Horizon English School has specially adapted its health and safety protocols to create a unique educational environment for its young learners, centred on its “safety first, safe all the time” approach.
All facets of the school day are aimed at positively reinforcing independent learning, development of gross motor skills, mental wellbeing and physical exercise in a safe and secure setting.
Ian Wallace, Headteacher at Horizon English School says, “As parents, our greatest concern is the wellbeing and safety of our children. At Horizon English School, all teachers and staff are working rigorously to ensure our young students are in a safe and protected environment, unhindered by the pandemic. Students may take some time adjusting to the ‘new normal’, which is why we have incorporated fun activities that focus on physical exercise and mental stimulants that can offset their frustration tenfold. We believe the more children move, the happier they are.”
Horizon English School has transformed the central areas of its Jumeirah campus into safe ‘bubbles’ for up to 10 children each, allowing them to move and play while social distancing and developing their gross motor skills by learning cross-curricular lessons through the idea of being active. Its younger learners begin their school day by reciting the fun and quirky ‘Bubble Song’
“Blow your bubble, blow your bubble, make it round, make it round, put yourself inside it, put yourself inside it, then sit down, then sit down…”
The catchy song incorporates actions and visuals to develop motor skills and support young learners understand the concept of social distancing in a fun and interactive manner.
Bubble stickers placed across school premises positively remind the children to practice social distancing, while table-top activities incorporate enquiry based learning that allows young learners to apply their taught skill into play based activities, showcasing their independent learning skills. For example, activities such as ‘Magical Me’ or ‘How do we use our imagination?’, incorporates a variety of books to explore students’ interests and develop the skills of collaboration, discussion and connections with their fellow classmates. These activities have been implemented into students daily timetables throughout the FS1 classrooms.
Teachers creatively use visual flashcards on lanyards to direct the eager young learners to their designated seats to begin their fun and engaging learning experience. Activities such as the ‘Challenge Chair’ support independent learning, physical development and showcase young learner’s creative skills. Teachers are constantly reinventing the ‘Challenge Chair’ by incorporating new activities each week, for example, students took part in ‘Dough Disco’ – an activity that included individual play dough pots to support physical development that strengthens hand muscles, develops hand-eye coordination, name writing practice and refining motor skills.
Teachers are also focusing on teaching phonics through a game of ‘music phonics,’ encouraging young learners to dance to the music and, when the music stops, to sit on the ground.
Horizon English School has also installed air-conditioned temperature check points with friendly ‘robots’ at both entrances of the campus that monitor body temperature. Social distancing bubble signs have been placed throughout the premises and an isolation clinic with highly experienced medical staff has been incorporated into the school site.
Classrooms have been redesigned to incorporate social distancing, including the installation of partitions on desks, and students are required to store their belongings in individual trays. Teachers and staff support with the continuous sanitization process carried out by the school, and designated cleaning staff members are working rigorously throughout the day to sanitize each bubble area and classroom.
“Parents can rest assured our school’s intricate ‘Readiness Plan’ incorporates diligent safety measures to ensure their children’s health and safety,” says Wallace.