As a new family, I am delighted to reflect on NAIS Dublin since joining last September.
We moved from London to Dublin during the summer of 2019. Our two girls (10 & 12) spent the last three years in a large international school in England. Prior to that we lived in Connecticut (USA). Each location has come with very different curriculum and the girls have capitalised on each program encouraging them to build new skill sets.
As I reflect on NAIS Dublin, three areas truly radiate my review. We are continually impressed with the way our school interprets the IB framework through their teaching philosophy and style. Back in September, we were hesitant to understand why studying the history and rules were required in PHE before the physical play of the game. Flash forward and my daughter is now appreciating all such lessons with a deeper degree. In one assignment, she was assessed in the role of a PHE teacher defining and teaching rules of a new game to her peers while being videotaped as a PHE instructor. Subjects and skills are merged for a full learning experience in NAIS Dublin while children are groomed into global and responsible citizens. Historically, we thought that doing work a level beyond the current grade was advantageous but the IB style results with deeper focus, less memorization and a more hands on way of learning each specific subject. The IB seems to begin as a framework and becomes more specific with each year. The MYP offers an enhancement to the curriculums we have seen in the past. My daughters ability to relate math and science through a genetics lesson has resulted in her ability to better relate to our dinner table conversations and the current news. The Grade 7 design project, in which students develop, market and print their own product on the School's 3D printer is also a crowd favourite. We knew our school was built in a “state of the art” building but we would not have anticipated these projects to surface until many years later in high school.
Any style of teaching is only successful and amplified by the ability of the teachers. The second strength I would like to highlight is the passion and expertise that our NAIS Dublin teachers share for teaching our children. Within a short time, the quality of each teacher became very apparent to both students and parents. At NAIS Dublin the teachers are not only excellent at teaching but many bring a unique past expertise into the classroom. Our drama teacher worked with the West End theatre groups and our design teacher was part of the google map car development program - to name just a few. Teaching beyond the text book with personal experience allows each student to better feel the importance of how the learning can be used outside the school walls. The dynamic of the staff at NAIS Dublin is very strong and the respect amongst one another at all levels is apparent. Meetings are encouraged because all share a desire to have the best team and offer the best education.
Finally, I will highlight the importance that the NAIS Dublin Principal and Heads of School place on soliciting feedback and implementing change from both students and parents. Not only are community voices heard, but in this fast changing world of technology and expectation we are assured that we will progress with the needs and times. International schools represent the depth and breadth of our society and provide a truly global perspective.
Both of my girls have also been given excellent extra-curricular offerings, especially those offered through The Juilliard program and the PHE competitive programs. The drama offerings within NAIS Dublin are top notch and the girls are receiving teachings at a higher level than any private drama schools we have visited. My daughters are also keen on athletics and have had memorable swim competitions and are excited about the upcoming cross country, soccer and basketball tournaments. While the 2020 pandemic required a postponement of the school's planned trips to Barcelona, Budapest, and London, we know these international experiences will be as joyful as they are anticipated.
It was no surprise to me that NAIS Dublin was prepared on day one to begin virtual schooling without any delay. As the virus continued to spread, I heard that our NAIS Dublin Leadership team was testing systems and applications while preparing the teachers on a changed style of teaching. The day the school was closed my girls said without hesitation that they had been thoroughly trained on where to gather assignments and where their work should be submitted. The first day felt like it was the tenth day because it all went so smooth. The MYP maintains a very detailed schedule with multiple virtual meetings a day and assessments continuing throughout the week. My daughter honestly believes she is learning at the same capacity as she would whilst in the classroom but certainly does miss seeing her friends and teachers. The younger PYP program is more of a relaxed schedule as it encompasses all children in primary school. After the first two weeks of virtual learning, a survey allowed parents and teachers to weigh in on the strengths and opportunities. All of our families feedback was incorporated and the final product has been phenomenal. We are really proud of our school and so thankful for the love and learning that happens both inside and outside of the walls of NAIS Dublin.
Written by Jennifer, Proud NAIS Dublin Parent
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