Thu, 06 August 2020
Canadian School Bahrain (CSB), located in Diyar Al Muharraq, is the first certified British Columbia (BC) offshore school in the Kingdom of Bahrain. BTM caught up with the school’s Director, Aisha Janahi, and Principal, Abby Saadeh, to find out how the latest addition to Bahrain’s education sector will be shaping the minds of the future.
When did CSB start operations and which student age groups does it cater to?
Ms. Abby: The Canadian School of Bahrain opened its doors in 2019 and is certified by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. CSB is also the first certified BC offshore school in the Kingdom offering a 21st-century curriculum with high academic standards. CSB offers a unique education program teaching the British Columbia, Canada curriculum integrated with Bahraini Social Studies, Islamic Studies and Arabic.
The school currently offers Nursery to Grade 5 and will be opening Grade 6 in the upcoming academic year, with four different ranges of age groups currently being catered to, namely:
Preschool ages: 3-5 years
Elementary School ages: 6-10 years
Middle School ages: 11-13 years
High School ages: 14-17 years
What is CSB’s curriculum and why is it so unique?
Ms. Abby: The Canadian School Bahrain (CSB) offers the British Columbia (BC), Canada curriculum. The BC Curriculum is an internationally renowned education program of the highest standard which teaches students through fostering a lifelong love of learning. This outstanding program offers a balanced, concept, and inquiry-based approach that is student-centered and focuses on the whole child. Along with literacy and numeracy foundations, the curriculum emphasizes on building a set of core competencies. These are sets of intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that all students need to engage in deep, lifelong learning.
In addition, BC students at Canadian School Bahrain will receive a Personal Education Number (PEN) which follows the student through their BC education path from Early Learning to Grade 12. This number is used for multiple purposes including transition analysis between schools, post-secondary education, exams, and student reporting.
Do the teachers have to undergo any special certification in order to teach the BC curriculum?
Ms. Abby: Yes, all teaching staff at Canadian School Bahrain are certified teachers and have to go through a strict accreditation process to be certified teachers. The English teachers have to be certified by the British Columbia, Canada Ministry of Education.
How strong are the Arabic and Islamic subjects taught at CSB?
Ms. Aisha: At CSB we give great emphasis to Bahraini Social studies/Citizenship, Islamic studies, and Arabic. All our Arabic teachers have to be qualified subject experts with a Bachelor in Education and have to be certified by Bahrain’s Ministry of Education. As the Director, with over 30 years of experience in education in Bahrain, I will be focusing on maintaining a perfect integration between the British Columbia (BC) Canada curriculum and Bahraini Social studies, Islamic studies, and Arabic language at the highest standards.
How would you describe CSB’s “student-centered approach”?
Ms. Abby: The Philosophy of Canadian School Bahrain is to provide global education with a holistic approach, focusing on developing the child’s core competencies of communications, and creative and critical thinking while developing a positive personal and cultural identity. All of the decisions made at CSB reflect what is best for our students.
The Student-centered approach acknowledges that not all students learn successfully at the same rate, in the same learning environment, and the same ways. At CSB personalized learning focuses on enhancing student engagement in learning and giving students choices — more of a say in what and how they learn — leading to lifelong, self-directed learning. Students and teachers develop learning plans to build on student’s interests, goals, and learning needs. Involving students in reflecting on their work and setting new goals based on their reflections allows them to take more control of their learning. Personalized learning also encompasses place-based learning, where learning experiences are adapted to the local environment or an individual context.
What student assessment processes are employed at CSB?
Ms. Abby: At the Canadian School, we consistently use both: formative and summative assessment processes within activities and assignments. Formative assessment means that we are consistently checking with students regularly during their learning processes to provide recommendations and also to adjust classroom-wide strategies. We use summative assessments to evaluate this learning at the end of an assignment or unit. We also use some standardized assessments to be sure our students are meeting British Columbia, Canada standards, and benchmarks.
Now that the government has announced the possible reopening of schools, what kind of precautionary measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers?
Ms. Aisha: As per the instructions of the Ministry of Education, we are gearing up for the new academic year and opening of the school during September. We are following all procedures and recommendations directed by WHO, UNICEF, and IFRC in addition to those by the Bahrain Ministry of Education.
Our procedures for prevention of the Covid-19 virus are very stringent and, rest assured, our whole staff are on constant alert and have received training in best practices of dealing with the virus. Also, as per the WHO recommendations we have placed hand hygiene stations at entrances and exits, daily screening of body temperatures on entry into the building for all staff, students and visitors, regular cleaning, and sanitization of the complete school area in addition to the allocation of an isolation room. We have also rearranged all the furniture with increased desk spacing, social distancing stickers in hallways and classrooms, etc. At the same time, we will not have more than 10 students in each class, and the teaching methodology would be a mix of both classroom and virtual learning.
We understand the concerns of parents and children, and our school staff are here to support any student or family member with all the practical support needed.
Could you explain the registration process and admission criteria at CSB?
Ms. Abby: The first step in the registration process is to fill out a CSB application form and fee which can be found by contacting us by phone or on the school website. Once returned, our registration office will assign an assessment date and interview. Once the assessment has been completed, the registration office will contact parents of acceptance.
For more information, visit www.canadianschoolbh.com