American School of Bahrain will open later this year catering for children from pre-KG to grade 12. Founding Director Dave McMaster explains what to expect.
American School of Bahrain (ASB) will open in September 2020, so we do not currently enrol students. As one of 10 Esol Education schools, we have been following the implementation plans of our sister schools carefully. I am in regular communication with the directors at the Esol schools and also meet weekly (online) with principals and heads of private schools in Bahrain.
What are your plans for when the education sector reopens?
This will depend on what the Bahraini Government decides regarding the reopening and the associated guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone on campus. As a brand-new school which has a capacity for 1,200 students, we will be in an enviable position regarding social distancing measures.
We anticipate somewhere between 120-200 students in our first year of operation, so we can easily spread students out according to whatever guidelines the Ministry of Education wants schools to follow. For instance, if we have a class of 20 grade three students, we have enough room to spread them between two adjacent classes and have the grade three teacher and one other staff member teach them. In this instance, staff members like the director, the school principal, the lead early childhood teacher and the admissions manager (an experienced teacher) will roll up their sleeves and work alongside the classroom teachers.
Will this experience change the way education is provided and how will extracurricular activities be affected?
This experience has already changed the way education is provided and, as any student, teacher or parent can attest, it is challenging and sometimes stressful to operate in a virtual school environment. Some schools around the world have started to go back to class depending on the circumstances in their city/country. Many are doing so in a step-by-step manner and they are determining what works and does not work. The priority is to have students return to classroom learning and their academic programmes in a healthy and safe environment.
Depending on the specific circumstances of each school, extracurricular activities (ECAs) will unfortunately take a back seat to classroom learning. As important as ECAs are, unless social distancing measures are removed completely, it will be difficult to run these programmes in a normal fashion. It has never been as clear as it is today that schools need to ensure that all students are connected to their school with some sort of device. Even after schools resume in a normal manner, there will surely be future closures and students, parents and teachers need to be able to connect virtually in a seamless way. We are considering making it mandatory for all KG1 to grade three students to have an iPad which has carefully selected apps and learning software as specified by teachers and technology leaders. Grade four to grade eight students will be required to either have an iPad or preferably an Apple laptop, once again, with carefully selected learning programmes and tools on each device.
How are registrations looking for the new academic year?
We have received a huge amount of interest in the school ever since we announced its opening last year, the ASB ethos and educational approach has been very well received by parents in Bahrain. As we move closer to our September 2020 opening date, we are currently assessing students and processing more and more applications every day. The COVID-19 situation did slow down the number of applications in February and March, but it has picked up considerably in the past three to four weeks.
How can people register or find out further information?
Interested parents can visit our website at
asb.bh to find out more information about the application process and more about our exciting school. They can also call our office at 17 211-800.