Asha Alexander is the principal at The Kindergarten Starters, Dubai, a GEMS Primary School, catering to 5500 students. She received her Master of Science in Educational Leadership from The Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2011 and she also holds a Master’s degree in Education and English from the Bangalore University in India.
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents.” - Jane D. Hull
The Open Doors programme is a cultural change we affected here at The Kindergarten Starters, with an aim to embrace the wider community and allow learning to flow in and out of our classrooms.
Here at The Kindergarten Starters in Dubai, we recently ran a collaborative venture with Laurus International School of Science in Tokyo, leading to a change in the way our students learn. Over a period of one month, both schools created storyboards. We used the Lego story starters and Scratch Junior to help construct these stories they told. The written outcomes were quite alike, but the engagement of four and five year olds as they learned to code made us adopt an exciting new approach: to begin coding in kindergarten.
The Kindergarten Starters has embarked on a unique approach to teaching Social Studies - we’ve turned the UAE’s 47 museums into our very own classrooms. Students began the Museum Project by visiting the Sharjah Islamic Museum to gain a deep understanding of Islamic Art, inventions and culture.
Play must infiltrate the learning approaches in our classrooms. Surreptitiously, if need be, it has to once again steal into our classrooms and become embedded in our outlook, our approaches and strategies. Why do we advocate play? Play captures within it the elements required for building the right attitude to learning. Fearlessness, risk taking, taking loss and failure in your stride, working as a team and the joy and humility in success.
A cultural change requires a deep understanding of what a culture is and how they grow. When organizations embark on cultural change, they often do not recognize the culture they presently have. People create cultures. Some are deep-rooted and define everything that happens in the organization. Others are transient and shift with changing leadership and staff. To change a culture, one must have a vision of what that change would bring.