residents


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THE RESCUER PROTECTION LAW WILL BOOST SURVIVAL RATES The Good Samaritan Law ensures that anyone assisting an injured person, and is therefore acting in a morally responsible manner, is not legally liable for any harm or death that befalls that person. In France and the Canadian province of Quebec, for instance, it is a legal requirement for people to help someone they know is injured. Similarly, in Germany, a person should provide help if it is required, and he or she is immune from prosecution if the assistance turns out to be harmful. The consensus throughout the world is that it is always best to help someone who is injured. Having said that, in the litigious society we live in, a lot of people are scared to help for fear of prosecution. This situation is slowly evolving though, driven by considerable evidence in the scientific literature that states that early passerby intervention significantly improves survival rates in many emergencies, including cardiac arrest and road traffic accidents. A form of the Good Samaritan Law - The Rescuer Protection Law – is currently being finalised in the UAE, and will be the first of its kind in the GCC. It will provide legal immunity for those individuals that administer first aid in a rescue situation when they acted in good faith and without remuneration. At present, countless people throughout the country prefer not to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) because they worry they could be held responsible if those they help die.

There are even stories about people choosing not to help someone who is choking as they do not want to face the possibility of legal action. Hopefully, this way of thinking will change with The Rescuer Protection Law, with the draft stating that a passer-by will be protected if they assist someone who is in danger until emergency medical services arrive. Nevertheless, providing assistance remains optional, and it will not be a punishable offence not to step in.

Early bystander intervention dramatically improves survival rates in many emergency situations Cardiac arrest survival rates in the UAE are relatively low, ranging between 4-13% outside of a hospital, meaning that only around one in 10 people survive. With the introduction of the new law, though, is anticipated that six people out of 10 will survive if CPR is started immediately. This simple change, in tandem with more people learning first aid, will improve survival rates throughout the UAE.


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WHEN THE FIRST RESPONDER

IS... YOU!

Attending a Paediatric First Aid course is essential for anyone who works or lives with children; you never know when an emergency may happen and when you will need to use first aid skills to remedy a potentially life-threatening situation. But where do you go to receive high quality training? One excellent option is Safe Hands UAE, which offers a four to six hour programme that offers an internationally recognised qualification in infant, child and adult CPR, AED and Paediatric First Aid, including emergency response.

Magda Amarasingham Head of Safe Hands +971 58 504 0711 +971 4 567 4542 Safehands www.safehandsuae.com


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Safe Hands UAE is a provider of MEDIC First Aid programmes, which are internationally recognised and approved by governing bodies such as DHA (Dubai Health Authority) and DCAS (Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services). Furthermore, all Safe Hands UAE instructors are not only Level 3 MEDIC First Aid Instructors, but are also registered nurses. THE COURSE IS AVAILABLE IN TWO SET-UPS: Set-up One The course is split into three parts. Part One and Two are both 90 minutes long and are carried out via Zoom via Zoom, whilst Part Three, the practical aspect, is a one hour long face-to-face session. Set-up Two The full course is completed face-to-face in a single day, available on both weekdays and weekends, 9.00am to 3.00pm. Covid-19 safety precautions and full sanitisation procedures are upheld throughout the duration of the course. Whichever route is taken the cost is AED 450 per person, including VAT. If there is a group six or more, Safe Hands UAE is happy to schedule a private session. First Aid courses for teenagers are being run when school finishes this year too, with a six hour session (10.00am to 4.00pm) being held on Tuesday 15 December.

THE COURSE CONTENTS ARE COMPREHENSIVE, TAKING IN:  First Aid Provider  Recognising an Emergency and Deciding to Help  Personal Safety  Legal Considerations  Emergency Medical Services (EMS)  Respiratory and Circulatory Systems  Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Early Defibrillation  Pain, Severe Pressure or Discomfort in the Chest  Chest Compressions  Rescue Breaths  Unresponsive and Breathing Recovery Position  Unresponsive and Not Breathing - CPR  Choking  Control of Bleeding  Managing Shock  Head, Neck, or Back Injury  Swollen, Painful, or Deformed Limb  Burns

 Nosebleeds  Injured Tooth  Warning Signs of Sudden Illness  Altered Mental Status  Stroke  Diabetic Emergencies  Seizure  Breathing Difficulty, Shortness of Breath  Asthma  Severe Allergic Reaction  Poisoning  Bites and Stings  Heat Exhaustion  Heat Stroke  Emergency Moves First aid is an important tool in quickly responding to accidents to ensure that injuries can be efficiently and promptly dealt with before a trained medical professional arrives to administer more specialised treatment. Your hands can save lives.


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Tis the Season to be Safe

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he winter holiday is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. Whereas, in years gone by hundreds of thousands of ex-pats would be travelling to spend the festive season with friends and family in places as diverse as Cape Town, London, Boston, Sydney, Paris and Rome, 2020 will find them staying at home in the UAE. There’s no need to get your tinsel in a tangle though! Hotels, restaurants, resorts and event organisers throughout the country are determined to save the day, creating special celebrations that allow people to come together is a fun and safe environment. There’s no doubt that this year’s festive season won’t be what we’re used to, with social distancing and numerous questions marks in the weeks ahead dictating that smaller family gatherings will most likely have to take centre stage. But those family gatherings do not necessarily have to be at home. And when it comes to Santa, don’t worry; he has immunity from Covid-19. We don’t know precisely how the festive season will pan out. What we do know is that if you are in the UAE, there will be lots to do and plenty of celebrations ... and you can definitely expect a face mask and hand sanitiser under the tree.


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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Grand Christmas Your unforgettable Christmas begins here, with the festive season well and truly upon us, what else can we do but celebrate! This year we invite your family and friends to enjoy the very best in cuisine, beverages, and accommodation, offering remarkable settings, the warmest of welcomes, exquisite service, and mouth-watering festive menus like no other. On behalf of the entire team at Grand Hyatt Dubai, we wish you a wonderful holiday season ahead! Christmas at Panini

A Grand Christmas Market

3rd December 2020 – 7th January 2021

10th – 26th December

Believe in the magic of Christmas, as we kick off the festive spirit at our Italian deli and café, Panini. Guests can feel the holiday cheer and the glowing festive decorations, take in the aroma of freshly made gingerbread and choose from a large selection of themed retail items including homemade Loisonpanettone, chocolate Santa Claus’s and assorted Drei Meister Chocolates. Round up all the kids and stop by Santa’s grotto, as we get into the merry spirit!

Don’t miss this exciting Festive Pop-Up Market, in our luscious gardens. It’s free entry, outdoors, and there will be plenty f entertainment and children’s activities. Families and friends, and loved ones, will be able to come together and take in the festive spirit at our Grand winter wonderland. To add to the winter cheer, a variety of kiosks and food stalls will serve warming food and drink and, there’ll even be an appearance of Santa himself.

 8.00am – 11.30pm

 3.00pm – 10.00pm every Thursday, Friday & Saturday


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A Christmas Eve Special at Andiamo 24th December If entertaining in your home is not your cup of tea, impress your friends and family by celebrating Christmas the Italian way. With the finest ingredients at hand, our team of chefs have prepared a set menu with traditional favourites such as Spaghetti Garengnamo with Italian clams, beef tortellini in chicken broth and fresh truffles, and a fresh catch from the sea; the Joh Dory Carpaccio. With a cosy, yet lit ambience, Andiamo offers an unrivalled backdrop for your Christmas Eve celebration.  7.00pm - 11.30pm

Christmas Day Brunch at The Collective by Market Café

 AED250 per person with soft beverages

25th December

 AED350 per person with house beverages

You’ve heard of Christmas lunch, well, now meet Christmas Brunch! Indulge in a lavish festive spread of international dishes as you celebrate the festive season with friends and family.

TRADITIONAL FESTIVE ROASTS TO GO

 1.30pm - 4.00pm  AED249 per person with soft beverages

20th November 2020 – 7th January 2021

 AED349 per person with house beverages

Christmas dining at home couldn’t be any easier this year! Our chefs are pulling out all the stops so that you and your loved ones can take away all the stress from being in the kitchen.

Xmas Garden Christmas Day Brunch

Served with all the trimmings, choose from a juicy Roast turkey or a mouth-watering Black Angus Rib Eye (or why not both, it’s Christmas after all). Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance of the pick-up date.

25th December Round up your family and friends, and give you usual Christmas Day brunch an upgrade! And, trust us when we say, there’s no better setting to feel magical Christmas joy, than at a Christmas market! What to expect? Scrumptious food, jolly portions, Christmas melodies, mistletoe, a fireplace, and a surprise visit from Santa himself! You’re bound to get in the festive spirit from the moment you walk in – so be prepared for the selfie spree that lies ahead!  12.30pm - 4.00pm  AED249 per person with soft beverages  AED375 per person with house beverages

For Bookings +971 4 317 2221

reservations@grandhyattdubai@hyatt.com

Grand Hyatt Dubai Oud Metha Road, Dubai Healthcare City Riyadh Street, Dubai www.hyatt.com


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Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection Brings Good Tidings and Celebrations to All, This Festive Season It’s once again that time of year, when we all gather together for an evening of cheer. Around the decorated tree with sparkling lights for a season of merriment and festive delights. Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection invites all near and far to join us in celebrating the festive season with the following entertaining packages.

CHRISTMAS EVE

CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH

24 December 2020

25 December 2020

It’s that special time of year to party with goodwill and cheer!

Treat your family and friends to a magical Christmas wonderland this festive season and celebrate your traditional Christmas day brunch with live cooking stations from our signature restaurants – Luciano’s, Olival, The Underground Pub and Al Dhiyafa offering countless dishes from all around the world as well as entertainment for the little ones. There will be a special appearance from Santa Claus and our talented Christmas Choir along with live entertainment, kids activities and games and other traditional festive favourites.

Luciano’s Restaurant Delight in traditional Italian fair combined with your traditional festive favourites. Our famous Master Couco will treat you to a succulent tender turkey and the traditional Christmas dinner trimmings.

Olivial Dine in an alfresco festive Mediterranean taverna with a delicious Christmas BBQ menu and specialised signature festive cocktails

 1:00pm – 4:00pm  AED325 per person with fresh juices and soft beverages

 7:00pm – 11:30pm

 AED425 per person with festive cocktails and selected house beverages

 AED199 per person with soft beverages

 AED625 per person with unlimited Champagne

 AED299 per person with house beverage

Complimentary for children below 10 years’ old


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BOXING DAY 26 December 2020 Looking for somewhere to spend an afternoon of fun and frolics on Boxing Day? We have the perfect setting for you. Join us at The Underground Pub to feast on a succulent Christmas roast while watching a game of football with friends and loved ones. A typical Boxing Day like the ones enjoyed back home.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

NEW YEAR BRUNCH

31 December 2020

1 January 2021

Enter into 2021 with an extraordinary night filled with glitz and glamour, culinary explosions and great entertainment to reminisce for years to come. This year promises a magnificent evening of music and live entertainment, an assortment of marvellous acts and our local DJ playing you the sickest beats.

Step into 2021 with a relaxing family Brunch at Olival Restaurant. Enjoy tasty dishes from around the world paired with an assortment of your traditional house beverage favourites.

An extravagant buffet offering culinary delights from our signature restaurants, live food stations and a beverage menu that will sparkle your way into the New Year.

 1:00pm – 4:00pm  AED220 per person with fresh juices and soft beverages  AED320 per person with Festive cocktails and selected house beverages

 8:00pm – 2:00am

 AED520 per person with unlimited Champagne

 AED750 per person with selected house beverages

Complimentary for children below 10 years’ old

 12:00pm – 5:00pm

 AED375 per child (6 to 12 years old)

 AED195 per person inclusive of a roast dinner set menu with a bucket of 3 hops

*Early Bird 25% discount for reservations booked and paid before 20 December 2020

ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS EVENING 7 January 2021 Celebrate the Festive tides with an array of classical festive menus and delicious carvings that Luciano’s and Olival Restaurants have to offer.

A CHRISTMAS EMPORIUM 6 December 2020 – 8 January 2021 Brining Christmas to the heart of your home, we offer delicious turkey takeaway boxes with assorted festive condiments delivered to your doorstep with a 48hour notice period. Visit our Christmas Emporium and fill your home with festive goodies this season.

 6:30pm – 10:30pm  AED199 inclusive of Soft Beverages  AED299 with selected beverages and Festive Cocktails  AED499 with premium beverages and Champagne  AED100 Kids (6 to 12 years old)

Acacia Café  9:00 am - 6:00 pm

For Bookings +971 4 408 4257 +971 50 651 1630

rhgrs.fbreservation@habtoorhospitality.com

Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection Al Falea Street, Jumeirah Beach, Dubai www.marriott.com/dxbh


68 The Lounge | Festive

Make it a December to Remember at The Meydan Hotel


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Gather your family to celebrate Christmas and a New Year in one of the world’s most iconic destinations. Discover a host of fun-filled activities bringing the festive splendour while soaking up the captivating views of the Meydan racecourse. So brighten your holiday and step into a festive wonderland with a family-friendly season of fantastically festive food and entertainment. Indulge in flavours from across the world, masterfully created, while dedicated kids’ play areas with plenty games, gifts and Santa himself will keep the little ones busy and enthralled. From our ‘Turkey Takeaways’ with all the trimmings you love to Christmas tree lighting ceremony and festive family brunches, immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit and wave goodbye to 2020 in truly Meydan fashion. Let us take care of everything so you can enjoy these precious moments with your loved ones!

FARRIERS RESTAURANT Pre-Christmas Evening Brunch

Christmas Festive Day Brunch

17 December 2020

25 December 2020

Outdoor Buffet & live cooking stations with female DJ

Buffet with saxophonist and singer, children’s entertainment and Santa visit

 7:00pm - 10:00pm

 1:00pm - 4:00pm

 AED149 inclusive of soft beverages

 AED375 inclusive of soft beverages

 AED249 inclusive of house beverages

 AED525 inclusive of house beverages

 AED349 inclusive of free flowing sparkling wine

 AED625 inclusive of house beverages and free flowing sparkling wine  AED825 inclusive of house beverages and free flowing champagne

Pre-Christmas Day Brunch

*Enjoy 20% savings on all reservations paid before 20th December.

18 December 2020 Buffet with saxophonist and children entertainment

New Years Day Brunch

 1:00pm - 4:00pm

1 January 2021

 AED249 inclusive of soft beverages

Buffet with saxophonist and kids’ play area - Start your year right with a flavorsome lunch of mouthwatering culinary delights, great music and festive cheer in the air for unforgettable memories.

 AED399 inclusive of house beverages  AED499 inclusive of free flowing sparkling wine

Christmas Eve Festive Dinner Brunch 24 December 2020 Buffet with DJ and saxophonist  7:00pm - 10:00pm  AED199 inclusive of soft beverages  AED299 inclusive of house beverages

 1:00pm - 4:00pm  AED249 inclusive of Gala Lunch Buffet, a welcome glass of bubbly and freeflowing soft beverages  AED399 inclusive of Gala Lunch Buffet, a welcome glass of bubbly and freeflowing house beverages  AED499 inclusive of Gala Lunch Buffet, a welcome glass of bubbly and freeflowing sparkling beverages *Enjoy 20% savings on all reservations paid before 27th December 2020.

 AED399 inclusive of free flowing sparkling wine

Children from 0 - 5 dine with our compliment and from 6 to 12 years old receive 50%. Full price applies for children above 12 years old.

For Bookings

The Meydan Hotel

+971 4 381 3111

Meydan Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai

+971 56 525 4040

www.marriott.com/dxbh

Restaurant.ReservationsTMH@meydanhotels.com


70 The Lounge | Festive

Classic Christmas Movies We might be ho-ho-home for the holidays this year, but that doesn’t mean we have to while away the hours completely devoid of holiday tidings of comfort, joy, family drama, explosions, meaningful life lessons, and the good old-fashioned cackles that comes with seasonal viewings of Christmas movies favourites. Snuggle up on the couch covered in a comfy blanket, sip on a hot mug of chocolate, and enjoy some Christmas movie time. Here’s our pick of some festive humdingers to check out - for possibly the millionth time! On Netflix

On Netflix

On Netflix

The Christmas Chronicles 2

Klaus

Arthur Christmas

Back by popular demand, Kurt Russell is back as Santa. This time, Kate Pierce, now a cynical teenager, is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Claus when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas, forever. Not if Kurt Russell has anything to say about it.

For some presents, it’s up to the postman to get the delivery done, especially when it delivers joy to a cold, dark town. In this Academy Award nominee animated movie, a selfish postman teams up with a toymaker to bring happiness to a town.

Imagine having Mr Claus as your dad? Just a day in the life of Arthur Christmas, who has been tasked with an ultra-secret and super-important Christmas mission. Beats a day working at the super-secret toy-making facility.

On Netflix

On Netflix

On Netflix

Let It Snow

Elf

The Polar Express

At this point, we’re sure the guys over in Hollywood are running out of Christmas song lyrics to title their movies, but this Netflix movie at least has a solid reason. When a snowstorm hits a small town, and a bunch of teenagers get stuck in it, new friendships are made, and even a little festive romance is thrown in for good measure.

One of the most famous and best-loved Christmas films of all time, we love Elf. “Buddy The Elf, what’s your favourite colour?” still rings in our brains even after the first time we watched Will Ferrell’s silly and hilarious Elf. Most of us may have seen him travel to New York to find his real dad, but that doesn’t stop us watching it every year.

Don’t believe in Christmas like the poor boy in this animated epic? Hop on board the magical Polar Express straight to the North Pole and your views will change. Also, Tom Hanks voices nearly everyone in this festive adventure – try and guess who.


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On Netflix

How The Grinch Stole Christmas And we can’t forget Jim Carrey’s take on the green scrooge. The 2000 version will always be a favourite Christmas film in our books. On OSN

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Based on Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, this follow-up story sees young Clara transported to a fantasy world of gingerbread soldiers and mice armies after she loses a magical key. There she encounters the regents who preside over the land’s three realms who encourage Clara and a soldier called Phillip to brave the ominous Fourth Realm to retrieve Clara’s key and return harmony to the unstable world. The stunning sets and beautiful costumes make this a modern-day Christmas film classic that all the family will love. On OSN

On OSN

On OSN

The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Christmas Project

Shelby: The Dog Who Saved Christmas

In 1843 London, author Charles Dickens finds himself in financial trouble after writing three unsuccessful novels in a row. Desperate for a hit, Dickens relies on real-life inspiration and his vivid imagination to bring Ebeneezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters to life in A Christmas Carol, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration known today.

It’s the classic tween story about a bully who sees the error of his ways – eventually – with a festive twist. A sibling quartet of boys, with another baby on the way, try to show the bully that it pays to be nice, and instead of playing him at his own game (tricks and pranks and general nastiness), they do it through a series of kind gestures that ultimately turn the bad guy good.

Animal films are always going to tug on the heartstrings, and this cute tale about an abandoned dog and the friendship he strikes up with an isolated tween does just that. Throw in a little comedy courtesy of Chevy Chase, who plays the tween boy’s grandpa, and you have a magical Christmas film with a very happy ending. It’s the power of paws, gets us every time.


72 The Lounge | Festive

Jolly Holly-days to You and Yours! Let’s make this a December to remember in a year we all want to forget! It’s the most magical time of the year, and we’ve got you covered, from visiting Santa at Souk Madinat Jumeirah through to Beauty and the Beast on board the QE2. And who could forget The Nutcracker, a festive treat for the whole family that has a special place in the hearts of ballet fans the world over. So get into the festive spirit and make these holiday celebrations truly unforgettable!

ESCAPE TO THE NORTH POLE THIS FESTIVE SEASON AT LA MER

SNOW CINEMA BY VOX CINEMAS THE WORLD’S FIRST CINEMA IN AN INDOOR SKI RESORT

VISIT SANTA AT SOUK MADINAT JUMEIRAH

 December 10 to 26

 Open now

 December 10 to 26

With Santa back in town, bring the little ones along for a magical meeting with Santa at festive forest maze, watch your favourite festive flicks under the stars. And spend a minimum of AED200 to stand a chance to win gift cards valued at a total of AED100,000 there’s plenty of reason to cheers and join the festive fun at La Mer this year!

Guests can experience the magic of movies on the snow-laden slopes of the ‘World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort’. Unique and innovative experience at Ski Dubai launches just in time for the holiday season. Snow Cinema by VOX Cinemas, which is proudly supported by Dettol, allows guests to experience the magic of movies on the snow-laden slopes of Ski Dubai. Surrounded by snow-covered scenery in an enchanting Winter Wonderland, guests can snuggle up and relax on lounge-style seating while watching family-friendly movies and festive favourites such as The Grinch, Frozen 2 and Daddy’s Home 2. There will also be a nightly screening of popular recent releases including The Witches, Knives Out and The Call of the Wild. It’s snow time!

For some festive family time, round up the family and head to Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Santa will be making an appearance at the Grotto, which will be manned by Santa’s elves between 4pm and 7pm each day. The Souk’s central courtyard is also being transformed into Santa’s workshop, with daily activities such as painting, string art, DIY snow globe jars and decoupage, from noon to 10pm daily.

La Mer Central, Jumeirah 1, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until Christmas Day @ https://www. lamerdubai.ae/en/whats-on/festive-season

Snow Cinema by Vox, Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. To make a booking visit skidxb.com or voxcinemas. com

Souk Madinat Jumeirah, daily noon to 10pm (Santa’s Grotto open 4pm to 7pm). @soukmadinatjumeirah


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LEGOLAND DUBAI IS RE-OPEN

CATCH A WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PLAY AT THE JUNCTION

THE NUTCRACKER AT THE THEATRE AT MALL OF THE EMIRATES

 Open now

 Wednesday, December 11 to 19

 Wednesday, December 23

Have you been missing your thrill and spills at the brick-tacular, Dubai Parks & Resorts theme park? After months of being closed, LEGOLAND Dubai is finally re-opening its doors to thrill-seekers and adrenaline-junkies. Little ones will be able to take a selfie with the UAE Hand Salute LEGO Model, made from an impressive 108,231 bricks before heading off to Miniland to check out a teeny tiny cityscape featuring Dubai’s iconic skyline and key landmarks from around the Middle East – all make out of over 20million LEGO bricks!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (one of the playwright’s most beloved and widely performed plays) is being performed at The Junction in Alserkal Avenue by H72 Productions. The musical adaptation uses popular music and dance to bridge the gap for modern audiences. The drama will unfold on stage during the weekends from December 11 to 19. Read more here.

Okay, so this isn’t a live performance, but it is a special screening of The Nutcracker recorded live at The Royal Opera House in 2016. The Royal Ballet’s glorious production of The Nutcracker, created by Peter Wright in 1984 is an all-time ballet favourite. Without giving much away, the story follows Clara who is given an enchanted Nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. As midnight strikes, she creeps downstairs to find a magical adventure awaiting her and her Nutcracker. Prices for tickets start from Dhs75. Buy them here.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, Dhs100 per ticket. Tel: (0)4 338 8525. @junctiondubai

The Theatre at Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Dec 23, prices start from Dhs75. Tel:(0)4 299 2282. @malloftheemirates

Dubai Parks & Resorts, Dubai, www.legoland.ae Tel: +971 4 820 3123

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL DUBAI FESTIVAL CITY

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ON BOARD THE QE2

CIRQUE DE GLACE

 December 16 to 27

 December 16 to 27

 December 24 to 26

Not even the pandemic can cancel the annual h2 family panto that’s been going on now for 14 years. This year, h2 Productions is presenting Jack and The Beanstalk. You know the story! Being chased for the rent by the evil henchman, Dame Trott sends Jack to market to sell the family’s one prized possession – Daisy the Cow and he comes home with nothing but a handful of beans (magical, of course!). The beans sprout to a beanstalk which leads to an enchanted land of excitement and adventure. In order to save the family home and become rich, Jack must capture the goose that lays the golden egg and rescue his friends from a very hungry giant. Tickets start from Dhs125 and sold in bubbles of 2, 3 or 4 people. Purchase them here.

A tale perfect for the whole family. It follows young bookworm, Belle whose father is taken prisoner by a monstrous beast, who was once a handsome prince but cursed by a mysterious enchantress as punishment for his selfish actions. To lift the punishment, the prince must learn to love someone and earn their love in return. With help from the Beast’s servants (also cursed to be household items), Beauty comes to appreciate and love the Beast. Plot twist. The beast isn’t the only one vying for Belle’s attention as an arrogant admirer will do anything to marry Belle – even if it means killing the beast. Ticket prices start from just Dhs120 per person and are sold in bubbles of two, three or four people.

If the creation of the world was shaped by fire and ice, then so it will be with Cirque de Glace, an Ice Show beyond imagination.

Jack and The Beanstalk, The InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Dubai, ticket prices start from Dhs125. @ dubaipanto

QE2, Port Mina Rashid, Dubai, from December 16 to 27 (excluding Christmas), ticket prices start from Dhs120. Tel:(600) 500400. theatrebyqe2.com

Cirque de Glace brings to life the story of the creation of our planet, man’s evolution and a journey to the limits of technology as a stunning ice spectacular. Combining the world of Cirque with beautiful ice dance, jawdropping lifts and high-speed throws, we create a truly breathtaking experience. Evolution is an action-packed performance filled with music, colour, stunning costumes and incredible acrobatics that will truly delight and amaze audiences of all ages. With our incredible Contortionist, Aerial Silks, German wheel, Russian Bar and much more, Cirque de Glace guarantees you will be on the edge of your seat. Dubai Opera www.dubaiopera.com/events/cirque-deglace/ or Phone 04 440 8888 boxoffice@dubaiopera. com


74 74 Myth or Truth

MYTH OR TRUTH:

SANTA CLAUS

Is Santa Claus real? Why do people keep asking that question! Even the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), which was set up to track Soviet ICBM missiles, and now monitors human-made objects in space, follow Santa when Christmas Day approaches. I’ve seen the radar images of him moving towards my house from the direction of the North Pole. Check it out yourself at www.noradsanta.org.


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Everyone knows that Santa’s reindeer were given the power of flight through eating magic acorns someone they are not – that’s statistically very improbable. It’s Santa; it stands to reason, not millions of parents in fancy dress! Anyway, we all know that adults don’t have time to make or get all those presents, let alone have enough money to buy them. Despite this, certain people still claim that Santa is a myth. Well, it’s time to clear this silly and outdated viewpoint up once and for all! Let’s look at a few of the objections people make, and then answer those objections with incontrovertible truth to the contrary.

relative to clocks in homes he has to visit. Silverberg goes on to say that the GPS on the dashboard of the sleigh is holographic, and displays optimal navigational maps, a nano-toymaker and the children’s gift lists. The sleigh also has two drink holders.

There is no such thing as an elf This is easily disproved by examining the screws that go into the battery compartments of certain children’s toys: only elves could have fingers small enough to use the tiny screwdrivers required. Ask any parent for confirmation of this fact. Reindeers can’t fly There are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, flying reindeer cannot be totally ruled out. But we don’t even need to rely on biology to sort this problem out: everyone knows that Santa’s reindeer were given the power of flight through eating magic acorns. Santa can’t possibly visit all of the good children in the world in a single night Larry Silverberg at North Carolina State University has considered this conundrum at length and suggests that Santa Claus exploits features of the theory of relativity, which was discovered at the North Pole by Sugarplum Mary over 200 years before Einstein came up with the idea. A clock in Santa’s moving sleigh, for instance, will tick more slowly

Santa’s sleigh just isn’t big enough to carry so many toys It doesn’t have to be. Nano-toymakers produce the countless toys atom by atom, from soot, sand, snow and other substances collected along the way – a little like 3D printing. Surely you’re not saying that Santa delivers every single present personally? Who do you think does it then? Parents! I can’t imagine all of the world’s parents staying up all night pretending they are

The theory of relativity was discovered at the North Pole by Sugarplum Mary over 200 years before Einstein

This is just a modern phenomenon Not so. On 21 September 1897, The New York Sun newspaper answered a question from a little girl, Virginia O’Hanlon, who said that some of her friends were claiming that there is no Santa Claus: ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.’ And it must be true if it was in The New York Sun! There’s just no proof for Santa As we’ve already seen, that’s an entirely false assumption. There’s evidence everywhere you look. What about Rudolph’s nose? This is a vital clue to the existence of Santa, and centres around friction heating, which is consistent with the demands of highspeed flight – hence the glowing nose. The Magic of the Season Any court of law anywhere in the world would uphold the existence of Santa Claus. There is just too much empirical evidence to do otherwise. He is the supreme gift-giver. It’s not possible to imagine a better gift-giver. And even if there were one, we would all have heard of him ... and we haven’t. So Santa is real. And if someone ever says to you that Santa isn’t real, ask them to prove it! They can’t! I hope this helps. Alabaster Snowball Administrator of the Naughty and Nice List


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BE COMPETITIVE, BE SAFE:

Guidelines for Winter Sports Programmes We know this is a hugely challenging time for the sport and physical activity sector as the world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, everything must be done to encourage people to stay active, despite current restrictions, and the holiday season is no exception. There are many programmes available to young people across the country, but there are also certain rules that need to be adhered to in these uncertain times. Regarding masks, for instance, children are to wear them on entry and exit, although children under six do not have to wear a mask. If the sports activity is high intensity, masks may be removed as long as a two-metre distance is maintained. Coaches must wear masks at all times. The correct coach to child ration will be upheld for all activities, such as 1:4 for football coaching or five-a-side games, 1:4 for tennis, and 1:8 for cricket. In addition, temperatures will be taken upon arrival and throughout the day, with children of over 37.5 being denied entry. Naturally, enhanced cleaning

 Coaches must wear masks at all times  Temperatures will be taken upon arrival and throughout the day  Children will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly and make use of hand sanitiser schedules are in place at all approved venues too, with all equipment being sanitised regularly. Children will also be encouraged to wash their hands regularly and make use of hand sanitiser, which is always available and clearly signposted. Indeed, there is signage in place throughout all venues to remind

everyone present of the various safety measures. Gareth Mordey, CEO of Infinite Sports said: “We know that this year more than ever, many families will be enjoying the winter holidays here in the UAE, and the holiday programmes are a great way to keep the kids active and engaged during the school break. We continue to follow all guidance and protocols in place by the Dubai Sports Council and the wider Dubai government. The safety of children in our programmes is of the utmost importance to us and we’re pleased to be running these sessions in both a fun and safeguarded environment. The team at Dubai Sports Council has been very helpful throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with clear guidance in place to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our community safe.” This holiday is a little different, but there is still a lot of fun to be had. It just requires following a few simple rules and using common sense, including remaining socially distanced at all times. Follow all of the government guidelines, and you can’t go wrong!


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Heading to the Top Through an

ELITE SPORTS PATHWAY

ï„… BarrelHouse Rugby, Ben and Karam

MANY YOUNG SPORTSMEN AND WOMEN DREAM OF TURNING PROFESSIONAL; MAYBE EVEN PLAYING FOR THEIR COUNTRY ONE DAY. IT TAKES A LOT OF WORK TO MAKE SUCH DREAMS COME TRUE, HOWEVER, AS WELL AS ACCESS TO FIVE-STAR FACILITIES AND THE FINEST COACHES. FOR WHEN YOU SEE ENGLAND RUGBY STAR LUKE COWAN-DICKIE FINISHING A DRIVING MAUL WITH ONLY 29 SECONDS OF NORMAL TIME LEFT, IT MAY SEEM LIKE HE HAS JUST SHOWN UP AND PRODUCED THE MAGIC, BUT, MAKE NO MISTAKE, IT IS THE PRODUCT OF COUNTLESS HOURS OF PRACTICE.


78 Sports

it. Barrelhouse Rugby Academy, for instance, has grown from having three sessions a week in the local park to having a three-tier programme in the academy that takes the child from grassroots to squad-based games. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work ‘It’s Just Football’ (IJF) is a UAE home-grown football academy with some of the region’s best UEFA A licensed coaches. It has a structured system in place to ensure that players enjoy success, balancing the various challenges in both their training and matches.  Lewis Burras with Hamilton Aquaitcs Director of Performacne, Ash Morris after claiming the Bronze medal at the European Championships this week 2

It is a different mindset that doesn’t focus on total control

T

he pathway to playing elite sports demands dedication, consistency and sacrifice. In the UAE this pathway is backed by some of the finest facilities and coaches, as Mike Wernham, Head of Secondary Sport at Jumeriah English Speaking School (JESS), Dubai, explains: “The UAE boasts many ex-international coaches across a number of sports; in my school alone, we have six international sportsmen and women, including three ex-professional rugby players – I often say we have the best PE department in the world!” This level of expertise has propelled the UAE into a breeding ground for sports talent over the last 10 years, with the demand for professionallevel coaching growing alongside

 Molly Mayne

 Martin Speight

The programmes begin with ‘Future Players’ for children aged three to seven years, with the emphasis on encouraging players to fall in love with the game and have fun. The team at It’s Just Football believes that it’s essential that the players can explore and engage with the game with minimal structure and intervention at an early stage. Players then progress into either the academy or squads programme for youngsters aged eight to 18 years. The objective of the programmes is to have players at similar stages of their development, training and competing together. Regardless of the programme that players are in, they are guaranteed a regular games programme. It’s Just Football’s Technical Director, Paul Collins said: “In terms of pathways for our players, through our vastly experienced staff, we have arranged many opportunities for them to be exposed to professional


79  Nick Davey

The UAE boasts many ex-international coaches across a number of sports

 Simon Mulholland


80 Sports

environments, whether that be games, training opportunities or trials. It’s extremely important to point out that although setting up trails for players at professional clubs is an option for players attending IJF, these opportunities will only be given to players deserving of that opportunity. The football landscape in Dubai is very different from that of the UK and the level of regular competition. That said, there are many talented players here in the UAE, not just at our academy, and we will continue to work and develop players to enjoy their football.” Olympic Glory If your child is interested in swimming, then you will have most likely heard of one of the UAE’s most wellestablished swimming academies, Hamilton Aquatics. Over the past 12 years, Hamilton Aquatics has achieved fantastic success at all levels, including an Olympic finalist. The team at Hamilton says it has been achieved by offering all ages and abilities a progressive squad structure that allows swimmers to develop continually to support their individual goals. Ash Morris, Director of Swimming at Hamilton Aquatics shared details of their Development and Performance pathway: “The journey of an Elite Squad swimmer (15+ years old) at Hamilton Aquatics begins at a young age (7-10 years old) in the Development Pathway. This is where the fundamental skills are put in place with each swimmer, to enable them to progress long term. Not only

Samuel Charnley, the International Director of Cricket at It’s Just Cricket, has extensive coaching experience and, passionate about cricket and the wider sports community in the UAE, is part of the leadership team at Infinite Sports UAE.

are they working on skills in the pool, the coaches are also educating and motivating swimmers to have key behaviours within our club values, that we hope will give them some of the key mental characteristics that will allow them to progress and succeed in the future.

Hamilton Aquatics has achieved fantastic success at all levels, including an Olympic finalist “If swimmers develop in the important areas and show positive signs of implementing both physical and mental skills on a daily basis, as well as a full training commitment, they will progress to our Performance Pathway which supports swimmers from 10 years old, all the way through to senior and university swimming. Our squad structure offers training opportunities in line with long-term athlete

Ash Morris has led the coaching team and squads programme at Hamilton Aquatics for the past 11 years. He has coached multiple junior international medal winners and, coaching the Elite Squad on a daily basis, works with swimmers to achieve their performance goals.

development that are progressive and will enable swimmers to improve each year. The Performance Pathway has a team of highly experienced coaches, assistant coaches and a fulltime strength and conditioning coach. This, along with world-class facilities and partners, gives swimmers every opportunity to achieve their goals.” Swimmers who have enjoyed particular success at Hamilton Aquatics include Molly Mayne, who has represented Ireland and won medals at the European Youth Olympics; Lewis Burras, who has represented Great Britain and has won medals at the European Juniors; and Velimir Stjepanovic, who has won double European Gold and made an Olympic Final for Serbia. The UAE or Oversea? There are success stories across all of the major sports in the UAE. One of the country’s leading swimming academies, for example, Hamilton Aquatics, has over the past 12 years achieved fantastic success at all levels, including an Olympic finalist. Meanwhile, in January 2020, three players from It’s Just Cricket were chosen to represent the Under-19 UAE national team at the Cricket World Cup in South Africa. One of those players was the talented Akasha Muhammed, who was part of the It’s Just Cricket Academy, progressing up through the ranks to represent the UAE. It’s not all plain sailing for budding sports stars in the UAE though. For while the country excels when it comes to facilities and coaches, there

Paul Collins, Technical Director at It’s Just Football, has over 19 years of experience. He has held a UEFA A license for the last 11 years, and has previously worked as the Lead Youth Development Phase Coach at Middlesbrough FC.


81

is a shortage of top-level competition and enough quality teams to provide a regular challenge, particularly in team sports. “There is a smaller group of players across all sports,” says Mike Wernham. “So, while JESS has done incredibly well, being the first international school to make a Rosslyn Park final – the world’s largest

Simon Mulholland, Director of Rugby, has an extensive playing and coaching CV in both New Zealand and the UK and Ireland, which includes roles within the Munster Academy and working with the NZ U20s at the Junior World Cup.

rugby competition – we do see players leaving for schools and academies overseas. Everything is geared up for success in the UAE, including great referees and medical facilities, but to take it to the next level we need more competition, a 12-week fixture list, and a bit of investment. But it will come.”

Martin Speight, Director of Cricket, played professionally for Sussex, Durham and Wellington, scoring over 9,000 First Class and 5,000 List A runs, as well as effecting over 300 dismissals. Since joining Sedbergh in 2010, Martin has coached teams that have won two National T20 titles.

Until that time, many of the really exceptional young players across many sports in the UAE, from cricket to rugby and netball to hockey, are choosing to move overseas to progress.

Nick Davey, Director of Hockey, is currently Lead Boys Coach at the England Hockey Fylde Performance Centre and a coach on the U17 Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) Programme. He has coached the U17 Penine Pumas in the 2020 Futures Cup.


82 Sports

One of the favoured destinations to do this is Sedbergh School in England, a well-established, co-educational, full boarding school in the heart of Cumbria, which is renowned for its sporting achievements and opportunities. In the last 10 years, over 30 students have represented their country. However, an Elite Sports Pathway is only a small strand of the overall offer at Sedbergh School, even though there are many examples year on year of pupils exiting the school and starting life as young professional sportsmen and women.

 Akasha Muhammed, It’s Just Cricket

Delivering Excellence Sedbergh Coaches are both inspiring and knowledgeable in their field and have a proven track record in several sports of producing professional sports stars. Team and individual sports sessions from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm daily, seven days a week, include strength and conditioning, with medical support just part of the normal weekly routine. Furthermore, an unrivalled fixture list ensures all athletes are challenged on a weekly basis, and this is one of the big differences between the UAE and the UK. Sedbergh travels the length and breadth of the country to ensure it is competing against the very best schools at every year group and in many sports. Nick Davey, Director of Hockey at Sedbergh School, when asked what the Elite Sports Pathway looks like, explained: “It is the development of the whole pupil. Understanding that the rigours placed on elite athletes

demand many different skills and abilities, all of which require development, in the gym, on the playing field and in the classroom. Mike Wernham, Head of Secondary Sport at Jumeriah English Speaking School (JESS), has been at JESS for 8 years. He has a Master’s in Education, is a World Rugby Level 3 qualified coach and is the former Director of Rugby at Dubai Hurricanes.

“The pupils are kept extremely busy. In the hockey programme, we try to educate pupils around nutrition, physiology, teamwork, video analysis and wellbeing. Pupils are heavily invested in their own development. They must be organised and selfmotivated. Early morning, lunch

and evening practices are a weekly addition to the school day. This approach has resulted in the school currently having pupils playing National League Hockey alongside their school commitments. We have excellent relationships with these clubs, ensuring that the players’ workloads are balanced and that their individual development goals are understood and met in both environments.”


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Simon Mulholland, Director of Rugby at Sedbergh, says: “As a school, we have outstanding connections to elite rugby programmes all over the world. We have strong longstanding relationships with Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks, which are in our player catchment region. Since 2013 alone we have produced over 35 players who have signed professional Premiership, Pro 12, and Top 14 contracts. Over 40 players have become schoolboy rugby internationals, and four players have been named in the full England and Wales international squads since 2018. One player was selected in Eddie Jones’ England squad to tour South Africa whilst just 18 years of age and still at school.” Director of Cricket at Sedbergh School, Martin Speight, adds: Cricket’s elite pathway runs through County age group teams funnelling into an Emerging Player’s Programme, with the best players then moving into the County Academy at under-18s. At Sedbergh, the cricket programme operates on a series of individual and group training sessions that run throughout the year, supported by an appropriate strength and conditioning programme and competition opportunities. Working in partnership with academy coaches at Yorkshire, Lancashire and Durham, using shared video analysis through platforms such as Hive, the elite players develop their technical and physical skills through hundreds of hours of training during the winter, largely at Sedbergh,

avoiding wasted hours on car journeys and enabling the player to use the time for their academic development.”

Sedbergh travels the length and breadth of the country to ensure it is competing against the very best schools at every year group and in many sports

 Velimir

Sedbergh School has relationships with academies in various sports across the country, allowing it to work with clubs in locations where the pupil can continue with their studies at university whilst training full time as a professional athlete. Reaching for Greatness Children’s participation in sports across the UAE has grown in huge numbers over the last few years. This has been felled by fantastic facilities and passionate PE teachers and coaches, dictating that young people across the country have ample opportunity to enjoy sport, both during school in PE lessons and after school through various sports academies. Both youngsters and parents are naturally delighted with this, with Matthew Rubin, whose son is in the Barrelhouse Rugby Under-9s squad, commenting: “As a rugby player, my whole life I always wanted my son to enjoy the game I love too. I had tried him at a few clubs before finding Barrelhouse. Coach Taylor and his team have relived my love for the game by watching the passion flow through my son. He started as an Under-6 player and now plays hooker for the Under-9 squad. I couldn’t be happier with his development and the level of coaching from the Barrelhouse team.” Nevertheless, if Rubin Junior continues in his progress and has the ability to take his game to the highest level, moving to a school overseas is a genuine option. Nevertheless, the UAE is continuing to grow and develop, including its position in competitive sports. So while the level of competition needs to improve in team events, in activities such as golf, swimming, shooting, tennis and equestrian sports, the UAE is already the perfect place to be based if you’ve got one eye on the Olympics. In fact, whatever your game, there’s never been a better time to play competitive sports than in the UAE in 2021!


84 Book Review

WHO ARE OUR HEROES?

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An inspiring and joyful read that provides reassurance and comfort in the strangest of times, ‘Who Are Our Heroes?’ encourages kids (young and old) to remember, and for some of us rediscover, a simple fact in our complicated world: heroes do not only wear capes and nurses uniforms, they can also be found working in grocery stores, driving trucks and teaching in schools.

A lovely book for all younger children about the Covid-19 pandemic  The author, Elian Melmed, a senior at the University of Chicago

T

he tender simplicity of Who Are Our Heroes? pairs Eliana Melmed’s text with Amy Tian’s charming images. A lovely book for all younger children about the Covid-19 pandemic, it provides a great way to start a discussion with your own youngsters or pupils. This book is a gentle reminder to say “thank you” to those individuals who give so much every day of the year, but even more so during this challenging time. Who Are Our Heroes? features those true role models who go above and beyond to support their communities. Eliana, a senior at the University of Chicago studying Public Policy with a minor in Media, Arts and Design, says that she hopes that her book inspires children and adults alike to spend a

little bit more time recognising and thanking their heroes. Eliana dedicates the book ‘to the heroes around us, who each deserve to be recognised as being just that’. This is a lovely book with attractive artwork and of course a very important message. We need more books like this. And to all of the youngsters out there, remember, it’s not only the doctors, cashiers, postal workers, garbage collectors, truck drivers, cleaners and food delivery people who are heroes – you are a hero for staying indoors! In short, a heart-warming, fabulous looking book with loads of colourful illustrations. It teaches a lesson that children need and instantly respond to, and it’s a message adults should apply to their own lives too. Definitely recommended!

For more information visit: whoareourheroes.com


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86 86 Health and Nutrition


87

AN EXTRAORDINARY MENTAL HEALTH BURDEN The psychological issues that accompany the Covid-19 pandemic include a heightened prevalence of moderate-to-severe self-reported depression and anxiety symptoms among the general public, reflecting the widespread effects of insecurity and health-related fears. In the education sector, emergency online learning formats have been created, which seem to have to exacerbated academic stressors for students further. Based on insights from research exploring the impact of educational disruptions on students (Wickens, 2011), it is reasonable to suggest that young people may experience reduced motivation toward studies, increased pressures to learn independently, and abandonment of daily routines. As a result, the Covid-19 pandemic has placed an extraordinary mental health burden on students. At the time of going to press, just one published study has so far explored the impact of Covid-19 on student education and wellbeing (Cao et al., 2020). In the region of 25% of their sample reported experiencing anxiety symptoms, which were positively correlated with increased concerns about academic delays, economic effects of the pandemic, and impacts on everyday life. Moreover, among the numerous student surveys carried out across the world, one survey by YoungMinds reported that 83% of students agreed that the pandemic worsened pre-existing mental health conditions, primarily due to school closures, loss of routine, and restricted social connections (YoungMinds, 2020). Finding New Ways The question is, when will we return to normal; when will this pressure on young people be alleviated? Rachel Rodgers, an associate professor of applied psychology at Northeastern University, a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, believes that we’ll probably never go back to the way things were prior to the pandemic. Instead, she said, the current circumstances will oblige us to continue finding new ways to adapt.

“This will most likely be stressful because it’ll be a change,” she explained during a webinar hosted by the Bouvé College of Health Sciences on the impact of Covid-19 on mental health.

communicate their feelings and emotions? The answer is outward manifestations of behaviour to demonstrate that they are frustrated and scared. This, naturally, only exacerbates the problem.

“Change is stressful, because there will be unknowns and because there will be fears around the fact that the pandemic will most likely still be with us. But it also means that there is continued opportunity for growth.”

Dr Dimitriou and Dr Halstead, of UCL Institute of Education, surveyed 583 autistic adults during lockdown. A good number of the responders had pre-existing mental health conditions (85%), but these had become worse during the lockdown.

The long-term effects of the pandemic are unknown, but the immediate consequences include stress and fear of contracting the virus. There are also many consequences relating to the measures we are taking to combat the outbreak, including associated social, economic and political effects. These issues often reveal themselves in disrupted eating and sleeping patterns and chronic health problems.

A Generational Opportunity United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres warned that the world faces a “generational catastrophe” because of school closures amid the Covid-19 pandemic and said that getting students safely back to the classroom must be “a top priority”. This is now happening. And as we move forwards, consultation with parents, carers, teachers and young people is fundamental.

Struggling to Find a Balance Research has proven that parents who have a youngster with a disability experience much more depression and anxiety than parents with typical children. A lot of parents have struggled to balance the time required to not only entertain their children for an additional eight hours a day but also take on the function of teacher.

On a positive note, the pandemic is providing a generational opportunity to re-imagine schooling, allowing us to make a quantum leap in delivering quality education. In many ways, the Covid-19 crisis is, to our young people, what World War Two was to their grandparents and great-grandparents. It is a global catastrophe, but we will come out of it stronger and more focused.

People with disabilities, particularly with an autism spectrum disorder, find comfort in routine. But now, as a result of Covid-19, their whole world has been turned upside down. What happens, for instance, when they are frightened and cannot

Also, 23% of autistic people reported that the lockdown had caused new mental health problems. Sleep appears to have become worse for those surveyed too, with 79% reporting sleep disturbances and feeling anxious more than before (44%).


88 Health and Nutrition

HAIR LOSS AND HORMONES By Dr. Nahar Al Baroodi – Consultant Endocrinologist The hair is a symbol of femininity. It is also part of how others perceive you as a person. This is why hair loss could be a frustrating problem for many men and women.

Dr. Nahar Al Baroodi Consultant Endocrinologist – Mediclinic Welcare Hospital


89

There are different types of hair loss: 1- Patchy hair loss 2- Diffuse hair thinning 3- Patterned hair thinning

Most of the time, thyroid issues cause diffuse hair loss across your entire scalp, rather than localised hair loss around your hairline, temples or crown.

There are also different causes of hair loss. It could be related to a localised skin disease, hormonal imbalances, lack of essential vitamins and minerals, or secondary to other systemic diseases.

Luckily, hair loss caused by thyroid issues is usually temporary. After you’ve identified and treated the underlying issue, your hair will slowly re-grow to its previous thickness and length.

Androgenic alopecia The most common cause of hair loss is a condition called ‘androgenetic alopecia’. This condition is also known as ‘male-pattern baldness’ when it happens in men and ‘femalepattern hair loss’ when it happens in women.

Lack of vitamin and minerals Hair loss can also be caused by a lack of nutrients. When you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t produce the hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells in your body, including the cells that stimulate hair growth.

Androgenetic alopecia can look different in men and women. Men often develop bald areas on the front and the top of the scalp. Women often have thinning hair on the top of the scalp, but usually do not lose all of the hair there. Researchers have determined that this form of hair loss is related to hormones called androgens, particularly an androgen called dihydrotestosterone. Androgens are important for normal male sexual development before birth and during puberty. Androgens also have other important functions in both males and females, such as regulating hair growth and sex drive. Excessive androgen production in females is associated with several hormonal disorders, such as:  PCOS  Congenital adrenal hyperplasia  Cushings disease  Thyroid disorder  Thyroid hormone Both hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can trigger hair loss. This is because your thyroid plays a role in the development of new strands.

For more information visit: www.mediclinic.ae

With treatment, you can help reverse both the iron deficiency and the hair loss. Others vitamins required for hair growth include:  Vitamin D  Vitamin B12 Hair loss can be secondary to other medical conditions such as:  Hypopituitarism  Systemic lupus erythematosus  Addison’s disease  Celiac disease  Malignancies  Stress Should I see a doctor? See your doctor or if you are bothered by your hair loss, or if:  You are not sure why you are losing your hair  Your hair loss occurs suddenly  You have irregular periods  You also don’t feel well or feel very tired


90 Health and Nutrition

IS SUGAR REALLY BAD FOR YOU? We may be more technologically advanced, but in terms of nutrition, our ancestors could teach us a thing or two. And when I say ancestors, I’m talking about the hunter-gatherers of 80,000 years ago, who only had access to sugar for a few months of the year when fruit was in season. Today, though, our sugar hits come all year round simply by opening a soft drink, a candy bar or a tin of baked beans. We seem to have forgotten the maxim, ‘everything in moderation’.


91 As a result, sugar has become public health enemy number one, with many experts advising that we eradicate it from our diets. Sugar has even been blamed for possibly increasing the risk of contracting infections because it allegedly suppresses the immune system. This is an extremely critical consideration in the age of Covid-19.

Those with a high consumption of sugary drinks have a 26% greater risk of type 2 diabetes

Men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day A Health Time-Bomb Sugars are a type of simple carbohydrate that occurs naturally in some foods and drinks. The problem is that it is also added, often in great quantities, to other foods and drinks leading to a variety of health problems, such as increasing the risk of weight gain, diabetes and tooth cavities. Certain food products, such as dairy products, vegetables and fruit, naturally contain sugars, and people need to to include these foods in their diet, as they come with a range of other nutrients. However, manufacturers tend to add sugar to other foods, and it is these added sugars that cause health problems. Unlike foods and drinks that naturally contain sugar, those with added sugar provide no nutritional value. They are also a poor energy source, as the body digests added sugar very quickly. Consuming too much can be a health time-bomb. No Nutritional Value Sugar is an empty calorie, and consuming empty calories undermines the health benefits of consuming other foods and drinks that do have nutritional value. It can also cause imbalances, where nutrient deficits can lead to further health complications.

Some food labels make it difficult to tell whether they contain added sugar

Weight Gain In the majority of cases, sugary foods and drinks are high in calories. Consuming too many of these products will lead to weight gain, even with regular exercise. Furthermore, there is also some evidence to suggest that sugar can affect the biological pathways that regulate hunger. It is essential to realise, though, that sugar does not cause weight gain by itself. Sugar is one of several causes. Being overweight or obese is the result of a complex interaction between diet, physical activity, genetics, and social and environmental factors. Nonetheless, limiting the amount of sugar in a diet is one of the simplest ways to prevent weight gain. Diabetes There is a link between consuming sugar and developing type 2 diabetes. Sugary drinks are particularly problematic. A meta-analysis of date from 310,819 people found that those with a high consumption of sugary drinks had a 26% greater risk of type 2 diabetes than those with a low consumption. The study defined ‘high consumption’ as between one and two sugary drinks per day. Tooth Cavities It is well known that sugar can cause tooth decay, which can lead to the development of cavities. After eating sugar, bacteria in the mouth a thin layer of plaque over the teeth, and this bacteria reacts with the sugars present in foods and drinks and triggers the release of an acid that damages teeth.

Heart Disease A 15-year study suggested that people with a lot of added sugar in their diet are significantly more likely to die from heart disease than people with minimal amounts of added sugar in their diet. Again, research suggests that sugary drinks may be particularly problematic for increasing the risk of heart disease. This association may be because sugary drinks are high in calories, do not affect hunger, and provide an insufficient amount of energy.

Sugar is an empty calorie Read the Labels Added sugars can appear in many surprising products, so it’s good to check the contents of food before buying it. However, some food labels make it difficult to tell whether they contain added sugar, as there are many different names for it. Watch out for dextrose, sucrose, agave nectar, maltose, molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, crystalline fructose and evaporated cane juice. To maintain a healthy diet, men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day, while women should consume no more than 25 grams per day. Many people consume much, much more. And this mirrors the increase in obesity across the nation. So stay informed and stay healthy.


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