Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai – Personalised learning with a focus on bilingualism and 21st century skills
Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai | the education magazine

Founded in 2015, The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD) is a leading day and boarding school where future generations are inspired to become confident and enthusiastic life-long learners, ready to embrace the opportunities of a global world. SISD follows the full continuum International Baccalaureate (IB) programme in two bilingual English-French and English-German streams or English with additional languages (French or German with Arabic). Welcoming 1150 students from over 70 nationalities, SISD is an IB Continuum World School authorized to offer and teach the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and IB Diploma Programme (DP). SISD is also a candidate school for the IB Careers Programme (CP).

A school is an inspiring place for students to live and learn. Filled with natural light, spacious classrooms, libraries, and laboratories, SISD is designed in such a way that it inspires children and encourages learning. The school has a large eco-friendly campus that offers a wide range of sporting facilities making the most of its location adjacent to Dubai Creek. The school offers spacious classrooms of up to 100m2 with welcoming colors to make the environment stimulating and pleasant for children. The outdoor play areas include an adventure playground and a small swimming pool that are carefully designed to be safe, yet fun places for engaging activities.

Celebrating Academic Excellence
SISD aims at providing an inspiring, inclusive and challenging learning environment while celebrating academic excellence. The school encourages and supports all students to become successful, global-minded, enthusiastic lifelong learners who will confidently take advantage of future opportunities and help make a difference. Together with teaching staff and parents, students are supported to develop their potential in a motivating, multilingual and international learning environment.  The curriculum teaches children real-life skills enabling them to succeed in today’s ever-changing environment. SISD encourages children to be independent thinkers, develop excellent communication skills and become principled, open-minded individuals.

Inspiring Early Years Education at SISD
SISD’s Head of Early Years, Amina El Difrawi was born and raised in Switzerland, she completed her Master’s in International Relations at the University of Geneva. After this, she was offered a place in Swiss Bank Corporation’s graduate programme. She moved to Egypt with the intent of working in diving and becoming a teacher. With hands-on experience in teaching, she returned to Switzerland to become a primary teacher. She obtained a degree in Primary Teaching from the Training Center for Education in the State of Geneva. She worked as a primary teacher in Switzerland for 6 years, finally being promoted to Head of the School in 2008.

With her experience in decision making and general management, she has successfully implemented a special pilot programme on inclusion that is now present in many schools in Geneva. Amina has a CAS Degree (Certificate of advanced studies) in School Management from the Institut de Hautes Etudes en Administration Publique (IDHEAP), Lausanne and proficiently acquired multiple languages along the way such as French, English, Italian, Arabic, and German. Her multi-pronged degrees and experiences in teaching and leading schools have made her the best person to be Head of Early Years the SISD. With the motto, ”Freedom begins where ignorance ends.” A quote by Victor Hugo, Amina has been at SISD since 2015, working with passion and humanity to ensure every member of the community finds their right place.

Inspiring Excellence
As an IB world school, SISD shares a commitment to high quality, challenging, and international education. The IB programme creates, develops and sustains a community of life-long learners and provides a coherent learning experience. Our unique curriculum offers an engaging learning experience, the challenge of developing a real understanding of cultural diversity and the support of a thriving international community.

The Early Years Programme at SISD has been carefully designed to encourage inquiry-based learning for children aged between 3 and 5. Students are fortunate to learn in a multilingual and multicultural environment that provides a wide range of opportunities academically, culturally, socially and physically. The IB acknowledges that young learners are intelligent, capable and creative individuals who develop and learn at different rates. They explore their environment and learn about their world through play and relationships with family, teachers and community members. Early learning in the Primary Years Programme is a holistic experience focusing on the development of the whole child, addressing social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs.
In Early Years with the importance of play, students are able to inquire, explore and discover different areas both indoors and outdoors by doing free flow, continuous provision, student-led, and adult led activities. At SISD, children attend 40 minute lessons of mathematics, languages (French or German), science, social studies, Arabic, art, music, and physical education.

Learning through play
At SISD, Learning is hands-on and students are therefore given the freedom (in a prepared environment guided by the teacher), to inquire into and learn about the world around them. This encourages social interaction and teamwork. Each learning style and attainment level is taken into account by teachers, as every student learns differently. Children participate in free flow activities that allow them to progress at their own pace, develop independence and have the freedom to move between indoor and outdoor areas. Children take part in specialist classes such as Music, drama, book club, Physical Education and Art, building blocks and games of their interest to develop fine motor skills.

Early Immersion to Bilingualism
At SISD, Bilingualism is defined as the regular use of two or more different languages. The school is committed to early immersion, to develop two or more languages as well as acquire appropriate knowledge of the subject content and intercultural competence. The language input is age-appropriate, comprehensible, and both lexically and structurally rich and the language contact is action and content-oriented. According to research, it has shown that the most suitable tool that allows children to have command of more than one language at a highly functional level is the early immersion of the bilingual programme.

Technology and Innovation
SISD embraces technologies that support the school’s vision of education and make learning experiences stimulating and interactive. The school provides digital resources and learning opportunities for teachers and students to acquire the skills needed to integrate technology for real world experiences. Students gain experience and build on skills with contemporary tools that they will use to thrive and contribute in a dynamic, global affiliated world. Learners explore the issues of their world through interactive media, they connect to others via social networks and share their ideas and projects in videos and virtual galleries.

Parent School Relationship
At SISD the school recognizes that a successful partnership between the school and home is one of the cornerstones of the student’s success. The school provides open door policies for the parents to have smooth communication and cooperation. The parents are required to immerse themselves in the education process of their child. The parents are free to talk to teachers and the respective individuals about their child’s growth academically as well as socially. The school provides various platforms such as emails, face to face communication, bulletins, newsletters and school websites for better communication and understanding between parents and the school.

SISD strives to build a community of global citizens who lead a healthy lifestyle and are respectful of others and the school’s environment. In June 2016, the school received the Happy Healthy School Award, by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai, for promoting healthy eating, active living, and a positive environment. Also recently the school received the third prize in The Philanthropic School Award, for raising the most amounts of funds.

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