Aranzazu de la Linde, Emma Olde, Rosie Rainer, Lucia Rodriguez, Soler Schroder and Valeria Sinisi, after receiving a special invitation, participated in The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) , where they demonstrated Aloha's core values in abundance.
“A once in a lifetime experience” is how the students who travelled to Holland for THIMUN conference summed up the week. The theme for this year’s conference was Borders in a Globalised World and sharing the experience with 3000 students from other international schools from as far afield as Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Ecuador and Singapore was a key factor in making the conference memorable. Added to this, the standard of debating was very high, the World Forum Centre where the event took place was imposing, and the formal atmosphere created by the professionalism and rigour of the chairs of each committee, meant that it felt like we were participating in a real UN session. “Our minds were opened to the problems of today and we worked intensively together to find ways to solve them by debating and creating resolutions” said Rosie.
Fortunately some time was set aside for more informal contact between the delegates both in the lobbying sessions and over lunch, and our students quickly made new friends. One movie night was organized when a BBC documentary was screened showing the journey of some refugees from their homes in the conflict zones of the Middle East across Europe to find safety and a new life. One of those featured in the film was present and provided further insight into his experiences at a Q and A session afterwards. They were able to see a bit of the imposing city and its beautiful buildings on our tram ride to the conference every day and in the evenings when they ventured out to sample some of the night life.
Valeria, who was attending her first conference, stated “I never thought it would be such a life changing experience”, while our most experienced delegate, Aranzazu, said the week was “an unforgettable ending to my MUN journey”, adding that being part of the MUN club at Aloha was instrumental in her decision to study International Relations at university.
Mrs del Aguila, who accompanied the group, said she could not have been prouder of the students, each of whom exceeded expectations in their participation, demonstrating responsibility and enthusiasm throughout the week.
Meanwhile, the next group are preparing the topics for their conference in Barcelona in April and will be practising putting their ideas forward at our weekly sessions, energised and encouraged by the THIMUN participants who are sharing their successes and experiences.
It was a very proud moment as Sra. Rosa Gómez our Chair of Board cut the ribbon on Wednesday to allow eager parents and children to enter our new library/learning zone for the first time.
As you can see from the photos the area is a wonderful learning space complete with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books for all ages. It also includes various styles of comfortable seating to encourage reading.
No 21st century school will be complete without the latest technology therefore the learning zone also includes opportunities for the children to have access to desktops, iPads and a very high-specification interactive whiteboard to support their learning throughout the curriculum. As you can imagine the space is in high demand but has been carefully timetabled to ensure all age groups have access.
Anna Bogie, a local picture book author, read some of her books to the younger children who listened enthusiastically on the new super-large cushions. For more details of Anna her website is www.abogie.co.uk.
Tips from Aloha College Principal
There are many reasons why a child may be starting a new school.
It may be they reach compulsory school age -4, 5 or 6 years old depending on the country of residence- or when they finish Primary School and enter Secondary School. Moving to a different area or another country, or simply seeking a better educational institution are additional reasons.
Whatever the reason, your child needs to experience a smooth transition. Why don’t you consider some of Mrs Batchelor’s advice?
As a parent, you can help your child by doing the following:
1) BE POSITIVE – It is normal to be anxious about the new situation, but you need to express confidence and optimism about their start – children perceive parents’ feelings and will be influenced in one way or another.
2) BE COMMUNICATIVE – This is a crucial tip for all ventures. This means talk to your children, whether a toddler or a teenager, about the things they do in school, being responsive to their concerns. This also means being willing to learn about the school, and about the way things work, so that we can set up a proper home-school partnership.
3) BE FRIENDLY – The thought of making new friends in a new environment can be very stressful for children. We can help by making them understand that this is really an opportunity to have a new start and make different friends. Also, we need to be open to meet their new friends and parents, and to participate in school and community events
4) BE HEALTHY – Regardless of the new situation people encounter, healthy habits always help us to cope with anything in a better way. Ensure your children have plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet and have consistent routines at home.
In the school, you should be able to find:
1) A CARING ENVIRONMENT – Regardless of age, you should expect an environment with qualified professionals who care about your children’s welfare and who are able to offer them plenty of opportunities to learn. The home-school partnership is paramount.
2) CLEAR EXPECTATIONS – To have clear expectations helps in school in the same way as at home. Our children need to know what it means to make good or bad choices in terms of behaviour and work. The clearer the expectations are, the more confident the children will feel to meet their new challenges.
3) CHILDREN AS INDIVIDUALS – All children are unique and have different maturity and skills. Schools need to recognise this and be able to support them in their growth to make them well-balanced adults. This is only possible by respecting their different backgrounds and abilities, monitoring closely their progress and offering individualised opportunities to further develop their learning.
As Principal, I guarantee these expectations of the school are clearly met at Aloha College. We have welcomed many new children to our school this term, some from the local community and others from further afield. Our published Inspection Report confirms the high quality education that we provide with an “outstanding, caring and supportive ethos” (ISI Inspection Report), helping these parents to have made their choice.
Our excellent examination results (see facing page) make the school even more attractive.
We look forward to welcoming you to our wonderful school,
The full inspection report is available for public viewing at: http://www.aloha-college.com/about-us/
Elizabeth Batchelor, Principal of Aloha College, talks about the importance of a strong home-school partnership.
Children learn best when parents and teachers work together to encourage and support them. Schools alone cannot address all of a child’s developmental needs. The positive involvement of parents is essential – this all appears to be common sense, however, society has become more complex and demanding and, therefore, greater emphasis has to be placed on building good relationships based on honesty and trust.
Clear, open communication is paramount. Sharing and upholding the same values is crucial if children are to be expected to uphold the same standards at home and at school.
Children do not stop learning about values and relationship when they enter a classroom, nor do they stop learning academics and attitudes about learning when they are at home. Certainly in Aloha College we aim never to create a distinction between the roles that parents and teachers should play in a child’s development.
At Aloha College we aim to reach out to our families, always trying to make them feel welcome as full partners in the educational process. In return, our families make a commitment of time and energy to support their children both at home and at school. As well as attending parents’ consultation meetings, supporting weekly assemblies, attending informative evenings, parents of Aloha College actually have the opportunity to take part in our “wow” mornings where they learn alongside the pupils.
As an example of this, last year over 150 parents joined classes in the Primary School where they thoroughly enjoyed sharing their learning experiences. The phrase ringing in my ears as they left the school was “we wish we were back at school”. As Principal of Aloha College I am particularly blessed as I personally receive 100% co-operation and trust from the parents of our school and they fully support their children’s learning.
This is confirmed by our Independent Schools Inspection (ISI) report, which praised the success of our parental partnership in improving children’s achievement: “Throughout the school, the quality of links with parents, carers and guardians is excellent”. “Responses to the parents’ questionnaire were extremely positive and supportive of the school”. Another reason for Aloha College being such an excellent school.
Elizabeth Batchelor, Aloha College Principal
First steps towards successful, lifelong learning
As children enter the world of education they embark on an exciting journey of attainment and discovery. These initial years are crucial in instigating and embedding a love of learning, establishing a solid infrastructure of knowledge to build upon in future years.
The Foundation Stage settings are paramount in nurturing a child’s natural curiosity, teaching invaluable social skills, enabling children to build self-confidence and develop critical thinking skills, whilst teaching them how to express themselves appropriately in day-to-day scenarios.
As a parent would you prefer your child to be busy, or your child to be busy learning?
IN SCHOOL - What does learning look like in a classroom?
The setting in which children learn is imperative. Classrooms and schools that create an atmosphere of excitement and challenge, in which children feel safe to freely explore, are principal to their development. It can be tempting to guide children to the correct answers; however, children should have opportunity to learn from their mistakes and build upon their successes. Allowing them to come to conclusions of their own will mean they acquire thinking skills that will support future learning, both in school and at home.
As children are naturally inquisitive, providing them with enjoyable, independent areas of learning, such as role-play spaces, book corners and challenge areas, facilitates the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding.
With all of this in mind, children are unique in their development and learn at different rates, determined by many different factors. By providing fun, multi-sensory exploration, incorporating a variety of learning styles, children can access learning at their own level, thus participating in their personal educational journey.
FROM HOME TO SCHOOL AND BACK AGAIN
Bridging the gap between home and school is a brilliant opportunity to understand how your child learns whilst having lots of fun. As a parent you can easily provide children with the same opportunities, hence linking the home and school environments. Doing so will support children reinforcing and processing what they have learnt, making sense of the world around them.
AT HOME - How can you as parents help children at home?
This is a stage of your child’s development which is magical and full of wonderment. You have the opportunity to enhance it and it is a lot of fun to get involved in.
You can enrich your child’s learning, making connections between what happens in school and at home:
- Talk to your child about their day at school and ask them to explain their learning to you.
- Encourage thinking skills by letting your child explore their natural surroundings and asking questions about it.
- Engage your child in creative, representational play.
- Explore stories, poems and rhymes. Look at the characters, settings, illustrations and discover the fun of role play.
- Identify numbers and print in the environment, look for patterns and play simple matching/sorting games.
By Kate Edwards - Head of Foundation Stage, Aloha College