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How do good schools support students and parents in choosing a university?

University education is full of opportunities, but sometimes it can be hard to know which way to look first, with so many choices available – or at least know where students are headed – especially when it appears as though some have a very clear pathway, but the reality is that most will need a considerable amount of support.

The Careers and Guidance (CAG) Counsellor at Repton School aims to provide reliable validity to the source of any advice and simplify this process for each student. The key is to develop a personal plan with crucial expertise that aims to maximize their success through their chosen pathway. As a school, we also rely on strong communication and openness with parents so that we as a team can find the best possible route destination for each person.

Starting with the basics, parents can help by teasing out what their children enjoy. This dialogue at home can channel excitement and help empower young people for their future steps. In school, the formal Careers and Guidance program commences in Year 11, although students of any age are welcome to make appointments with the CAG counsellor and attend related events at school! Our CAG lead will be in school for all open days and will be accessible to any parent, no matter how young the student.

In school, and as part of the Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) curriculum, students will be given access to numerous programs including the university resource ‘Unifrog’, to help in the journey of self-discovery along with the tutors who are instrumental in delivering these programs. Students will then use this knowledge to help make informed subject selection choices for the important final two years of school in our Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13), with tailored advice from the CAG counsellor.

Once enrolled in our Sixth Form and as part of the Year 12 curriculum, a key focus is research and decision-making for university choices. Students are given resources and presentations on research tools and factors to consider when finalizing university options. Students are also given detailed information on the key destination countries that Repton students apply to, with most at the moment targeting the UK, USA, and Canada.

As part of our service to all students, the CAG counsellor provides one-to-one counselling sessions with individual students. In addition, these are the other services provided to create a bespoke program of support depending on the needs of the individual. At Repton we will continue to:

• Organize University visits/fairs from all over the world regularly

• Provide presentations on key career/university topics of interest regularly

• Enable campus visits to universities in the UAE

• Communicate in weekly newsletters covering important event information

• Continue our highly successful Oxbridge Program

• Provide application enrichment opportunities

• Support work readiness skills

Our reassuring expertise will be pivotal in Year 13, as this stage is all about applications – making sure that deadlines are known and adhered to. All the application components are carefully prepared and executed with time for feedback and improvement. The CAG counsellor is instrumental in ensuring every application that is submitted showcases the student’s talents and academic merits to maximize success. However, the end of Year 13 is not where the CAG’s help ends – most importantly when results come out the CAG is there for advice & support, and is keen to welcome back ex-students to school so that current students can learn from their experiences!

We also very much push, challenge and encourage students to go beyond their comfort zone and what they think they can do. We greatly encourage students to join academic, sporting, artistic, or musical teams, societies, or clubs. Our student leadership team also set these up themselves with the ‘Law Newsletter’ one example at Repton Sixth Form. It is these experiences that can help build confidence, positivity, and engagement within the local community and in themselves. Wider activities as part of our curriculum are set up to enable Repton students to grasp the opportunity as we know that they will not only add to the personality of a university application but also forge steps towards future careers and success.

The Importance of Reading to Your Young Children

There is no more important activity for preparing your child to succeed as a reader than reading aloud together.  Fill your story times with a variety of books.  Be consistent, be patient and watch the magic work.  Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world.  It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word.  When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk.  Even after children learn to read by themselves, it’s still important to read aloud together.  By reading stories that are on their interest level, but beyond their reading level, you can stretch young readers’ understanding and motivate them to improve their skills.

Research on the importance of reading shows that specific areas of the brain are affected when young children have reading exposure at home from an early age.  These areas are critical for a child’s language development.  For children who speak more than one language, reading is an easy way to help their language skills and is important to develop their fluency.

The more you read to your children, the more knowledge they absorb, and knowledge is important in all aspects of life.  Reading to your children leads to questions about the book and the information within.  It gives you a chance to speak about what is happening and use this as a learning experience.  It may also develop an interest in different cultures or languages.  There is nothing better than seeing a child who loves to learn.

After all, as Dr Seuss would say “The more that you read, the more you will know, the more that you know, the more places you will go”.

At Repton School Dubai, we have identified reading as a key area in a child’s overall development and through various activities like Library Storytime encourage children to read amazing stories with the help of our wonderful teachers.

How to be emotionally resilient during Covid-19

We are in a situation where life is changing and unpredictable. Words like “quarantine” and “isolation” are being used regularly and triggering us to feel in danger.

The key to taking care of your emotional wellbeing is understanding what makes you anxious and making changes. Start with these small steps that put together by our Wellbeing Advisor, Ms. Suzie Johnson from Repton Dubai:

1. Watch your language

  • Instead of “social isolation” say “staying safe” or “staying indoors”
  • Instead of “quarantine” say “keeping myself and others safe”
  • Instead of “social distancing” say “standing 2 meters apart”
  • Avoid saying the word “don’t”

2. Identify and change your thinking habits

Patterns of thinking or ‘cognitive mistakes are linked to:

  • Emotional/mental rigidity vs agility/flexibility
  • Anxiety and depression

Some types of cognitive mistakes are:

  • Catastrophizing
  • Minimizing or magnifying
  • Fallacy of control

3. Focus on what you can control

  • You cannot and will not control everything
  • Control what you can
  • Do what you can do
  • Actions are empowering and counteract fear –do not wait for motivation
  • Visualize letting go

4. Build your immunity

  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce blue light exposure
  • Eat healthy
  • Hydrate
  • Take your vitamins

5. Make your home a sanctuary

  • Declutter
  • Decorate
  • Aromatherapy

6. Limit the negativity

  • Stay close to the present moment
  • Limit news and sources
  • Highlight the positive in your daily life
  • Stay connected through online hangouts

Effort Eats Ability, Character Crushes Talent!

What do we know about the relationship between talent and effort?

Is it ultimately more important to be able to get better at something than to be naturally good at it to begin with?

This would be an interesting conversation to have with your children and your thoughts may well be biased by your own experiences.

Research would suggest that the relationship between effort and talent is rather complex. On the one hand, there’s clearly a natural tension between both qualities; one can’t be understood without the other.

Indeed, talent is essentially performance minus effort: The more talented you are, the less effort you have to put in to reach a certain level of performance. When you are not blessed with natural talents, you need to double down on effort to outperform those that do.

Exceptional performers rarely stand out just because of their natural skills or abilities; they also tend to show extraordinary drive and motivation. We hear it about sports stars such as Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo as well as business leaders like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – their talents are celebrated but it is their effort that exceeds all others and builds the foundation for their success.

Effort can be exemplified through ambition, conscientiousness, drive, grit and resilience. These attributes are developed over time and grow in an environment that celebrates and rewards effort.

These realizations are important considerations when it comes to reviewing your child’s progress and school reports. We encourage you to take the time to focus in on the effort they are putting in and discuss with them this important determiner of future success.

The Importance of Friendship for School-Age Children

Friendship is of great importance for the wellbeing and development of school-age children. Studies have noted that children who are absent of friends can suffer from mental and emotional difficulties later in life. Having a friend provides children with more than just happy times with a companion. Friendship enables children to develop emotionally and ethically. As children interact with friends they learn problem solving skills, social skills, how to share and communicate with others. Friendship allows them to work thought difficult circumstances that may arise with their friends. They learn how to control their emotions and how to respond to the emotions of others. Having friends is said to influence children’s school performance, as they tend to have an improved approach to learn when they have friends. Therefore it is safe to say that having friends has many benefits for school-age children.

What can we do to help our children make friends?

As parents we play a very important part in our child’s development. Children are not born with social-skills and so we must take an active part in teaching them to interact positively with their peers. The following tips will enable your child to develop the necessary skills of trust and self-confidence necessary to go out and make friends.

  • Teach your child to learn games and sports.
  • Set clear rules for suitable behaviour.
  • Provide your child with the occasion to encounter and spend time with other children.
  • Help your child learn to listen to others and see their point of view.
  • Help your child to problem solve and manage their destructive emotions.

The most important thing we can do for our children is to develop a loving, accepting and respectful relationship with them. This caring environment sets the stage for future relationships, including friendships.

The Importance of Curriculum Enhancements in a Child’s Education

Our last article listed 7 research based benefits of Curriculum Enhancement. We have explained them in detail below:

Boosting academic performance

The inclusion of societies into our extra-curricular programme means children can delve deeper into the academic subjects of English, Maths, Science and Humanities. Societies give students the opportunity to learn what they want in a way that brings these subjects to life. Students will have the opportunity to take charge, choosing to look at topics that interest them most. They may pose a question that they would like to answer, with support and direction from teachers. In doing so, they will be able to gain a deeper understanding of their chosen topic through research, projects, real life situations or models. This in turn gives knowledge and extends their confidence in these subjects.

Exposing them to new topics

After school programmes are a fantastic way for children to explore different subjects or skills that are not covered within the curriculum. If a child finds something they develop a passion for, whether it be playing chess or learning a musical instrument, this can help build confidence and self-esteem.

Improving social skills

Whether they are attending with existing friends, or building new friendships, extra-curricular activities nurture children’s social skills. When children attend trips or camps they have to rely on their peers for support and encouragement. They have opportunities to develop empathy, communication and team work skills- skills that will benefit them in their future education and occupations.

Creating happier and healthier children

As working days get longer for parents, these extra activities provided by schools can be a safe place for children to both continue to develop and grow, whilst allowing them to work off their excess energy, relax their minds, or to blow away any stress from the day without the need of televisions.

Developing decision-making skills

After school activities allow children to find out what their strengths are. Children are given an opportunity to decide what they do and do not enjoy spending their time doing. This can create an element of self-awareness. It is therefore important to have discussions and really listen to your child about what clubs and activities they want to take part in.

Giving confidence

Taking part in new activities with new people in an organised and productive environment helps to develop independence. Finding direction and purpose within a group or team can build confidence in children – this does not have to be a sports team, it can be as part of a choir, drama or study group.

The confidence a child can develop from going on an overnight camp or an international trip can stay with them into adulthood. School trips can help students develop a sense of autonomy. For many children going on a full camp experience when they are staying overnight, some for the first time, it can often create a sense of anxiety in the lead up especially with younger primary aged students however, as they climb back on the bus by the end of the camp, students often return home with a new sense of accomplishment and independence. As well as having built up resilience after overcoming their fears. The more children explore new situations and surroundings the more they will understand their own character.

Creating friendships with like-minded children

Extra-curricular activities can be a great place for meeting like-minded people and developing friendships with children who share the same passions. It is also a way of pupils mixing with children from other classes and year groups, widening their friendship groups.

What do Curriculum Enhancements look like in Term 3 during the Distance Learning Programme?

With Curriculum Enhancements being of such importance to our children, we continued to offer these as part of our distant learning programme. The children have been able to take part in virtual music recitals and talent shows, competitions in languages, sport, poetry and art to stretch and inspire them.

Children have continued to share their learning and acting skill through class assemblies shared with the school community, and our senior leadership continue to celebrate successes of children through virtual ‘Achievement Assemblies’ where children are recognised for all their hard work and awarded their house point badges. We have had a fantastic response to all the online curriculum enhancements.

Curriculum Enhancements Opportunities for the future

Term 3 has proven that our flexible and innovative approach to providing opportunities to enrich the curriculum and stimulate students has been extremely successful. Hence, we look forward to building on these successes and offering an even richer variety of Curriculum Enhancement opportunities to our students next academic year and beyond.

What Is Music?

Think about it this way. The concept of music is so simple, yet the magnitude of the idea is surreal. In music, we have only 7 music notes. Each note has its own frequency or pitch. Yet experimenting with these notes can create an unlimited number of songs, compositions, and performances that have a lifelong effect.

Our daily life is filled with music. We hear it in elevators, restaurants, malls, cars, schools, concerts, etc. It adds an emotional context to our experiences and affects the way we perceive things around us.

What is so special about music?

It is truly magical to see reactions of young kids when they first hear music or try a new instrument. There is always a lot of excitement and smiles that come with it. The vibration and sound waves that comes out of instruments provide an amazing feeling that is hard to describe but you can certainly feel it.

That’s why children react quickly and start moving when they hear music; they rush to play instruments without any hesitation, exploring the different sounds that they can make.

Benefits of music education

There are many studies that show different benefits to music education and music therapy and many educators and teachers have written about the importance of learning music particularly for children. Some of the benefits of music education include:

  • Memory:  memorizing music, whether songs or pieces, activates the auditory, visual and motor parts of the brain. That’s why many educators introduce new concepts or subjects through singing or using famous tunes.
  • Hand-eye coordination and motor skills: reading music requires attention and concentration. Focus and practice are especially important during simultaneous eye fixation on different notes while applying the correct fingering and technique.
  • Communication skills: music – whether through song, composition, or performance – is language that serves as an emotional outlet, which one can express unarticulated feelings.
  • Confidence: performing in front of classmates, friends, family and in larger settings boosts students’ self-esteem and confidence.
  • Mood & wellbeing: In general music helps to boost mood and has a positive effect on one’s wellbeing. This is especially important with People of Determination and many programs are developed in special music education and music therapy to support that.

How can we experience music in our daily life?

There are many ways to enjoy music with your child:

  •  Listening to classical music is definitely a good start whether you believe in Mozart’s effect or not. It is a fun activity to discuss what you hear in the music (instruments, mood, story, speed, etc).
  • You can also enjoy attending concerts live or virtually.
  • It’s always a good idea to take music lessons – whether as part of a group or privately – keeping in mind the importance of choosing the right instruments with which to start the musical journey.
  • With modern technology and free Apps like Apple GarageBand, composing music couldn’t be simpler. From simple melodies to orchestral concerto or DJ mixing and the list goes on.
  • Compliment and enjoy practice time.

To sum up

Music is a universal language that can be enjoyed in various ways. You can choose whichever way that positively impacts you and your child’s wellbeing and mental health. So let the journey begin!

Author

Nisreen Jardaneh

Head of Music

Repton Abu Dhabi