From the Principal
2022-2023 SEMESTER 2
THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL YEAR!
We have reached the end of the 2022-23 academic year and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support and dedication throughout the year. Your involvement and encouragement have played an instrumental role in making this year a resounding success.
I am truly honoured to have had the privilege of working with such incredible students and witnessing their growth and achievements. They have consistently demonstrated a thirst for knowledge, a strong work ethic, and an unwavering commitment to their education. Every one of them has shown immense determination and a genuine desire to learn, which has been a constant source of inspiration for me.
Their accomplishments, both academically and personally, have been extraordinary. I have witnessed them stepping out of their comfort zones and embracing new opportunities with open minds. I am confident that the valuable lessons they have learned this year will serve as a strong foundation for the coming year and I have no doubt that they will continue to soar to new heights and make their mark on the world.
In anticipation of the upcoming year, I would like to share a short motivational story that I believe captures the essence of perseverance and the power of a positive mindset:
Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Maryam. Maryam had a dream to become a great painter, but she faced many challenges along the way. Her paintings were often criticized, but Maryam refused to give up. Instead, she viewed every criticism as an opportunity to learn and improve.
Maryam practiced day and night, experimenting with different techniques, and seeking guidance from experienced artists. With each stroke of her brush, she grew more skilled and confident.
Years later, Maryam’s dedication and hard work paid off. Her paintings began to captivate the hearts of art enthusiasts around the world. She became a famous artist, inspiring others with her talent and tenacity. Maryam’s journey taught us that with perseverance, resilience, and a positive mindset, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve our dreams.
As we embark on a new academic year, let us encourage our children to also embrace challenges, learn from their failures, and never lose sight of their dreams. Together, we can empower them to become the best versions of themselves and create a brighter future.
Once again, I extend my deepest gratitude for your continued support and partnership. It is because of your unwavering commitment that our students have thrived, and I am incredibly proud of each one of them. Here’s to an amazing year ahead filled with growth, learning, and endless possibilities.
Wishing everyone a blessed and relaxing summer to spend time with their loved ones. Let us make the most of this time to create lasting memories with the people we care about.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
We are in the midst of admissions season. Despite the academic year winding down, the administration department is abuzz with activities, including reregistrations and new enrolments.
It is always heartwarming to see the enthusiasm of families who want to be part of our school community and see how passionately our PCOs assist them and demonstrate our ‘we care’ motto.
As an ABQ school, we take immense pride in our academic achievements. Each year, our Grade 12 A Level results rank among the best in the world. The same level of excellence applies to our GED results. We firmly believe that actions speak louder than words, and we have concrete evidence to support our commitment to academic excellence.
Many schools claim to provide excellent education, but it is crucial to recognise the difference between making such claims and actually delivering on them.
By regularly assessing our students’ performance, we can identify any learning gaps early on and take appropriate measures to address them. This helps ensure that your child stays on track and receives the support they need to succeed.
Tests and exams, on the other hand, serve as important evaluation tools. They provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of the subjects they have learned.
There is a popular saying, “the proof is in the pudding,” and we wholeheartedly agree. Simply stating the quality of our school is subjective. We must substantiate those claims with solid evidence.
That is precisely why we have implemented common exams in the Primary section and incorporated GL and CAT4 assessments as part of our ABQ Way learner journey. These measures allow us to benchmark our results and show that our dedication to providing exceptional standards in academics is more than just words.
Parents, you have made an excellent choice by selecting our school for your children’s education. Year after year, ABQ continues to prove that we not only promise exceptional standards but also deliver on them. Our track record stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to nurturing the knowledge and abilities of our students.
We are honoured to have you as part of our school family and will persistently strive for excellence in everything we do.
Welcome back to another exciting semester. I trust you all had a restful time and that you made the most of the cooler weather.
Annually thousands of endangered turtles migrate to Oman. Green turtles are a critically endangered species and Oman is one of the few countries that have a special reserve just for them. These beautiful creatures migrate in their thousands to Ras Al Jinz beach each year to lay eggs, and many of you have probably been to see the babies hatch and hurry towards the warm sea.
Oman is also rated as one of the best countries for bird watching, especially for migratory species. Over five hundred species of birds have been recorded in Oman and you can find birds from three continents, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
One of the last places in which the Arabian leopard survives is the Dhofar mountains in southern Oman, and the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve has been set up specially to protect these critically endangered big cats.
Oman is also rich in marine diversity. The Arabian Sea humpback whale subpopulation is the only known group that does not undertake seasonal migrations between high-latitude feeding grounds and low-latitude areas for mating, calving and nursing. This unique, small subpopulation is endangered. Photo identification studies indicate that fewer than 100 individuals remain in the coastal waters of Oman.
Oman is indeed blessed with a wonderfully rich and diverse ecosystem. The Sultanate recently celebrated Environment Day (8 January 2023).
As part of the government’s continuous efforts to be more eco-friendly, the country completely banned the import of plastic bags from the start of this year while the ban on single-use bags has already been enforced since 2021.
Plastic bags do not decompose easily and remain polluting the environment for hundreds of years. Close to 400 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated every year, a figure set to double by 2040. A staggering 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into the ocean daily.
I am thankful for a government that realises the importance of protecting the environment and the natural beauty of this country for generations to come, but it is not only their responsibility. We should all make an effort to live more eco-friendly.
Here are a few relatively easy ways for us to make a big difference: use reusable bottles and cups, avoid using plastic straws, take your own bags for grocery shopping, and use non-plastic reusable containers for food storage.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”
JUST DO IT!
Nike’s billionaire co-founder, Phil Knight, said in an interview that over the years many had doubted his ability to succeed. Yet, he still steered Nike to become the world’s no. 1 athletic shoe company, with a brand so powerful it can be recognised by a checkmark.
He said that he always knew he could fail, but his optimistic outlook helped him persevere. Building Nike was the most fun he has ever had. His team had a vision, and they believed they would succeed. They cared about the product and they cared for one another. For every challenge thrown at them, they knew they had to find a solution to overcome it.
Nike was founded in 1963 under the name Blue Ribbon Sports with a $500 investment from Knight’s former track coach, Bill Bowerman.
Bill was a World War II veteran who had returned to his hometown in Oregon to coach athletes. He later became the USA’s track coach for the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Bowerman enjoyed experimenting with shoes. His goal was quite simple, to make shoes lighter and help runners get faster.
At the time, shoes were provided with spikes at the bottom for grip, but he wanted something that could grip on various surfaces without having spikes. During a casual breakfast with his wife, he noticed the pattern of the waffle iron. He figured that by turning it upside down – where the waffle part would come in contact with the track, he could create a new, ‘never seen before’ sole.
Nike’s innovation trajectory started at that moment. The company released its first shoe, the Waffle Trainer, shortly after.
Knight made his first sales by going to track meets and selling the shoes from the trunk of his car.
The Nike slogan, JUST DO IT, was only introduced in 1987, even though the company’s history is such a great example of this ‘can do’ attitude. Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman did not have it easy. They faced many challenges. They initially had very few financial resources, but they decided to push through. They did not shy away from hard work. They constantly looked for new and innovative solutions to athletes’ real-life problems.
This slogan is not limited to athletes and sports enthusiasts. It can be applied to any circumstance.
The slogan is not just WIN it. It is just DO it! All the focus should not be on the end result. The slogan reiterates the importance of getting started and making the best of the journey. The key to success is in fact to stop procrastinating and to actually be willing to work for what you want and the willingness to put in the effort. Every student should set a goal for this semester and make a list of how they are going to achieve that.
In 2023, let us not wait for opportunities to arise. Stop making excuses. Get started… JUST DO IT!
A PRIVILEGE TO LIVE IN OMAN
Since my family and I moved here in December 2020 I have always thought that the Sultanate of Oman is a magnificent country.
To be honest, I knew very little about the country before we moved here. I saw a number of outstanding tourist videos online and read some articles, but nothing could fully prepare me for what I found here.
Oman is a country of incredible natural beauty intricately intertwined with a combination of its rich history, as well as an incredible advancement in so many different areas. One must only spend a few months here to notice the astonishing pace of development with regard to infrastructure, education, tourism, commerce, sports, technology, innovation, finance and more.
But I am not the only one to notice this…
Just in the last couple of weeks, the Sultanate of Oman has been named among the world’s 18 most beautiful countries by Veranda, a US-based design and lifestyle magazine. The list was compiled through a travel survey that aimed to narrow down the most breathtaking places on earth from amongst the 193 vastly different nations.
Oman was also ranked 8th on the index of countries with the highest quality of life, according to the world data encyclopedia, Numbeo, and ranked among the top four countries in the world on Numbeo’s safety and crime index.
The New York Times has listed Salalah among 52 tourist destinations to visit this year. The only other place from the Arab world to feature in the list is Tassili n’Ajjer of Algeria.
Do you know what is the best part of all of this? We get to experience the beauty and benefits of this country on a daily basis. We get to live here. We get to grow here. We get to discover all the hidden natural gems this country has to offer.
However, with that comes a huge responsibility. Are we contributing to making this country better or worse? This is something each person must answer for themselves.
- Do I pick up litter when I see it (or do I add to it)?
- Do I use water sparingly and responsibly?
- Do I walk when I can, instead of driving everywhere?
- Do I reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible?
Let us all contribute to Oman’s ongoing progress and growth. It is a privilege to be part of the future of such a magnificent country.
ACTIVELY INVOLVED PARENTS
Even with time being a factor for most of us, there are simple ways of being more actively involved in your child’s education and emotional development.
School and parents
Young people live and learn in two worlds – home and school. The way the two connect and communicate can make an enormous difference in how children learn to manage in both places. If teachers, parents and students all trust, listen and talk to each other, the final goal of helping children learn and develop to their best ability is most likely to be achieved.
You might find contacting the school or talking to your child’s teachers difficult, or think they will not have time for you. Parent-Teacher meetings provide an ideal opportunity to get to know your child’s teachers. Finding out more about school life and what they are learning in class shows your child how much you care about their education and well-being and getting to know the school and the teachers is the best way to find out more.
Out of school support
When a child comes home from school, they may be tired so try not to ask too many questions as soon as your child walks through the door or gets into the car. They may be tired or hungry and not feel like talking. Be available to listen later if they want to talk.
Often parents like to introduce additional interests outside of school too, so that children have the opportunity to explore interests that they enjoy. Do things together, visit interesting places, talk about things you have seen on television and encourage your child to ask questions. You can maybe also watch something interesting together.
You can support their reading development by having books or magazines in the home and letting your child see you and other family members reading them.
Education is more than just maths, English and science. Your child’s talents may lie in sport, art, music, drama, computers, or something else, You can always help them aim high by boosting their confidence:
- Encourage them to join as many of the school’s ECA clubs as the programme would allow
- Tell your child how proud you are when they do well
- Let them hear you praising them to other people
- Talk together about their future and the kind of job they think they would enjoy
- Ask them to help you with things they are good at
- Help your child to find someone with good values to look up to; a relative, friend or even a celebrity
Struggling at school
If your child needs extra help, find out from the school how he or she can be better supported at home. This may be something as simple as allowing them to draw more often to help with fine motor skills, etc. (Source: www.familylives.org.uk)
For a few short years, we have the ability to support our children whilst they live with us at home. We should all try to make the best of our time together.
A NEW WEBSITE FOR ABQ
ABQ Azzan is proud to announce the launch of our Group’s newly redesigned website on Tuesday, 14 February 2023!
Over the past year, we have been working with website specialists to build a new website that better reflects ABQ’s operations, the various campuses and unique programmes. It also has improved navigation making it easier to find relevant information and it provides a refreshed “digital experience” for new families interested in joining our school family.
Essentially, the website is the window into life at our school, highlighting our strengths and achievements and communicating our distinctive offering to you as current parents, as well as to our prospective students and parents.
Our Group Chief Learning Officer, Mr Sigve Austheim, also writes a very informative blog every month which is uploaded and available to read.
Why do we even have a website, or needed a new one?
- Keeping everyone informed
ABQ is ever-evolving and regularly introduces innovative new programmes to remain relevant and to ensure that our students receive the best education possible. This also means that you as parents receive exceptional value for money. These unique programmes are explained at length on our new website.
- Showcasing our school online
Since the pandemic there has been a dramatic increase in the use of technology. Internet services have seen rises in usage from 40 % to 100 %, compared to pre-lockdown levels. Especially for new families wanting to join the ABQ Family, it is useful to be able to read more about the school before visiting us in person.
- Accessible around the clock
Our school is only open for certain hours of the week. However, the website is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year. Anyone can access it to find information on most aspects of school life from anywhere and at any time.
- Being mobile friendly
One of the reasons we updated the website was also to be more mobile-friendly. Currently, 92% of internet users worldwide access the internet using a mobile phone. All content was therefore formatted to make it easy to read on any cell phone.
We will let you know as soon as the website goes live on Tuesday and look forward to hearing your feedback. If you would like to see any additional information added to the website, please let me know. I value your feedback.
SUCCESS IS NEVER EASY
This is Jim Thorpe. Look closely at the photo and you will see that he is wearing mismatched socks and shoes. This was not a fashion statement. It was the 1912 Olympics, and Jim, an American from Oklahoma represented the United States in track and field.
On the morning of his competitions, his shoes were stolen. Others would have probably decided to withdraw, but Jim ended up finding two odd shoes in a garbage bin. Besides old and dirty, one of the shoes was also too big and he had to wear an extra sock just to make it fit properly. He did not look like a champion at all!
Wearing these odd shoes, Jim proceeded to win two gold medals that day. He did not give up when things went wrong. He immediately started looking for a solution… and the solution did not come in a brand-new shoe box with shiny new shoes. You would agree, he looks rather funny in this photo. But this is a perfect reminder that even when things do not go your way, you can still succeed. Do not give up when things go wrong because the road to success is never easy.
This diagram illustrates it very well. Success often looks effortless, because we see people winning medals, or getting certificates, or driving smart cars, but most people do not see the challenges those people had to overcome to reach that point.
Stop making excuses why you cannot achieve your dreams and start working towards them. It takes persistence, failure, sacrifice, good habits, hard work and dedication to get there, but once you reach that point, you will realise it was all worth it. No one can ever take that away from you.
ABQ FOR EXCELLENCE
I had an interesting conversation with a parent recently and I thought I would share some of it with you. To give you some background information, these parents are very serious about their children’s education and are actively involved in their progress. They carefully monitor the curriculum and outcomes, in-class experiences, their results and the school’s overall academic performance.
Due to some financial constraints, they considered moving their children to a more affordable alternative earlier this year. As you know, there are many other Cambridge schools in Oman, so it is not difficult to find competitors, but they wanted to make an informed decision and visited several schools to understand the strengths of each school, their educational philosophies, the staff, etc.
Purely based on facts, the parents decided to stay with ABQ because of the following reasons:
- ABQ offers a consistent and sustainable high-quality educational experience.
Our Class of 2022 has again done superbly in A level, with 88.89% A*-A, exactly the same as the previous year. However, this year Azzan Bin Qais ranks 3rd in the world, up from 7th place the previous year. We ranked 1st in the Middle East, ahead of Doha College (Qatar) and Dubai College (UAE). Our GED results were also the best we have ever had as a Group, with a mean amongst the three schools well over 82%. Azzan Bin Qais led the group with an impressive average of 85%.
ABQ received 16 Cambridge and Edexcel Outstanding Learner Awards in maths and sciences last year, of which our school contributed 5.
- ABQ implements several internal and international benchmarking assessments and academic support systems throughout students’ educational journeys with us. This is not a ‘nice to have’, it holds us accountable. We often witness it when students join us from other schools. They are achieving excellent results at their schools but fail our entrance assessments. If schools do not implement independent benchmarking, their results are often biased and not a true reflection of a student’s academic performance.
- Very few schools offer an ECA programme similar to ours, and those that do are substantially more expensive.
The conversation touched on several more of the elements incorporated in the ABQ Way (see next page), such as the incorporation of the ABQ 1:1 Chromebook and our other unique programmes, but I am trying to keep it short. ABQ clearly offers exceptional value for money!
Being an ABQ Family member enables your child the privilege of a proven well-rounded education. We firmly believe that every child can shine and through committed and targeted guidance and mentoring, they can use the knowledge and skills they acquire at school to shape their future. Thank you for trusting us with this responsibility!
YOU ARE PART OF A FAMILY
The past two weeks I had the privilege of attending both the primary and secondary ABQ Athletics Days at Bawshar Stadium. I say privilege because it was indeed an honour to see the students from all three schools competing in one city and one event at the same time.
The management, administrative staff and teachers often liaise with their peers at the other two ABQ schools, but the students, unfortunately, do not often interact with the students at ABQ Azzan and ABQ Seeb.
Have you ever met a distant family member for the first time, and despite not knowing one another, the conversation just flowed as there is an undeniable connection?
I felt the same way at these two events. Despite operating in different cities and different campuses, the students all arrived in the same uniforms and there was just immediate ease and comfort amongst all. We do not just say we are a School Family, it is indeed the case.
Another highlight was our staff.
Athletics Days are probably one of the most labour-intensive events to organise. It was ABQ Azzan’s turn to host this year’s events, but we needed all hands on deck to make these days a success. The work had already started with the trials held at school a couple of weeks prior to the events and the tasks just multiplied as we got closer to the days.
All three schools made staff available to assist on the day and everyone arrived in good spirits and ultimately did much more than we could ever ask for.
Several students did well with the trials, but to suddenly do a 400 m (one lap around the track) with limited training, is not easy. And we saw so many staff lining up next to the track, cheering on the students and often even running alongside some of the students who battled to finish, to motivate them past the finishing line.
ABQ’s #wecare motto was evident throughout the day. The parents, staff and students lived it without even realising it.
Unfortunately, many students could not be part of these two events due to logistical constraints, but we are in the process of arranging further sports and cultural inter-school events to give more students the opportunity to meet the rest of the ABQ Family.
You probably know the proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child”, which means that an entire community of people care and provide for and interact positively with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. I think all of us sometimes forget that the ABQ village is far greater than our school only, but I saw the village in action at both events.
Thank you for choosing ABQ and by doing so, choosing to be part of a caring School Family.
SAILING THE SEVEN SEAS
I recently watched the movie True Spirit on Netflix, which depicts the extraordinary voyage of 16-year-old Jessica Watson who dreamt of becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe non-stop and unassisted, which meant she had to sail alone and not dock at any port along the way.
The journey was estimated to take 200 days, and she had to cross the equator and all meridians of longitude. In doing so, she not only seeked to fulfil her dream, but also faced her greatest fears at the same time. Her on-land support team consisted of her parents, three siblings, and her coach.
On completion of the voyage, she said that she did not consider herself a hero, just an ‘ordinary person, who had a dream, worked hard at it and proved that anything is possible’.
In an interview, Jessica mentioned the following important life lessons:
- You cannot change conditions – just the way you deal with them
She navigated some of the world’s most remote oceans and survived seven knockdowns and 210 days alone at sea to become the youngest person to accomplish this magnificent achievement.
- Surround yourself with good people
Jessica recommends surrounding yourself with people who have done it before and from whom you can learn. Through the experiences of others, she was able to prepare herself to continue on a path of positive thinking, and control her mindset to face the challenges that crossed her path.
- Enjoy the moment
Many successful people succeed in achieving their goals, but many fail to celebrate. This can be as simple as stopping and letting yourself have a moment. Pat yourself on the back for what you have achieved and let it sink in.
- Share the dream and acknowledge others
From the outside looking in you could easily think that her sailing accomplishment was an individual act. However, Jessica needed the support, guidance and commitment of a team of people in order to succeed. For every achievement, remember to share the dream and acknowledge the help and assistance you received from others.
We can all learn a lot from her perseverance and commitment to achieving her dreams.
I am ending with Jessica’s own words, remember: “You don’t have to be someone special to achieve something amazing. You’ve just got to have a dream, believe in it and work hard.”
CONQUERING THE SKIES
Last week I wrote about the Australian teenager who sailed around the world on her own. This week’s letter is about someone from Oman who conquered the skies.
Mr Nasser AlHabsi was born in the small village, Al Akhdhar, in Samad Ashan and always dreamt of becoming a pilot. He says growing up he could not even imagine this dream coming true as it seemed completely impossible for a village boy to be able to fly a plane.
His desire to fly started in grade three or four. His older brother was an aviation maintenance technician for the Air Force and he used to provide him with information on different types of aeroplanes, how they work, and tips for pilots to stay healthy. As a teenager, his brother used to refer to him as the future pilot.
Years later, he is not only successful in the aviation field but also published a book in Arabic called The Pilot and launched an aviation programme on YouTube in 2020. @pilot_habsi features various types of planes and aviation equipment and he answers related questions.
Mr Nasser now has 11 years of experience in civil aviation. His journey was challenging because growing up, information on aviation was limited and no one expected him to accomplish great things, but that never stopped him.
He also took it upon himself to make it easier for others who want to follow in his footsteps. He already started sharing his knowledge in his first-year foundation programme at the university by creating a website focusing on topics such as aviation and cabin crews. Having left the university in the second year to start his aviation training with an airline, he continued to provide information online.
Mr Nasser never allowed his humble beginnings to hold him back. He was determined to fly, and through hard work and dedication, he managed to make his passion a successful career. He has even been back to his former school to share his experiences with the students and also keeps his followers informed via Instagram. His life reminds me of Walt Disney’s famous quote: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Mr Nasser continues to encourage others to reach for their dreams and remind them that can accomplish anything they are passionate about. (Source: Oman Observer)
Being a parent is not easy and not knowing whether you are doing it “right” makes it that much harder.
However, thanks to decades of research by Dr John Gottman on parenting, we know that there are things a parent can do to create a strong bond with their child and set their child up for success in life.
Creating a secure bond with your child sets the stage for them to live a happy, fulfilling life. Dr Gottman refers to this relationship-building technique as “small things often.”
So, what does “Small Things Often” look like in your relationship with your child?
Build and engage in small habits of connection around transition points in the day. This could be as simple as a “Good morning, did you sleep well” when they wake up or “Have a great day” when dropping them off at school. It can include a hug or another form of physical connection. Bedtime could include a longer ritual such as a story or small chat before they drift off to sleep. The ritual needs to be something that fits both of you. Your rituals will change as your child gets older but continuing to make transition times a point of connection lets your child know you are there for them.
Express positivity to your child. Most of what children hear from parents and caregivers involve what to do and what not to do. However, expressing the positive is crucial. In fact, positive expressions need to outweigh the negative expressions for your child to feel loved, accepted, and valued. Positive expressions include things such as thanking them for helping out (even if it is a chore), giving them a compliment, or telling them how proud you are of them.
Show your child affection. Make sure you are hugging your child, giving them kisses, or even just a pat on the back. Affection lets your child know you care about them and you are there for them. When your child makes a bid for connection, do your best to respond to them in a positive manner.
Be curious about their world. Ask your child questions about their day and get to know who they are. Make sure that you are paying attention and remembering what they say.
Spend time together. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Spending even 10 minutes a day engaging in an activity with your child that they enjoy sends a powerful message that you care about them and love them. If you make this special time a part of your routine, it will be more likely to occur.
Great parenting does not require perfection. However, it does require that you repair it when you mess up. When you can repair a negative interaction with your child, it tells them that you will always be there, even during difficult times. Additionally, it teaches them valuable skills about how to repair relationships and take responsibility. This will help them in future when they inevitably have conflicts with others.
Parenting is hard, but by engaging in small moments of connection with your child often, you can build a bond that will set them up for success for a lifetime.
WORLD HERITAGE DAY
Theodore Roosevelt said, “The more we know about the past, the better prepared we are for the future”. World Heritage Day (18 April) encourages us to celebrate the various cultures globally and to bring awareness to important cultural monuments and sites. Oman is home to some of the most impressive UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Middle East and we are stepping back in time with today’s newsletter.
Oman was part of the original ancient trade routes, assisting in the transportation and trade of rare gemstones, frankincense, East African gold, feather and wood goods, and spices from the Far East. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Oman has had five UNESCO World Heritage Sites officially recognised for their importance to history and the evolution of mankind.
- Bahla Fort
The Bahla Fort is a monumental and immense fort that was built by the tribe of Banu Nebhan during the 12th to the 15th centuries. It is believed to be one of the best examples of fortification in the region that attests to the power of the Tribes.
- Archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn
These sites are considered the best example of ancient settlements in Oman. The whole archaeological area consists of a large rural settlement, a monumental tower, few necropolises, and an irrigation system for agriculture. The remains of this Bronze Age landscape are of exceptional value for preservation.
- Land of Frankincense
Before petroleum and gas, the trade of frankincense in the Gulf region brought about success to the economy and this went on for many centuries. In fact, the trade of frankincense was considered as one of the most important trading activities in medieval and ancient times. The Land of Frankincense is an area along the incense road in Oman that features frankincense trees.
- Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman
This site consists of five irrigation systems that showcase the traditional irrigation method of Omanis. It represents about 3000 similar systems still in use in Oman. The water flows from underground sources or natural springs to croplands and homes through the use of gravity. There are also numerous watchtowers built in between to protect the water systems. Archaeological evidence suggests that the ancient irrigation systems were developed thousands of years ago.
- Ancient City of Qalhat
The ancient city of Qalhat was most recently listed as a World Heritage site. The only surviving structure of this ancient site is the dome-less mausoleum of Biwi Maryam. It stands as a unique testimony of cultural traditions, ancient civilisation and it is an outstanding example of a typical early city port representing important stages in the history of mankind.
If you have not been to all, try to visit them in the coming year.
RAISING GOOD KIDS
As parents, we all want to raise our children to be the best possible version of themselves they can be. We all want to raise a kid with manners, a kind heart, and the ability to make good decisions. Experienced School Counsellor, Stephen Ferraro, compiled some practical tips on how to ensure our children grow up to be upstanding citizens.
Encourage empathy and perspective taking.
Help your child understand what others face by having him/her imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes. There are many viewpoints and ways to interpret something.
Take time to say thanks.
It is always important to show thanks and encourage appreciation in children. Does your child say “thank you” after someone helps them? Just think about the last time someone held the door open for you. Did you say thank you? Lead by example.
Help children understand the consequences.
Help your child to understand the consequences of poor decisions. There will always be rules in life and we must help them to understand when they make mistakes. Always provide a reason for a consequence to help them learn from it.
Emphasize good sportsmanship.
It is not always about winning; effort is more important. Point out high-fives, positive talk, cheering, and teamwork on the sports field. Do your children shake hands with their opponents?
Showcase character-rich movies and TV shows.
What type of movies and TV shows are your kids watching? Are you having discussions about what you watch together? Ask what they thought was right or wrong in a scene. Emphasize positive behaviour.
Share uplifting stories.
There are always positive stories in the news or social media you can share, ones that exemplify perseverance, responsibility, respect, and compassion.
Encourage dedication and practice.
Help them realize that not everything comes easy. You have to practice in life to become better, whether it be with math, essay writing, or sports. And remember, recognition and rewards are earned. Help them persevere and appreciate fairness.
We have reached that time of the year when everything tends to slow down a little. We only have a few weeks left before exams start. In fact, some of our students have already started. The ECAs will come to an end soon. Most of the syllabus has been completed, and besides a couple of ongoing assessments and revision tests, the end of this academic year is literally around the corner.
However, it is also that time of the year when no one is really in the mood for studying anymore, attendance seems to be dropping, and everyone tends to be running a little low on self-motivation.
There is a saying that goes “Perseverance is the act of continuing to move forward, even when you want to give up.” – Rachel Scott. This captures the essence of perseverance, which is also one of our school values. Even when things get hard – which they almost always do – perseverance pushes you to keep going. Why is it important to have this skill and to also teach your children how to persevere?
- Perseverance encourages adaptability
Perseverant people are also innovative people. They think outside the box in pursuit of their goals. They are willing to admit when an idea is not working and they are willing to try something new. This adaptability benefits every area of a person’s life.
- You need perseverance to reach your goals
There are very few good things in life that come quickly and easily. All goals require effort. To stay the course, you need perseverance.
- Perseverance carries you through failures
Failing is an awful feeling. It is natural to want to avoid that, but the only way to avoid failure is to never try anything. When you approach failure with perseverance, it is easier to see it as a learning experience.
- Students benefit significantly from perseverance
School-aged kids face a lot of challenges. Students should be praised for effort – not just success.
- All successful people are perseverant
There is no such thing as an “overnight success.” Whilst not everyone who perseveres will find fame and fortune, those who do have learned to continue despite setbacks and obstacles on the way.
As hard as it is, we need to teach our kids the skills to persevere – even when things get difficult. It will allow them to thrive with their learning, get to where they want to go and ultimately give them valuable choices. Without this tool in their resilience toolkit, they will limit themselves; not just while they are at school, but for the rest of their lives.
Perseverance is power. Great works are not achieved through strength but the willingness to continue, when you feel like giving up.
WE ARE NOT THE SAME AS OTHERS
Every year we give you as existing ABQ Family members the first chance to confirm your children’s seats for the next academic year. This means that despite new students joining, your children are guaranteed a spot in our school.
Thereafter, we officially open our doors to any prospective students wanting to join our school family, which brings me to Open Days. I really enjoy them as I am reminded time and again that what we have at ABQ is not the norm. ABQ sets exceptional standards for education.
Our curriculum is designed to challenge students academically whilst also supporting their personal growth and development.
Our teachers are highly qualified and experienced professionals who are passionate about education and dedicated to helping students reach their full potential. They use a variety of teaching methods and techniques to ensure that all students are engaged, motivated, and challenged.
At the heart of our academic programme is a commitment to fostering critical thinking skills, creativity, and a love of learning. This learning experience is enhanced with several unique programmes, such as ABQ 1:1 Chromebook, DYP, GEDx and Mobeen.
We believe that education should be a lifelong pursuit and our curriculum is designed to inspire students to continue learning long after they leave our school.
In addition to our academic and unique programmes, we also offer a range of extracurricular activities that provide students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop new skills, and make lasting friendships. From sports teams to music ensembles, drama clubs to community service organisations, there is something for everyone at ABQ Seeb.
We strive to provide our students with a well-rounded education that goes beyond academics. We believe in encouraging them to pursue their passions, develop new interests, and explore new talents.
We are confident that our academic rigour, unique programmes and our ECAs provide students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to succeed in their academic and personal lives.
We have an Open Day on Saturday, 13 May 2023 from 10 am – 2 pm and I want to encourage you to please invite your friends and family to come and experience the ‘ABQ Way’. Our team is dedicated to providing the best possible education to our students and meeting us in person is ideal.
ABQ Seeb International School is a place where academic excellence meets personal growth, and we are eager to showcase all that we have to offer to prospective students and their families.
Please also be reminded of the ABQ Ambassador referral programme. With this initiative, you can earn up to 100% of your child’s annual tuition fees as a referral credit. Please ask your PCO for more information.
BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR CHILD
The things kids need most in life are love, security, guidance, and support. Seeing the best in your child helps bring out the best in everyone, and focusing on your child’s strengths is an easy way to connect with them.
You do not have to be supermum or superdad to bring out the best in your child. Here are a few easy ways to empower your child and bring out the best in them:
- Let your child discover their own interests. Expose them to a broad spectrum of experiences. Our ECA programme offers an ideal opportunity for children to try new things.
- Maintain realistic expectations.
- Set a good example and be a lifelong learner. Try new things often.
- Play together as a family. Go for walks, head to the park, play board games, head to the movies, read together, listen to music, etc.
- Make time for talking and asking your child questions in order to get them to open up and think critically about the world around them. Remember to be a good listener too!
- Fill your home with humour and laughter.
- Praise your child when they are successful, kind or helpful.
- Do not compare your child to others. The only person they should be comparing themselves to is themselves!
- Give your child choices. For young kids try to give them two acceptable options and let them choose which one they want. When kids make their own choices, it helps build independence and confidence.
- Teach your child the power of “yet”. Help them understand that just because things are hard at first, and they may not know it all now, it does not mean they never will, it just means they have not learned it YET!
- Give your child permission to make mistakes. If a child is pressured to be perfect all the time, they will never be willing to take risks, and risks are a necessary part of discovering the things they enjoy and are good at.
- Apologize when you make a mistake. This helps your child feel respected and shows them how to handle situations when they make mistakes themselves.
- Speak kindly to your child and let them hear you talking kindly to yourself. (Source: apolloafterschool.com)
CATERPILLARS TO BUTTERFLIES
We had the privilege of celebrating the Class of 2023 at their graduation ceremony last week.
Just like a caterpillar hatches from an egg and undergoes a remarkable transformation into a beautiful butterfly, the Grade 12s have grown and evolved over the years. Each step of the journey with us has been significant in their development, shaping them into the individuals they are today.
We often underestimate the magnitude of the changes our children undergo during their time in school. Much like a caterpillar must patiently master numerous skills to prepare itself for flight, our students have also worked diligently to acquire knowledge, skills, and values that will empower them to confidently face the world beyond our school walls.
Throughout their academic journey, our dedicated educators have played a vital role in nurturing their intellectual curiosity, fostering their love for learning, and guiding them towards excellence. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to our outstanding teachers, who have invested their time, expertise, and unwavering support into each child’s growth.
The transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly is a testament to the resilience and determination that lies within all of us. Similarly, our students have demonstrated remarkable resilience, adaptability, and an eagerness to learn. They have embraced challenges, overcome obstacles, and have emerged stronger and more confident individuals.
To those of you with younger children still in the process of developing into ABQ butterflies, cherish their accomplishments along the way, not only in academics but also in their personal growth, character development, and social interactions. Take pride in their unique qualities, talents, and the values they embody. The journey goes too quickly!
Finally, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to all our students, from ABQ Explorer to Grade 12, as they approach the end of this academic year. May they continue to embrace the joy of learning, cultivate their passions, and develop the skills necessary to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Thank you once again for entrusting us with the education and growth of your children. We look forward to witnessing their ongoing transformation into extraordinary individuals who will shape our future.
2022-2023 SEMESTER 1
Dear ABQ Family,
I cannot believe the first week of the 2022-23 academic year is already done and dusted.
Our school remained open during the summer and we had a team of staff who worked tirelessly to ensure that everything was ready for the new year. However, school is just not the same without our students and it is an absolute delight to have everyone back on campus.
ABQ is always looking for ways to better prepare our students for life after school and does not look at Grade 12 as the finishing line. We equip students with core academic knowledge, as well as essential 21st-century skills throughout their time with us. This forms a powerful combination to help them realise their full potential in a fast-changing world.
Some of you have been part of our school family for some time already, but we also have a large group of new families who only joined us recently and I think it is important to reiterate who we are as a Group and to reiterate our proud history which exemplifies academic excellence.
What makes ABQ different?
ABQ Education Group is blessed with the knowledge, expertise, creativity and passion of 250+ highly qualified and well-experienced educators. Over time, the Group has taken the best practices from each of the three international schools (MSQ, Seeb and Sohar) and created a world-class operational framework, The ABQ Way.
The ABQ Way assures students a consistent and sustainable high-quality educational experience regardless of the ABQ international school they are enrolled at.
We believe in the importance of academic rigour and a strong foundation but realise that it is difficult to measure children’s progress in the early years as independent benchmarking opportunities are limited. Therefore, ABQ has introduced several internal and international benchmarking assessments and academic support systems throughout every student’s educational journey. As a result, parents and students are given a personalised action plan to ensure that each student reaches their full potential.
As students move to Secondary School, ABQ’s world-class academic outcomes in IGCSE, AS, A levels and GED are a testament to our unique and rigorous educational framework. Our GED results are outstanding and ABQ schools rank in the Top 200 Cambridge schools in the world and consistently win most Cambridge Top in Oman awards.
We are also strong believers in developing the extracurricular side of our students. The ABQ Way is embedded with a variety of unique ABQ programmes like DYP, ECA Clubs, the House System and the ABQ 1:1 Chromebooks to ensure that students receive a well-rounded education and acquire the skills necessary to succeed in life.
The education of our children is too important a matter to be left to chance. You have chosen well!
I trust that your journey with us will be a positive and happy one.
GRAB EVERY OPPORTUNITY
Dear ABQ Family,
You might not be a cricket fan, but this week I want to tell you about former South African international cricketer, AB de Villiers.
AB is regarded as one of the greatest cricketers in the history of the sport and has achieved results which are not possible for even the greatest in the game
. He was named as the International Cricket Council’s ODI Player of the Year three times during his 15-year international career.
The star batsman was one of the few players who averaged over 50 in both Test and ODI cricket and is still considered one of the greatest fielders of all time. In 114 Tests, he scored 8,765 runs at a brilliant average of 50.66. He also scored 22 hundreds and a staggering 46 fifties.
These impressive facts are readily available online. However, what many people do not know is that AB was a keen rugby player in Primary. He grew up in a small town and was one of the best players on the field until he went to a bigger school in the city for Secondary…
The school is known for rugby and the best players in the country attend it for this reason. AB de Villiers is not a very big man and was not even considered for one of the top teams. Fortunately, his school offered a vast extracurricular programme and he could try different sports, which ultimately led to his illustrious cricket career.
Our extracurricular clubs are about to kick off and I am excited to see the next “AB de Villiers’” come to the fore. If students are not exposed to a variety of different things to try, they may never discover a hidden talent or skill.
Students who receive a well-rounded education are better prepared for the future as they develop a wider range of knowledge, as well as the 21st-century skills necessary to succeed in life. At ABQ, our students are blessed with the gift of choice and variety. Guide your child well to find suitable clubs where they will flourish. The 2022-23 academic year is going to be great!!
CHANGE IS LIFE
Dear ABQ Family
If I mention the name Netflix, most of you will immediately recognise it as the American subscription streaming service. However, when Netflix started in 1997, it was a typical video rental provider (students, you may have to google this). However, the world changed and Netflix recognised a gap in online entertainment, whilst most other video stores simply closed.
Mentally, most people live well in a “status quo” situation and it is natural to feel unsettled when things change, but how would we ever be able to improve and grow if we do not embrace (or even just try) new opportunities?
A new school year always brings about new systems, different procedures, and untested methods of doing things, but if we think about it, it is not really change we dislike. It is rather the temporary uncertainty, disruption and discomfort we do not enjoy.
We live in a world where the pace of change is constantly accelerating. Our children will one day face a world that is much more challenging than ever before. As a school, we cannot prepare our students for this reality if we do not evolve and change ourselves.
Change allows us to move forward in life. It might not always be easy but adjusting our frame of mind to look at change as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience, makes it more exciting to support new initiatives.
As children deal with changes to their normal routines, they develop the skills of resilience and adaptability. By navigating these experiences and growing from them, they strengthen and train their “resilience muscle.” They may need extra support in understanding and adjusting to it, but they are learning valuable new skills along the way.
Learning to embrace change, or even just cope with it, is a life skill that everyone should practice. I find that it helps me when I surround myself with positive people. Some people struggle with change more than others. If you are one of them, make sure you spend time with people who have mastered this skill and who will help you to focus on the long-term goals, rather than the temporary inconvenience.
Remember, nothing is permanent, except change, and change is good, but only if you embrace it!
“All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Thomas Fuller
For the rest of the year, may all change provide you with opportunities to renew, grow and visualise what is possible.
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
Dear ABQ Family
A new academic year is a perfect time to renew habits that keep students happy and healthy, including sleep. Unfortunately, many children and teenagers do not get the amount of sleep they need to thrive at school.
Research shows that sufficient, healthy sleep is critical for students to excel in schoolwork, sports and extracurricular activities. Your child’s brain needs sleep to restore resources that were used up during the day. A well-rested brain can solve problems, learn new information and enjoy the day a lot more than a tired brain. Some areas of your child’s brain are even more active while they sleep.
Children who consistently get a good night’s sleep:
- are more creative
- can concentrate on tasks for longer
- have better problem-solving abilities
- are better able to make positive decisions
- are more able to learn and remember new things
- have more energy during the day
- can create and maintain good relations with others.
How much sleep do kids really need?
For optimal health, it is recommended that children 6-12 years old should sleep 9-12 hours on a regular basis, whilst teenagers 13-18 years of age should obtain 8-10 hours of sleep per night. For help figuring out the best bedtime for any age, use the bedtime calculator at: https://sleepeducation.org/healthy-sleep/bedtime-calculator/.
Sleep experts recommend following these practices to help children (and parents!) get the sleep they need
- Prepare ahead for schedule changes
Gradually shift bedtime and waking times by at least 15 minutes earlier every day until your child is on the right schedule. Aim for your child to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, ideally even on weekends or during school breaks.
- Create a cool, quiet sleep environment
Keep the thermostat lower at night, and do not overdo it with the blankets. If it is hard for your child to fall asleep, try a fan or white noise machine to block out intermittent sounds.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine
Find something that helps your child wind down and relax, like taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book or journaling to help them feel ready to go to sleep.
- Restrict screen time before bed
Disconnect from devices and wind down for sleep by turning electronics off at least 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.
(Source: Times of Oman)
LIVING YOUR DREAM
In light of the ABQ/Southampton Football Club partnership being launched this week, I thought I would stick to the theme of football for this week’s newsletter.
Sadio Mané, the Senegalese professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Bundesliga club, Bayern Munich and the Senegal national team, is a proud Southampton Alumni. He is considered one of the best players in the world.
Mané’s story began far away from the football fields. He grew up in a small village in southwestern Senegal. His father, the local Imam was very strict in the education of his children. At 5 years old, Mané discovered his passion for football and envisioned himself playing on the most beautiful fields in the world. But the reality was very different. In his family, football was not taken seriously. At age 15, he borrowed money to travel the 800 km from his home village to Senegal’s capital, Dakar, for his first official trials. His boots were torn and old and he did not even have proper football shorts. However, his talent was recognized by a Senegalese football academy. His perseverance has already led him to various world-renowned clubs, including Southampton F.C. from 2014-2016 where he scored the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history.
Sadio Mané embodies the grit and tenacity we aim to instil in all our students – to never stop dreaming!
Everyone may not be a footballer, but the same principles apply to all spheres of life. This brings me back to our partnership with Southampton Football Club. Why did ABQ choose to partner with them?
- SFC also believes in the value of a well-rounded education.
- They are recognised across the world as a leading authority in youth player development.
- They also believe in the unlimited potential of children.
- Their Southampton Way operational model is based on five values: respect, unity, accountability, creativity, and aspiration, which are perfectly in line with ABQ’s values and objectives as a Group.
These similarities do not make them football partners only. The shared principles form part of everything we do, who we are as a Group and the vision you signed up for when you registered your child at ABQ.
Remember, dreams do not work unless we do. Through hard work, perseverance, and faith, everyone can ultimately live their dream – and that is the courage we want to impart to every one of our students.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Earlier this week, we celebrated Women’s Day and it made me realise yet again, that our school family would simply not be the same without the strong and caring women we have on our staff, as well as the mothers who play a valuable and dynamic role in our school’s overall success. We appreciate every one of you!
Another strong and dynamic woman I recently read about is Omani Innovator, Ms Sumaiya Al Siyabi, who won the grand finale of Stars of Science earlier this month. Stars of Science is a Qatari TV show where Arab innovators compete to develop tech solutions for their communities.
Sumaiya’s unique innovation aims to fight plastic pollution plaguing the world’s oceans. Her Remediation and Disposal of Micro-Plastics is a floating sphere that dissolves micro-plastics it comes into contact with. Free of harsh chemicals, the device is an effective and environmentally friendly way of cleaning up plastic garbage in our oceans.
Despite its multitude of valuable uses, plastic is a harmful and persistent pollutant in our planet’s oceans. It also harms the human body. Around 5 grams of microplastics are entering our bodies on a weekly basis, and this has been studied to cause a range of problems from inflammation in the lungs or, in more severe cases, cancer.
Sumaiya studied biology education after school and went on to work as a teacher, educating local youth on the study of organisms and the environment, indulging her love for the subject while providing a well-rounded base of knowledge for the school children in her community. In 2021, she received an Excellence Youth Award in Science from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth in Oman.
Five years into her teaching career and as a mother of three young children, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in biology from Sultan Qaboos University, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, in Oman, whilst also balancing her obligations to her family simultaneously.
After graduating, Sumaiya started developing her invention and applied to Stars of Science for a chance to gain experience from the show’s experts. Innovative and simple, her sphere could be invaluable in protecting our natural water resources and the wildlife within.
It could greatly reduce the build-up of microplastics before they have a chance to harm ecosystems, safeguarding both the environment and the health of our communities.
May the beauty of the Sultanate continue to inspire all of us to make the world a better place, as it did with Sumaiya.
Dear ABQ Family,
Louis Braille was blinded at the age of three in an accident that occurred while he was playing with his father’s tools in 1812. When he was 15, he invented a universal system for reading and writing to be used by people who are blind or visually impaired. The code was eventually accepted and today this system of raised dots is named after him and is still being used all over the world.
Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg has become a household name thanks to her environmental activism globally. At age 15, she started a movement to fight climate change with a protest that inspired millions of students to make a difference, and since then has gone on to speak at the UN and converse with world leaders.
At age 4, Joshua Williams discovered that people right in his neighbourhood went without food. With the support of his family, Joshua founded Joshua’s Heart Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to the fight against global hunger and poverty through the community service of young people. To date, Joshua’s Heart Foundation has distributed more than 4.8 million pounds of food, served more than 4.9 million meals, raised over $3 million and assisted more than 600,000 individuals. Joshua is 20 and a college student now.
16-year-old Gitanjali Rao is a scientist, engineer, inventor, author, and promoter of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) globally. When she was just 10 years old, Gitanjali heard about the Flint water crisis whilst watching the news and, through collaboration with a research scientist at 3M, by seventh grade had developed her first innovation, a device called Tethys. Tethys detects lead in water using carbon nanotubes and can send water-quality information to mobile devices via Bluetooth.
These are just four examples of young people who did not allow their age to get in the way of making a difference in the world. They each saw a need and decided not to wait for someone else to improve the situation, but instead, started small, asked for help, and went for it.
The reality is, if we look for an excuse not to do something, we will always be able to find a reason. I am too young/old. I do not have the money. I am only one person. What if my initiative is not successful?
We celebrated Youth Day earlier this week, and my advice for the young and the young at heart is the following:
Do not be afraid to dream big. If you don’t dream, you will never know the endless possibilities of what you can become.
ARTS MAKE THE WORLD BETTER
Dear ABQ Family,
Talented Omani pianist, Zahra bint Mohammed Hussein Al Yousef, was invited by the Qatar Government to perform during the FIFA World Cup later this year.
She currently occupies the role of a pianist in the lobbies of the most prestigious hotels in the Sultanate such as the Kempinski Hotel Muscat and Grand Hyatt Muscat and is the first Omani to occupy this position.
She formed her own ensemble (Melody of Peace) in partnership with violinist, Taher Gamal and the duo has become famous both locally and internationally.
I have referenced sports on several occasions in my newsletter, and we have definitely covered academics, but the arts have not been featured enough.
The arts include a wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling, and cultural participation. Nowadays, society functions in such a way that many of the manual and technical jobs that were done by people before, can now be done by machines. This means that the main demand lies in innovation and creativity, thinking outside the box and having good interpersonal skills.
Just like mathematics or science, the arts require regular practice and are not something that can be achieved through sporadic learning. Regular engagement and education in the arts must be encouraged continuously for it to impact the students and we are proud of the role it plays at our school, both as subjects and as extracurricular clubs.
Some of the most obvious benefits of exposure to the arts are that it encourages creativity and engagement in a different way from what is usually taught in school. Instead of being fed facts, students can explore their interests and indulge in what excites them in a fun and interactive manner. It also improves motor skills. Simple things like mastering a paintbrush or using crayons and pencils help develop fine motor skills, especially in younger children. Studying the arts also helps improve academic performance through creativity, but also improves learning in areas like maths and science, as well as the literary field.
Cultural activities in school offer a supportive, safe, encouraging, challenging, and inviting environment for staff and students. This in turn has a remarkable impact on the overall personality of students and helps to drive a school to new heights of success.
Pablo Picasso said, “The arts wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
We wish Zahra all the best for her time in Qatar. May she continue to wash away the dust of everyday life through her performances and be an inspiration to the many aspiring artists in our school.
Dear ABQ Family,
Someone shared this message on social media recently, and it really resonated with me. The benefits mentioned below are not limited to extracurricular activities at school. Children benefit and grow from all the wonderful learning opportunities they are exposed to, and probably the greatest benefit of all is that they learn without even realising it because they are enjoying it. I see the students at their respective clubs, see the smiles on their faces and hear the cheering. This was not part of their world for too long due to the pandemic, and I am thankful for the value ABQ places on holistic education.
“One of my friends asked, “Why do you pay for your kids to do all their sports”? Well, I have a confession to make; I don’t pay for my kids to do sports. Personally, I could not care less about what sport they do.
So, if I am not paying for sports what am I paying for?
- I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired, they want to quit but they don’t.
- I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined, focused, and dedicated.
- I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their bodies and equipment.
- I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good teammates, gracious in defeat and humble in success.
- I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment when they don’t get that placing or the title they had hoped for, but still, they go back week after week giving it their best shot.
- I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.
- I pay for my kids to respect, not only themselves, but also the other players, the officials, and the coaches.
- I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours, years and years of hard work and practice to create a champion and that success does not happen overnight.
- I pay for my kids to be proud of small achievements, and to work towards long-term goals.
- I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to build life-long friendships, create lifelong memories, to be as proud of their achievements as I am.
- I pay so that my kids can be out on the track instead of in front of a screen…
- …I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for extracurriculars; I pay for the opportunities that it provides my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far, I think it is a great investment!”
Continue to encourage your children to try new things, to keep going even if that day’s programme was not as fun as the previous and to not give up if they do not get something right on the first try. They will be thankful one day for every opportunity they embraced.
Dear ABQ Family,
I recently read an article by Esther Wojcicki, the mother of three highly successful daughters. Her daughter, Susan, is the CEO of YouTube, Janet is a doctor, and Anne is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, a DNA-based ancestry tracking platform.
Esther is adamant, parents today do too much for their children. Her no. 1 rule at home was: Do not do anything for your kids that they can do for themselves.
I am including some interesting excerpts from the article:
“The more you trust your children to do things on their own, the more empowered they will be. The key is to begin with guided practice. It is the “I do (you watch), we do (together), you do (I watch)” method.
You can try this with all sorts of simple, everyday actions depending on their ages:
- Waking up: Have them set their own alarms.
- Getting dressed: Let them pick their own outfits.
- Getting their school bag ready: Have them run through a list of what they need to take to school the next day (and you can still check for the first couple of days).
- Making plans: Let them come up with weekend or after school activities.
When we went grocery shopping, I would ask them to get the fruit. They had to pick out the good ones, which I taught them how to do by doing it with them for a while.
Chores are especially important. My children had to set the table and make their own beds every morning. By the way, a bed made by a kid can look like they are still asleep in it. But I did not fight them, as long as they did it, I was happy.
To be clear, I’m not saying you should make your kids do things they do not understand or are not yet capable of. The idea is to teach them how to cope with what life throws at them. One of the most important lessons I taught my daughters is that the only thing you can control is how you react to things.
When you trust kids to make their own decisions, they start to feel more engaged, confident and empowered. And once that happens, there’s no limit to what they can achieve.”
“If we want our children to move mountains, we first have to let them get out of their chairs.”
PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS PART 1
Dear ABQ Family,
Get a jump-start on teaching your children practical life skills they will use throughout their lives. Here are some great tips from an article by Apryl Duncan (11 Life Skills You Should Teach Your Kids). More will follow in next week’s newsletter.
Begin with basic choices like chocolate versus vanilla ice cream, blue socks or white socks, playing trains or playing cars. When kids reach primary school age, they can begin to learn about the rewards of good decisions and the consequences of bad decisions. Walk your child through the many steps of decision-making. Help them weigh their options, evaluate the pros and cons, make a final decision, and then see how things play out.
Health and Hygiene
Your kids are never too young to begin learning about health and hygiene. Explain to them why health and hygiene are always going to be crucial parts of their routine. As your children begin to master this life skill, set up a chart that allows them to check off each task as they complete it. When these healthy habits are established, you will be able to take away the chart and your kids will complete these tasks without you having to continually remind them.
Getting Dressed and Ready
Kids can learn how to get ready on their own at an early age. Choose an alarm clock that’s easy for them to set. Let them prepare the clothes they will wear the next day before they go to bed. This also applies to items required for school and ECAs, i.e., goggles or shin pads.
Every parent knows how important time management is to keep your family on track, but it is also important for kids to learn time management skills. Teaching children how to measure time, stay on task, and keep to a schedule makes everyone’s days easier. Learning this life skill also helps them become masters of time so they can do everything from getting up on schedule to someday getting to work on time.
Even the youngest children can learn how to prepare a meal. We’re not talking about a five-course dinner, of course, but you can teach preschoolers how to make a sandwich and primary school kids to use the microwave. As your children become more confident in the kitchen, they can add on other meal prep life skills like learning how to prepare their own lunch, make healthy food choices, cook a simple meal on the stove with adult supervision, and plan their own meals.
This ties in with last week’s message that we should not do anything for our kids that they can do for themselves.
It is not easy to watch them struggle, but it will help them in the long run.
PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS PART 2
Dear ABQ Family,
As promised, here are some more practical life skills from the article by Apryl Duncan (11 Life Skills You Should Teach Your Kids).
Teach your kids effective money management so they can learn how to save, spend wisely, and make changes. It is also important for them to understand that using cheques, credit cards, and cash apps is not free money.
Teaching your children about money, its importance, and how to manage it will help prepare them for the day they start earning a paycheck of their own.
Sometimes it is easier for parents to do all the housekeeping themselves. But that is a missed opportunity for us to teach our kids how to keep the house clean, which they will eventually need to know when they leave your home and have their own space to take care of.
Start with age-appropriate chores that include learning how to make the bed and empty the dishwasher. Also, think of the daily messes your kids make and how they can clean up after themselves.
When toys magically move from room to room, have the kids throw them all in a basket so they can put them away at the end of the day.
The next time you are standing in the store caught between a hefty price tag and a child demanding you to pay for it, take the time to get your phone out and search for the item on a variety of shopping sites. Show your kids how much that item costs at other stores and what comparable items there are that may be of better quality.
Maybe the one in the store where you are in is the best deal and top product after all. But teaching kids to be smart shoppers and taking the time to comparison shop will help them save money everywhere they go whilst also making smart decisions about the products they choose.
Ordering at Restaurants
As parents, we tend to place our children’s orders at restaurants just to make things easier on the server. However, letting our kids order for themselves is fun for them and builds self-esteem and confidence.
Many restaurants have pictures on the kids’ menu so preschoolers can begin pointing at what they want to eat. As their confidence grows, they can begin verbally telling the server what they would like. Remind them to practice good manners by saying please and thank you after they have ordered.
Ultimately, we are not only watching our children grow up, but it is important that we give them the necessary tools to be responsible and accountable adults one day.
AN EAGLE OR A DUCK?
This true story is definitely worth reading – “I was waiting for a ride at the airport. When the taxi pulled up, I noticed that it was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed, the driver jumped out to open the door for me.
He handed me a laminated card and said, ‘I’m Wasu, your driver. While I’m loading your, please read my mission statement.’
It said, ‘Wasu’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest, and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.’ This blew me away. Especially when I noticed the inside of the taxi matched the outside. It was spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Wasu said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’ ‘I would actually prefer a soft drink’, I said jokingly. ‘No problem. I have a cooler with regular and Diet Coke, water, and orange juice’, he replied.
Handing me my drink, Wasu continued, ‘If you would like something to read, there are several magazines in the holder in front of you.’
As we were pulling away, he asked if the temperature was comfortable for me and handed me another laminated card, ‘If you would like to listen to the radio, these are the stations I get and the music they play.’
Then he advised me of the best route to my destination for that time of day. He also offered to tell me about some sights or leave me with my thoughts.
I was amazed and asked him, ‘Have you always served customers like this?’ Wasu smiled, ‘No, not always. During my first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like the rest of the drivers do. Then I heard about the power of choice.’
‘The power of choice means having the option of being a duck or an eagle. If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you probably will. Stop complaining! Do not be a duck. Be an eagle! Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.‘
He continued and said, ‘I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other taxis and their drivers. The cars were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy, so I decided to make some changes. I started with a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’
‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year, I will probably quadruple it. ‘
Wasu decided to stop quacking like the ducks and start soaring like eagles.”
Even though Wasu is in the service industry, an eagle attitude applies to everything. All of us can live a life of excellence and positivity and reap the rewards, or alternatively choose to be average and complain but make no effort to change anything.
With 2023 around the corner, may we all soar like eagles in all we do.
LESSONS FROM FOOTBALL
Dear ABQ Family,
After a World Cup final that will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time, Argentina was crowned champions of the world for the third time in their history. Lionel Messi was at the heart of his country’s title-winning push. He scored two goals to take his total tally for the tournament to seven, only one behind France’s Golden Boot Award winner, Kylian Mbappé.
These are only two of the many football heroes who showcased their talents and skills to the world in the past month, but whether you are a football fan or not, you can actually learn some valuable life lessons from watching this sport.
- WORK NOW FOR THE FUTURE YOU WANT
Games are not won on the field on match day. Victory is a culmination of endless hours of training, planning and discipline. Footballers take time to understand what makes their opponents tick and come up with a game plan to beat them at their own game. This applies to anything we want in life. An exam is similar to ‘match day’. The results depend on listening to the teacher, making notes in class, doing the homework, studying the textbook, practising old exam papers, etc. Plan and prepare for the outcome you want.
- STRONGER TOGETHER
A group of players can only be successful if they forget their differences as individuals and come together as a team focused on accomplishing something bigger than themselves.
- GET UP AFTER FALLING DOWN
Messi suffered an injury to his Achilles two weeks prior to the 2022 World Cup. No player hopes for injuries but, unfortunately, it still happens. In life, we all experience setbacks. You can either choose to dwell on them and spend your life complaining about the injustice or concentrate on getting better for the ‘next game’. A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you will not get anywhere unless you change it.
- CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Footballers are known to celebrate the first goal with as much passion as the one that wins the trophy. Learn to celebrate your achievements as they come. It will keep you motivated, especially on tough days.
- BE YOU
Each of the greats (the ‘GOATS’) delight fans with their distinct play on the field. Messi does not try to be Neymar, Mbappé, or Ronaldo. He reached this point because he competes with himself to be stronger and better than he was yesterday. Find your own style and make the most of it.
Enjoy the much-deserved break! I wish you and your family all the best until we meet again on Monday, 9 January 2023.
2021-2022 SEMESTER 2
TALENT IS NOTHING WITHOUT EFFORT
Dear ABQ Family,
Cristiano Ronaldo was named the World’s Most Popular Sports Star in 2021 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time. He holds the record for most goals and assists in the UEFA Champions League (140 and 42 respectively), and the record for most goals in the UEFA European Championship (14), its qualification stage (31), and the FIFA Club World Cup (7), as well as most goals scored in a UEFA Champions League season (17), most international goals (115), and most appearances in a European national team (180). He has scored a record 803 senior career goals for club and country. Collectively, Ronaldo has won 32 senior trophies in his career. (Source: Wikipedia)
He trains 5 days of the week for 3-4 hours and supplements that with several sessions of cardio, and even on his rest days, he goes for a swim or run.
I am not the biggest football fan, but I cannot help but admire and respect Ronaldo for his dedication. Some people admire him for his talent, but talent means nothing if he does not put in the effort.
Gary Player, a South African retired professional golfer, widely considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time, once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” This means that success requires effort. It does not just happen. You have to put in the hours to ultimately reap the reward.
The same principle applies to school. A school career is like a ladder. Students have to climb every step to get to the next one – from KG all the way to the top when they prepare for their final exams in Grade 12. When students arrive late for school daily, miss days without reason, or do not complete their homework or prepare for tests, they are trying to climb their ladder by skipping steps. Remember, the more they practice, the luckier they will get… Every school day is important. Please encourage your child to climb their ladder with commitment and perseverance. It is in their own best interest – and we are enthusiastically cheering, guiding and motivating you every step of the way.
CHILDREN HAVE NOT GIVEN UP
Dear ABQ Family,
Covid certainly has turned the world upside down. To be honest, on occasion I have caught myself thinking that it is sad that today’s children do not have the childhood we had. We may not always have thought that, but in comparison, it was fairly carefree and uncomplicated.
Today’s children are missing out on precious social interaction with their peers. They have often had to rely on online lessons for teaching. They have to wear masks. They are not currently able to participate in extracurricular activities as usual… and we do not know how long the pandemic will still carry on.
But when I actually spend time with our students, I see how they flourish and how wonderfully adaptable they are. I witness their close friendships, and the confident interaction with their teachers and I hear their exuberant laughter. I see their outstanding academic results and their ‘can do’ attitudes.
As adults, we may feel overwhelmed some days, but children have not given up. They did not lose interest. They never allowed statistics, vaccines or other challenges to get in the way of giving their best and living life to the fullest. They are as inspiring as always – now maybe even more!
Let us never teach them to be scared and disheartened by the state of the world. They should continue being hopeful that they can actually do something about it. They were born for a time such as this. Nothing is a coincidence. We should empower them to know they can change the world.
I am excited to see the magnificent fruits that these students will bear one day. They will use all the skills they have acquired during this time to make a difference – and for that, I am very excited!
CELEBRATING OUR TEACHERS (INTERNATIONAL DAY OF EDUCATION)
Dear ABQ Family,
To celebrate the importance of education, International Day of Education is observed on 24 January every year.
Today 258 million children and youth still do not attend school and 617 million children and adolescents cannot read or do basic math.
We are so blessed to be part of the caring and dynamic ABQ school family. ABQ Education Group continuously raises the bar. This challenges all of us to become the best that we can be and consequently shapes the future of education and learning outcomes in Oman.
“The ABQ Way” of teaching does not simply tick the box of basic education but gives our students the opportunity to pursue their limitless potential.
Having said that, I would also like to specifically acknowledge our teaching staff – the torchbearers of quality education and the unsung heroes during the pandemic.
Even though our teachers have regularly incorporated technology in their lessons before, 2020 was the first time most of them conducted classes entirely online. They did not have the luxury of months of training, practice and peer reviews. They just had to dive in and make it work. They had to teach the same content to the same students but had to find new ways of making online learning as interesting and engaging as an in-class experience.
Suddenly, you as parents also had “front row seats” in class, and we received overwhelmingly positive and encouraging feedback.
Naturally, nothing beats traditional schooling, but considering the present situation, ABQ still offers the best possible learning experience.
Fortunately, we now have the ABQ 1:1 Chromebooks in place. Students and staff are equally comfortable using our digital platforms, and a decision by the Ministry of Education to switch to online learning can easily be accommodated.
Sadly, this is not the case everywhere. Therefore, on this International Day of Education, I am grateful for ABQ Education Group’s visionary leadership and the dedicated teachers who bring the vision to life on a daily basis. We are indeed privileged.
Our students have had a long break since the last time they attended online lessons, and some may find it a little difficult. Please inform your PCO if there is anything we can do from our side to improve your child’s online learning experience. We appreciate your feedback.
Feel free to also share photos/video clips of your child’s online learning experience. We would love to see it and share it on social media.
If your child has excelled in any sport, culture or other activity outside of school, please inform your PCO so that we could also acknowledge their achievements. Dedication and commitment should be celebrated.
THE FUTURE WAITS FOR NO ONE
Dear ABQ Family,
“Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world.” – Lauren Bacall
It should surprise no one by now that the world is changing very rapidly, but just how fast is an open question.
The world’s first proven flying car just received its airworthiness certificate from the Slovakian Transport Authority. Yes, that’s correct – a flying car!
Last June, this car deployed some mechanical wings and took off from a runway in the city of Nitra in Slovakia and landed in Bratislava 35 minutes later. After it folded up its wings, the exotic-looking sports car drove off down the highway. The aptly named AirCar then did this 200 more times across 700 hours of flight time before the aviation authorities decided that it was reliable and safe.
Even though we have all dreamt of flying cars, we probably also did not really believe that it would ever materialise, or maybe not this soon.
According to American inventor and futurist, Raymond Kurzweil, 20 years from now, the rate of change will be four times what it is now. Things will keep accelerating from there. In 40 years, it will be 16 times.
This means if you are 30 today, when you are 50, the rate of paradigm change will be four times what it is now. By today’s standards, you will experience a year of change in three months. For someone who is 10 today, when they are 50, they will experience a year of change in 16 days.
This is the world for which we are preparing our children! Most of the jobs our current KG students will do one day do not exist yet.
A little scary? Maybe, but we are teaching our students so much more than reading, writing and maths. The reality of constant change is the fundamental driver of evolution at ABQ. We are always looking for ways to prepare our students better for life after school. Our goal for our students is the acquisition of relevant knowledge, suitable skills, and the ‘can do’ attitude necessary to continuously learn and adapt in a rapidly changing world – not only to pass the next exam. Please continue to motivate your children to do their best. As difficult as it is to imagine, we are not preparing them for the world we know today, but a world completely unknown to any of us.
Do not deprive them of the opportunity to master skills by doing tasks for them that they are able to do themselves. See it as an opportunity to learn and grow by giving them the support to accomplish it on their own. They have so much potential!
If your child has excelled in any sport, culture or other activity outside of school, please inform your PCO so that we could also acknowledge their achievements. Dedication and commitment should be celebrated.
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
Dear ABQ Family,
As a parent, you are likely to feel like you know your children like the back of your hand. You know the foods they refuse to eat and those they love. You know their facial expression when they are sad, and the exclamations they make when they are excited.
However, people – including children – are constantly changing, and developing new preferences, fears, thoughts, and emotions. Therefore, it is important to keep the communication channel open, especially with older children.
A simple question like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” seems like it might not offer much insight, but if you continue to encourage a discussion about the topic, you might be surprised as to what you can learn.
Good conversation starters can even help your child develop characteristics such as gratitude, imagination, empathy, and confidence.
You can bring up these questions when you are in the car, at the dinner table, or at any other time when you have time to listen attentively. You can even make a game of it. Print out a bunch of questions and cut them up on individual strips of paper, then have your child choose a question to talk about.
Here are some conversation starters that can help you continue to get to know your child:
- If you wrote a book, what would it be about?
- What do you think is the most important quality a person can have?
- Who is your best friend? Why is he/she your best friend?
- What should we do more as a family?
- If your pets could talk, what would they say?
- What are some things that you do not need, but are really happy to have?
- What colour do you think is the happiest? Why does it make you feel happy?
Limit “big questions” to one or two a day. Your child will appreciate your conversations when they realise that you value and respect their opinions – even if it is different from yours.
PLAN FOR THE LIFE YOU WANT
Dear ABQ Family,
Do yourself a favour and watch this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jV5WC3A_Y8.
11-year-old Wisconsin boy Jonah Larson became internet famous for his uncommon hobby – crocheting. He went viral because of his amazing skills and today has a crocheting business, more than 133k Instagram fans, over 26k YouTube subscribers and a book deal! There is no doubt that he is a bright kid.
Jonah wants to be a surgeon one day and crocheting helps with hand dexterity.
He was born in Ethiopia and got adopted by a beautiful family. At the age of 5, he discovered crocheting and several YouTube tutorials later he was completely hooked. Jonah began making mittens, blankets and table runners.
He started off by saving his money, but now, Jonah uses his talent to give back to his homeland, Ethiopia. He sends his goods and collects funds to help Ethiopian children achieve their dreams.
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” – Sean Patrick Flanery
What are you doing today that your future self will thank you for? Are you working towards a goal? Are you working with a plan? What are you hoping to achieve in school/life? Your goals can be on a personal and/or a professional level.
Jonah has the dream of becoming a doctor. Crocheting is getting him one step closer to realising that dream. As a bonus, he is also making new friends, developing social skills, helping those less fortunate and more.
It is never too early to plan for the life you want!
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”- Karen Lamb
BUTTERFLIES ARE RESILIENT
Dear ABQ Family,
Lately, I have seen so many butterflies. According to an online source, Oman boasts an astonishing 62 different butterfly species.
Butterflies are such a joy to watch, the way they fly about, only stopping for brief moments before they move on to the next spot.
Did you know, that butterflies do not fly like birds? Over time, they evolved an effective way of cupping and clapping their wings to generate force. Rather than flapping their wings up and down like birds, butterflies contract their bodies, making a slanted figure eight pattern with their wings. As the butterfly’s body contracts, the motion pushes air under their wings, effectively propelling them through the air.
Butterflies also use their wings to make an erratic fluttering pattern, which is unique to butterflies and makes it very hard for predators, especially birds, to predict which way they will fly.
Typically, butterflies represent transformation, hope and life. They look completely carefree when you see them in nature, but it sure has not been an easy journey since the moment they hatched from the egg as a tiny caterpillar.
We delight in their beauty, but rarely consider their hard work to reach that point. All butterflies experience numerous challenges along the way. However, that is exactly what made them develop the strength and tenacity to now live life to the fullest, enjoying the sweet nectar in abundance.
ABQ butterflies are the same. Over the last two years, the students had to evolve and adapt to the ‘new normal’ with such boldness, that they inadvertently acquired unbelievable life skills. These skills will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Remember, nothing instils determination, strength of character and courage like challenges and setbacks.
The next time you see a butterfly, keep in mind that those beautiful wings were earned through perseverance and dedication, not by giving up.
NEVER STOP DREAMING
Oman’s Mays Motors launched the Sultanate’s first electric car, Mays iE1, recently.
The car has a carbon fibre body and is technologically similar to international brands such as Lamborghini and Ferrari. Its battery can be charged at home and it has a driving range of 500km+. It can accelerate from zero to 100km in less than four seconds.
Experts at Tesla, Maserati, BMW and Porsche have complimented the design of the car and predict global success for Mays iE1.
Mays Motors expect to make about 600 cars in the first five years. Mr Haider bin Adnan al Zaabi, the co-founder of Mays Motors, said that this electric car is the beginning of a new and promising sector in the Sultanate.
Oman ranks 71st worldwide in terms of size and 120th on the list of countries by population. Nonetheless, Oman is yet again competing on the world stage of technology and innovation.
Oman may be a small country, but that has never stopped anyone here from excelling. Oman competes daily with the best of the best – with strength, boldness and confidence, never shying away from the action.
Oman is using some of the most cutting-edge technology in the world to produce oil from its uniquely challenging reservoir structures. It has earned its reputation as one of the greatest shipbuilders in the world. Ask any equestrian which horse breed they desire the most and the answer would undoubtedly be the Omani breed, known for its incredible speed, endurance and stamina.
Oman is responsible for producing a whopping 17% of all frankincense produced worldwide. It is rated amongst the top 20 countries in the world in which to invest or do business. In 2021, Oman Air received a 5-star rating from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). This prestigious award is given to less than 10% of the world’s airlines. Oman is amongst the world’s top five safest places. And the list goes on…
We live in a small, but amazing country – a country where dreams do come true.
“Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”- Harriet Tubman
May we never stop dreaming!
READERS ARE LEADERS
Dear ABQ Family
We recently celebrated Book Week and I read an interesting article on how even a small increase in daily reading practice could make a huge difference for all students.
- 30 Points
Results show that students who read more frequently have higher scores – and the score gap between frequent readers and infrequent readers gets bigger as students get older. Among nine-year-olds, there was only an 18-point difference between children who reported reading “never or hardly ever” and those who read “almost every day.” By age 13, the gap widened to 27 points. At age 17, it further increased to 30 points!
- 54% of All Students
A mere 18% of students read 30 minutes or more per day. 28% had 15-29 minutes of daily engaged reading time. The remaining 54% read less than 15 minutes per day!
- 3. 13,700 Words
Researchers estimate that children learn 1 new word for every 1,000 words read. Between kindergarten and Grade 12, students with an average daily reading time of 30 or more minutes are projected to encounter 13.7 million words – so they should learn around 13,700 new vocabulary words from independent reading practice alone.
- 70% more
Reading skill matters for more than just reading! Students in the top third of reading skills answered 70 percent more math and science questions correctly than students in the bottom third, even on questions with low reading difficulty. The top readers answered 66 percent of these questions correctly, compared to only 39 percent correct for the bottom readers.
Let us continue to encourage regular reading time. Author, Frank Serafini, said, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
Dear ABQ Parents,
Mothers and their children are connected even before birth. All those months spent together mark the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Mother’s Day is celebrated on 21 March every year. It is the perfect opportunity to make an extra-special effort to recognise and appreciate mothers’ roles in our lives.
It probably comes as no surprise to mothers that they can literally feel everything their child is feeling—and now science can even explain the reason why.
With the aim to understand the time-honoured and incomparable bond between mothers and children, researchers behind a recent study used brain imaging to test teenagers and their mothers on neural pathways of empathy. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in a stressful situation, and then visualise a family member in the same situation.
Mothers experienced “high-self overlap,” which means, that when they pictured their children in stressful situations, their brains showed reactions that were almost identical to the tense circumstances they imagined themselves in.
This maternal bond is even seen in nature. A newborn killer whale does not sleep at all for the first month of their lives, which means the orca mother does not get to sleep either. Instead, they continuously swim, which helps to avoid predators and helps the baby to build important fat reserves and muscle. The mortality rate for young orcas is high, so it is extremely important that mothers are around and on high alert to provide protection.
Even though this is very interesting, we do not need science to know that we need, love and appreciate our mothers.
To all ABQ mums, a big thank you for pouring your hearts and hard work into nurturing your children to create a better future for them and all of us.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Dear ABQ Family,
Every year, at 8:30PM on the last Saturday of March, supporters across the globe take action and raise awareness of the challenges facing Earth.
Earth Hour (https://www.earthhour.org/) aims to increase awareness and spark global conversations on protecting nature and working together to shape a brighter future for us all. Earth Hour asks people to turn off any non-essential lights for one hour and is now one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment.
After switching off your non-essential lights at 08:30 PM on the 26th of March, here are some ideas of how you can make it an impactful evening for your family:
- Reconnect with nature
Spend the Hour outside with friends and family. Explore your nearby parks, beaches, or other natural spaces or go camping or stargazing!
- Cook a meal with your family or friends
Dine by candlelight this Earth Hour and cook some planet-friendly dishes. Challenge yourself to prepare a meal where nothing gets wasted.
- Spend time with your loved ones
Stay in and use the Hour to spend some quality time with those who matter most to you. You can watch a movie, play board games, listen to music, or read a book together by candlelight.
- Up your knowledge
Awareness is the first step before action. Use the Hour to learn more about our incredible planet, the challenges we face, and what we need to do to turn things around.
- Connect with (and give back to) your community
Find out about organisations in your community that need help. For example, volunteer for park, beach, or nature clean-ups, tree-planting initiatives or the upkeep of community gardens.
- Get active
It’s hard to take care of our planet when we are not taking care of ourselves! Get moving and get sweating this Earth Hour by enjoying a night cycle or night run.
- Discover your artistic side
If you do not feel like working your body, work your creative mind! Upcycle something around the home or in your wardrobe. Try painting with glow-in-the-dark, non-toxic paint. Write a song with lyrics about nature and our planet or compose music using nature sounds!
Earth Hour demonstrates the power of collective action. Please share photos with your PCO of how you spent Earth Hour this year. We look forward to seeing it.
WORLD HEALTH DAY
Dear ABQ Family,
Welcome back for the last couple of months of this academic year. Ramadan has started and I wish you and your family a peaceful and blessed time. Ramadan Mubarak!
You have probably heard the quote ‘Health is Wealth’. 7 April is World Health Day. It is celebrated annually and each year draws attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The World Health Day theme for 2022 is Our planet, our health.
Everything that keeps our lives moving comes from nature. Whether it’s energy; renewable or non-renewable, it all comes from the same environment. When we preserve the environment, we are giving back to the planet, and ultimately looking out for our own best interests.
If we say as a School Family that “We Care”, world health is definitely something to be concerned about. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic. We live on a polluted planet and diseases like cancer, asthma and heart disease are on the rise. On World Health Day 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will focus global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy.
WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes. This includes the climate crisis which is the single biggest health threat facing humanity.
One undeniable fact is that we only live because nature offers us resources. Whether we want to hear it or not, if nature is gone, we will also disappear with it. Therefore, caring for the environment is a great way to show that we care and appreciate it.
If you think we have a choice, it is not the case. Caring for our environment is a must. If we want to guarantee ourselves a healthy life, as well as a good life for future generations, it is a must that we preserve our environment.
Think of practical ways how you can reuse, reduce and recycle, even during Ramadan. We only have one planet!
Dear ABQ Family,
In a recent study, the percentage of 12- to 14-year-olds engaged in each type of Internet activity were: educational activities (94%); downloading/watching music/videos (79.2%); social networking (67.1%); playing online games (60.3%); general browsing (56.6%); emailing (49.9%); accessing news, sport, weather sites (31%) and creating online content (15.6%).
Social interaction over the Internet or simply social media plays an important role in the lives of many young people. Here are a few important matters to discuss with your children, especially teens:
- Sharing too much: Make sure your child is not sharing too many personal details online — even if it seems innocent — because, over a period of time, details can offer insight into the bigger picture of their life.
- Think twice: Children should be mindful of what they post. There is no delete button on the internet and anything can come back to haunt them unexpectedly in terms of future job opportunities, relationships and general well-being.
- Connecting with strangers: Children should know that it is completely unacceptable to develop relationships with strangers online. It is a good idea for parents to periodically check in with children while they are playing online games and to always have open lines of communication.
- Allowing your child to get on social media too early: Put off children’s use of social media for as long as possible. However, if you do allow your child to have social media early on, you should have all the passwords and access to all accounts to monitor their behaviour while they learn how to properly use and navigate the internet.
Regardless of when you give your child a phone, you want to restrict their use of it. It is recommended that there should be tech-free zones/time slots at home that everyone respects, i.e., there should not be cell phones during meals, limit cell phone use on vacations and implement tech blackouts around bedtime.
A healthy relationship with screens depends on the types of activities your child is doing online as well as balancing screen time with other activities like sleep, connecting with family and friends, exercise, and time spent outdoors. Make sure the lines of communication remain open and have your children use their devices where you can check over their shoulder from time to time.
Our children are part of a generation that never knew what life was like before the internet. Since they are online from a much younger age than we were, it is important to teach them about the risks and pitfalls. Social media is unavoidable – but you want to protect and equip your children with the knowledge and skills to remain true to themselves and what you taught them at all times.
KINDNESS IS NEVER WASTED
Dear ABQ Family,
Last week, heavy rains and flooding battered the eastern coast of my home country, South Africa, severely damaging many roads and leaving 40,000 people without shelter, power or water for days on end. Close to 400 people lost their lives, with several victims still missing and currently being searched for. In Durban, the largest city in this region, 307mm of rain fell in only 24 hours, which is more than four times their normal amount for the entire month of April.
Within hours, several organisations and individuals stepped up and offered their time, homes and services to make a difference in the lives of those affected. Everyone in that area was affected, but they chose to focus on those more in need than themselves.
I saw the same happening in Oman last year when Shaheen hit large parts of the Omani coast. People saw a need and immediately stepped up to get involved, not focusing on their own needs, but rather on those around them.
Charity is a key part of Ramadan and real charity is giving from the heart without expecting anything in return or taking any credit.
You have probably all heard the story about the young girl who was walking along a beach where thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at the beach! There are so many starfish, you are not even beginning to make a difference!”
She bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference for that one!”
Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and hundreds of starfish were saved. (Adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren C. Eiseley)
We cannot fix the world’s problems, but let’s do what we can to make a difference where we are. Do something for someone today that can never repay you. No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY
Dear ABQ Family,
International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated annually on the 12th of May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Nurses serve on the frontlines of the world’s healthcare system, and today’s healthcare environment calls for tenacity and hard work.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank our school nurses. They perform a vital role within our school family. Their primary role is to manage the general health of our students during the school day, as well as our staff and visitors as required.
Why do nurses display such dedication to their profession? Nursing is not just a job but offers an opportunity to help and serve others. The very act of nursing calls for compassion.
Our school is blessed with two dedicated and caring nurses on campus, attending to any day-to-day ailments. Our clinic staff live out our school’s ‘We Care’ motto daily. Due to their professionalism and the pride they take in their jobs, most people do not even realise how many students they attend to during a typical week and their empathy and kindness often go unnoticed.
They are strong
yet they are compassionate.
They often walk with determination,
yet they have the gentlest of touch.
They are educators
as they are always willing to teach
and share their knowledge.
They are good listeners
and always seem to be there
when you need them.
They are NURSES.
Nursing is a work of heart and we thank our dedicated nurses for their steadfast and selfless service to our school community.
COVID REGULATIONS LIFTED
Dear ABQ Family
I was delighted earlier this week when the Supreme Committee announced the lifting of all Covid-19 precautionary measures. This decision was based on the available data and statistics about cases of infection, and patients admitted to hospital wards and intensive care units pointing to a gradual decline in the pandemic’s curve within the Sultanate of Oman.
As mentioned, Covid has not completely disappeared yet, but due to the devotion and care of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, the Supreme Committee and the Departments of Health and Education, we finally reached this point of the battle. Let’s continue to act responsibly and considerate of those around us – especially when feeling sick.
This brings me to the following –
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you as a school family for your dedication and perseverance during this time to keep our school community safe. The past two years were not easy, but you displayed strength of character and resilience throughout. You wore your protective masks whenever you had to. You adhered to physical distancing. You stayed at home when you displayed any Covid-related symptoms. I know that the limited extracurricular opportunities and excursions were also not easy to deal with, so THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE! It made our first in-person Grade 12 graduation experience even more special last week.
A big thank you to our teachers. The pandemic impacted on the way they taught, how the students learned, how they engaged with one another and how they used the facilities and equipment available at school, to name only a few challenges. They have all stepped up and worked tirelessly to make sure that our students were safe and could continue learning uninterruptedly, both online and face-to-face.
Thank you to ABQ Education Group which was at the forefront of online education when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Oman. Our students were the first to receive a free, preloaded ABQ 1:1 Chromebook to ensure uninterrupted learning, facilitated in the most effective manner. That played a key role in our academic success over the past two years.
And finally, thank you to all our support staff who steadfastly proceeded with the tasks at hand and enabled the school operations to continue.
ABQ Family, you make me proud!
Remember: “Courage and perseverance make difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Adams
EARNING YOUR WINGS
Dear ABQ Family,
It is that time of the academic year when we are tying up all the loose ends, ticking off the final ‘to do’ lists and preparing for the exams.
We are also officially in Graduation Season! The KG 2s, Grade 6s and Grade 12s are all completing a very memorable phase of their educational journeys, and preparing for a new, even more challenging time ahead.
The annual graduation ceremonies fill my heart with wonder and gratitude every year. It is a privilege to witness how each student has grown in confidence, knowledge and compassion.
I notice the students’ beaming smiles. I see the cellphone cameras of the proud parents. I also notice the teachers uttering a sigh of relief as yet another year can be ticked off as ‘very successful’. Graduating means that everyone has put in the necessary work to move on to the next phase of their lives.
I think we sometimes underestimate the importance of celebrating the successful completion of an important milestone. The joy of graduating at the end of Grade 12 after many years of schooling is rewarding and beautiful, but the effort and challenges to eventually reach that point are also necessary. It is an important part of children’s growth and development. It is this rigorous journey that creates and molds your child and gives them the ability to become the best they can be! Children need to go through every step of the journey – even during the tough times.
Being part of an excellent school, learning new facts and mastering new skills every day, all contribute to giving your child the resilience and courage to leave the school one day as a well-experienced ABQ butterfly, equipped to make the world a better and more beautiful place.
We delight in the beauty of butterflies but rarely consider their efforts to reach that point. Let us not forget to celebrate and cherish each of the beautiful milestones on our children’s journey to develop their magnificent butterfly wings.
WORLD OCEANS DAY
Dear ABQ Family
Earlier this week I read about a green turtle that returned to the shores of the Sultanate of Oman after 31 years to nest in the South Al Sharqiyah Turtle Reserve. Environment Authority specialists were able to identify this turtle as one of the turtles numbered on 30 March 1991 by the now-retired observer, Rashid Al Amri.
The Sultanate of Oman has a coastline of 1700 kilometres. Considering the fact that over 100,000 marine animals globally die every year from plastic entanglement and ingestion alone, this article should bring us great joy.
World Oceans Day is celebrated on 8 June every year and reminds us of the oceans’ major role in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere.
Did you know?
- The ocean covers over 70% of our planet.
- The ocean produces at least 50% of the oxygen of our planet.
- The ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
- Oceans absorb approximately 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.
The purpose of World Oceans Day is to inform everyone of the impact of human actions on the ocean.
The ocean is now in need of support.
The ocean is home to most of the earth’s biodiversity and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world.
With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. We need to work together to create a new balance so that the ocean no longer depletes its bounty but instead restores its vibrancy and brings it new life.
Let us all be part of the solution, not the problem.
Have a blessed week!
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY
Dear ABQ Family
Sunday is Father’s Day!
Historians have recorded that there was already a tradition to celebrate Father’s Day thousands of years ago. A study showed that 4,000 years ago in Babylon a son called Elmesu carved a father’s day message on a clay card. In his message, Elmesu wished his father a long and healthy life. There is no knowledge as to what happened to the father-son duo but several countries retained the custom of celebrating Father’s Day.
Fathers play a role in every child’s life that cannot be filled by others.
- Fathers and emotional development
Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instils an overall sense of well-being and self-confidence.
- Fathers set the bar for relationships with others
Fathers not only influence who we are inside but also our relationships and interactions with others as we grow. The way a father treats his children will influence what they look for in other people. Children will even choose their friends based on how they perceive the meaning of the relationship with his or her father. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how his children relate with other people.
- Fathers and their daughters
Young girls depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father shows his daughter what a good relationship with a man is like.
- Fathers and their sons
Unlike girls, who model their relationships with others based on their father’s character, boys model themselves after their father’s character. Boys will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. As human beings, we grow up by imitating the behaviour of those around us. That is how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same. (Source: www.pediatricsoffranklin.com)
And students, don’t forget to tell your dad you love him and thank him for always being there for you!
WE ARE THE BUTTERFLY SCHOOL
Dear ABQ Family
Butterflies have been on earth since what scientists call the “age of flowering plants,” dating back 135 million years, which means they are as old as some dinosaurs. They have inspired humans for thousands of years with their delicate nature and the immense power they possess.
I often hear little ones refer to our school as the Butterfly School. It always makes me smile because we ARE indeed a Butterfly School. Our ABQ butterflies are as resilient as real ones, but they also have kind natures – true to our We Care motto.
At school, we have the wonderful privilege of witnessing the gradual development and awakening of each student firsthand and this time of the year reinforces that experience even more. As soon as the first graduation ceremony for the year starts, the transformation suddenly hits you. Not one of the students is the same as when the academic year started in September. Each one of them progressed and grew so much in knowledge, confidence and personality. Even looking back at photos on our social media platforms taken throughout the year is an affirmation that the ABQ team is doing an exceptional job at equipping our students for life and they are creating a welcoming space for all our students to grow.
We pride ourselves on having a school where staff and students feel safe, have a sense of belonging, are treated with respect and have the right to learn and flourish. They are surrounded by a caring school community, where we are united in purpose, where everyone matters, and no one is left behind.
You may not think about it too often, but your children are truly blessed to be part of the ABQ Family. Students who receive a well-rounded education are better prepared for the future. Besides developing a wider range of factual knowledge, they are also provided with the additional skills necessary to succeed in an ever-changing environment.
We are nearing the end of the school year and I can honestly say you have made a wise decision to choose ABQ. We have a fantastic school with a supportive and involved parent community, dedicated and highly competent staff, excellent resources and facilities and the most fantastic students to work with.
We are sure that with the help and continuous support of all stakeholders, we will be able to take our school to an even higher level of excellence in the coming year.
SUPERHEROES ARE REAL
Dear ABQ Family
Many people are fascinated with superheroes. A superhero is a fictional character that possesses superpowers. They have abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fit the role of the hero, typically using their powers to help the world become a better place or dedicating themselves to protecting others. We love superheroes because they show us how a single person has the capacity to make the world a better place if he puts his power to good use.
We all know Superman, Batman and Spiderman, but recently a real man risked his own life to save two young children (13 years and 7 years) from a flash flood in Wadi Bahla.
Mr Ali bin Nasser Al-Wardi had no idea what was about to happen when he asked his father to go out in the rain and enjoy the beautiful scenery at Wadi Bahla at the beginning of the khareef season. On arrival, they saw two children helplessly caught in the fast-flowing wadi. Without Mr Ali’s help, the children had very little chance of survival. He took off his dishdasha and his father tied the rope around his waist, holding on tightly to the other end.
He was only thinking of saving the two children and was praying to God to help him save them. He shouted to them to remain calm and look around them for anything stable to hold onto, but there was nothing. He managed to reach them despite the mighty force of the water.
Mr Ali’s father and a group of citizens who had gathered by then, pulled the rope until he reached the bank with the two children. He thanked God for enabling him to save the children.
This story really inspired me, and for so many reasons.
Firstly, we all want to be a hero, but not many of us truly have the strength to go for it when the opportunity arises. It is easy to stand on the riverbank but staying there would not have saved the children’s lives. Be brave and do things for people not because of who they are or what they can do in return, but because of who you are.
Choose carefully who you trust to hold your rope. The article said his father tied the rope around Mr Ali’s waist and held on tightly to the other end. The water was dangerous. Mr Ali could not have entered the wadi if he did not trust his father. His father was not only responsible for the survival of his own son, but he also had the lives of the two young children in his hands.
Praise be to God. Mr Ali thanked God for choosing him to be at that spot at that moment. He realised that he could not have done it without God’s help and did not take the credit for saving the children.
The world sure needs more people like Mr Ali bin Nasser Al-Wardi. May we all be brave when the opportunity arises to step up and be a superhero.
The video of Mr Ali’s heroic deed is available on Facebook (Oman Observer). WARNING: The video may upset sensitive viewers: https://fb.watch/dU_Tfn7x3N/
WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER
Dear ABQ Family,
It was a bright sunny morning, and a group of boys decided to play a football match. Each one of them decided to bring some items for the game. One boy brought a ball, another boy, the corner flag. And the same with the goalkeeper gloves, marking chalk, goalposts, etc.,
Everyone gathered at the park to pick the teams. Soon there was an argument about who will select the team members.
They decided that the person who had brought the most valuable object for the game should pick the team.
They couldn’t decide who that was.
They decided to start playing with all the objects they brought and one by one they will get rid of the items to see which is most important to play the game. The game started.
The first thing they got rid of was the whistle because they thought the referee could shout instead of whistling. Then the goalkeeper removed his gloves and started playing with bare hands. Then they replaced the goalpost with a couple of bins.
And finally, they replaced the football with an old tin.
While the boys were playing the game, a father and son saw them playing. The father said to his son, “See the boys and learn from them. Without a football, they are managing to play, but they will never improve their game by playing with those objects.”
One of the boys heard him and told his friends. They realized that because of their individual pride, they were not enjoying the game. Also, they were not playing a proper football match even though they had all the necessary equipment.
The boys then decided to put their selfishness aside and started playing with the items they had. The match started. The boys were enjoying the game and improving their skills.
By working together, they did not only make the team stronger they also got to improve their personal capabilities. Thank you, Team ABQ, for your contributions to making our school stronger this year. Together we are stronger!
On the blessed occasion of Eid Al-Adha, we wish you and your loved ones joy, happiness,
2021-2022 SEMESTER 1
OMAN YOUTH DAY
Dear ABQ Family
Author, Neil Postman wrote, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”
This means that the values we instil, the examples we set and the lessons we teach them, will shape the future of our country and the world. That is indeed a huge responsibility!
What is the message we are sending to our children?
In all my years of being involved in education, my admiration for children just multiplied in the last 18 months. Seeing how they dealt with the effects of the pandemic, simply confirmed what I actually always knew – children are so much more resilient than we think, they make the best of any situation, they WANT to learn, and will make it work no matter what, they need our unconditional love and support, they are technologically much more advanced than adults, and their voices in the passages at school make any day better!
We must never forget – children are like wet cement, everything they see, hear, taste, smell, and touch is imprinted on their lives. For Omani Youth Day on Tuesday, 26 October 2021, let us remind ourselves that we have the privilege of setting good examples for our children. They learn much more from who we are than what we say. By how we live, we have the power to shape their lives for the better.
ONE MAN CAN PLANT A FOREST
Dear ABQ Family,
Earlier this week, I read about an Indian man named Jadav Payeng. As a boy, Jadav was concerned by the severe destruction deforestation and erosion were causing on his island home in India’s Brahmaputra River so he began planting trees. He planted one tree every single day for 40 years.
What began as a small thicket of bamboo, grew over the years into a 1,360-acre forest bigger than Central Park in New York. There is even a children’s book written about his inspirational example called, The boy who grew a forest.
This incredible man-made forest is now home to hundreds of elephants, rhinos, boars, reptiles and birds. Jadav says he is planning to plant trees until his “last breath”.
Why am I telling you this? Because all of us can make a difference. When Jadav started, he was still a child. He probably did not even think he would be doing it for 40 years. He started by planting only one tree a day.
We recently celebrated National Day and have the two official holidays coming up on Sunday and Monday 28 and 29 November 2021. To demonstrate our love and appreciation for this country, we can also make a difference where we are. We do not have to plan complicated projects, but by simply keeping our surroundings clean, supporting local businesses to improve the country’s economy, and helping those in need, we can make this country even better. Remember, Jadav only planted one tree a day… One person can indeed make a difference!
Many of our students have been at home for most of the 2020-21 school year, and even though some followed the hybrid model, it also eventually resulted in them spending long periods away from campus. By no fault of their own, our students are not used to being in the more formal learning environment with fellow classmates anymore. One of the greatest benefits of attending school on campus is the essential social skills obtained from it. Children learn to work together towards a common goal, healthy competition is beneficial to their overall development, and they learn to focus and apply their minds despite the ‘distraction’ of having peers around. We have noticed that some students are finding it harder than others to settle back into the normal school routine, but our caring and well-experienced staff are making every effort to create a safe and welcoming space for all students.
We look forward to launching some of our extracurricular activities in the second semester and I do believe that this will also have a positive influence on our students’ behaviour. They often do not realise all the skills they are acquiring whilst doing something they love in a relaxed and more informal setting.
The timetables and study guides for the end-of-semester assessments have already been communicated, and students should please use the next couple of days for revision.
The first semester ends on Thursday, 16 December 2021 for the two-week Winter Break. The school reopens on Monday, 3 January 2022.
SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD
Dear ABQ Family,
The Winter Break is around the corner, but for most of our students, it means that they first have to get through their assessment weeks. The timetables and study guides for the end-of-semester assessments have been communicated and some of the Secondary students have already started writing.
The normal school hours apply and students write the relevant assessment as part of their school day.
Your child needs your support and encouragement. This week, I would like to focus on how you as a parent can best support your child through this period.
Maintain a balanced diet and routine
Nutrition plays an important role in keeping energy levels up. Make sure there are plenty of healthy snacks in the fridge and try to provide good, nutritious food at regular intervals.
A good night’s sleep is very important. All studying should end at least an hour before bedtime to allow them to unwind. This will calm their nerves and keep them alert on the big day.
Limit digital distractions
It is difficult to steer clear of digital devices completely, but it is important to limit digital distractions as much as possible.
Your child should be motivated to give their best during assessments but avoid promising expensive gifts. A family outing after the assessments is a good idea as it will also help take the pressure off.
Be a sounding board
Ask them how their assessment went without blaming them for anything they got wrong on the answer sheet. Be encouraging about the remaining tests and keep them hopeful about the outcome.
Focus on the next day’s papers
It can be helpful to review the next paper. Simple questions, such as “What is up next?”, “Are there any compulsory sections?”, “What did the teacher highlight as important?” and so on, can be useful in helping students devise their study schedule for the time available before the next assessment.
Assessment time can be stressful for the entire family – parents included. However, focus on the fact that it is almost time for a well-deserved break. It has been a busy semester, but it was good and we have lots to be thankful for.
OUR STUDENTS’ JOURNEY
Dear ABQ Family,
We shared the latest ABQ Cares earlier this week where Mr Humayun Kabir introduced our new brand, ABQ Explorer. ABQ Explorer incorporates all ABQ kindergartens, as well as pre-KG sections at selected schools. The first pre-KG will open at ABQ Seeb International School in January 2022.
As you may have noticed, the ABQ Explorer logo incorporates a caterpillar, which represents the very start of ABQ students’ beautiful journey with us. Our students are especially blessed to be able to start and finish their school careers at one school. During their time with us, the school offers a safe and nurturing environment for them in which to grow and develop.
Every year at the Grade 12 graduation, when I see the confident butterflies ready to embrace their new phase, I think of our school’s “babies”. Our youngest students are currently a mere three years old when they start with us. Most of them learn to count here at school, they learn the alphabet, to write their names, to identify colours… and that is only the beginning.
The metamorphosis happens so gradually, and the process sometimes feels so slow, that one often do not even notice it. But our Grade 12s, as poised and mature as they are now, also had to start at the “bottom”. They had to work their way through all the grades, learning all the important lessons and mastering all the necessary skills, so that when the time comes, they are fully ready and equipped to spread their wings and fly. I feel privileged to be able to witness this process first-hand every year.
Only one more week to go until the school closes for the Winter Break. I want to make use of this opportunity to thank you for your support this semester. We realise that there were some frustrations at times, but I trust that the relevant staff managed to resolve them and that we can all look forward to an exciting new semester starting in January.
To those of you travelling, may you enjoy your travels, and return home well-rested. If you are unable to get away for this period, make the best of your time at home and use these two weeks to do fun activities and make memories with your family.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FIRST SEMESTER
Dear ABQ Family,
Sometimes, to fully embrace the way forward, one has to look back briefly in order to appreciate how far we have already come during the first semester. Here are some of the highlights of the past three months:
- We welcomed all our staff and students back to school for on-campus learning – for the first time in over a year.
- We demonstrated our “We Care” motto in several ways:
- the “Pink Day” cancer awareness drive
- the anti-bullying “Funky Sock Day” campaign to celebrate differences
- and our Shaheen collections to help those affected by the cyclone
- and the voluntary beach clean-up in North Al Hail.
- We launched our improved House System, including some of the smaller scale inter-house activities, issued House badges to all students and announced the House leaders and House captains.
- We introduced this weekly newsletter to keep you well-informed of all the exciting things happening at school.
- We hosted an online parent information meeting for each section of the school.
- We had several fun dress-up days. Some were section-specific and others were for the whole school.
- We celebrated Oman’s 51st National Day with great enthusiasm and pride.
- We acknowledged several special days: Omani Youth Day, World Children’s Day, Omani Women’s Day and Al Mawlid Al Nabi.
- To encourage interest and enthusiasm for various school subjects, we run several themed weeks throughout the year and have already featured Arabic this semester.
- We had a Parent-Teacher Conference to discuss students’ interim reports.
- We announced our first SRC members for the year for both Primary and Secondary.
- We elected our new Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) committee and have already had meetings.
- We launched ABQ’s new sub-brand, ABQ Explorer, for all ABQ kindergartens, as well as pre-KG sections at selected schools.
- And finally, the students have just successfully completed their assessment weeks.
This list does not even include the thought-provoking lessons, the fascinating experiments, the fun discussions, the intriguing presentations, or the interactive demonstrations that take place in class daily. Thank you to our teachers who actively ignite a passion for knowledge and a love for learning in each of our students.
I can honestly say, your child is blessed to attend ABQ Azzan Bin Qais International School where quality lessons and passionate teachers are not the exceptions, but the rule. They are