From war-torn country to happy, confident kids in Dubai


From war-torn country to happy, confident kids in Dubai

Today, they are living normal lives, thanks to the Safa British School and Safa Community School.

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Sun 9 Apr 2017, 9:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 10 Apr 2017, 12:39 PM

Six children who are receiving a free education at a Dubai school were displaced in Syria for several years. They hadn't been to school for so long and had lost hope.
Today, they are living normal lives, thanks to the Safa British School and Safa Community School. They are helping these students, not only academically, but also providing them with the necessary emotional and social support, so that they can make friends and gain good confidence levels.
Nadine Hutchinson, the Head of the Inclusion and Achievement Centre at the schools, said that the children are starting to participate more in class and are making friends. Hutchinson spoke about Lilas, 6, who is becoming popular amongst her peers.
"Lilas has become much more confident since she joined Safa. She is such a happy, smiley child who comes to school everyday excited to learn. She is beginning to speak more in English and shows confidence when talking to her peers in class. She is even beginning to contribute to class discussions, which displays her better understanding by the day. Lilas puts a lot of effort into her work and is keen to share it. She has become much more independent since she started here and it shows," Hutchinson said.
"She is a popular, friendly member of the class. All the children, boys and girls, enjoy talking to her and playing with her. When Lilas was off sick for a few days and came back to school, the rest of the class were so excited to see her. When she began to speak in English, they were so excited.

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"It was wonderful to see Lilas receive a GRIT badge for all the hard work and effort she puts into school. When she received this, it was so lovely to see her peers congratulate her and say 'well done Lilas'. One girl even came up to me after and said 'I am so proud of Lilas getting the GRIT badge'. These comments just go to show how well she gets along with her peers in FS2SO.
"This is a new world for the Syrian students, and they have done very well to adapt to this style of education. The older students have found it more difficult in some ways, as they are also facing social-emotional growth, as all teenagers do."
Hutchinson said that the teachers use collaborative learning in class by skillfully creating groups that will support the learning of each student and it has helped the Syrian students feel more confident to communicate with their peers.

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