As the Early & Primary Years Principal, I write a message every year telling you more about these events like our Grade 5 Exhibition, our Sports Days and Swim Galas, field trips and special visitors to school but this year has been unlike any other year. So this message will be unlike any other.
I believe that we are not defined by what happens to us but how we respond to it. This year we all faced the challenges that COVID-19 brought, but more importantly, we rose as a school community to meet them. We had to take our learning outside of our school walls and into each and every home, and we all played a valuable part in making this work. We thought about each other, reached out to make and keep connections and helped each other in every way we could.
Every member of our school community became both a teacher and a learner. I heard stories of students who taught parents how to manage devices so they could work from home or who helped younger siblings with their reading. Parents learned more about supporting their children’s learning by working with teachers. A collaborative community developed which was so important in maintaining a new ‘norm’ for our children in the most unprecedented of times. Teachers, many of whom with years of experience, faced the challenge of transforming an inquiry-based curriculum into something purposeful and engaging, but in a virtual platform, which called for flexibility and adaptation in great measure.
All of our community members are aware of the IB Learner Profile. You will have heard the words, seen the stickers and certificates. This year we all experienced first- hand the importance and meaning of these attributes.
Our children learned more about being caring, balanced and open-minded through real-life experiences they had, as did the adults in the community. We may have missed a few weeks being in our building, but I believe we all gained a great deal of experience and real-life education.
I will look back at this year with pride and admiration for every member of our community, and I thank you all for your support, your attitude and the care you extended to each other.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our EY/PY teachers a very well deserved break. They have done a truly fantastic job this year, especially during these different and challenging times. We appreciate everything that they do for our students. Thank you also to the teachers who will be leaving us at the end of this academic year, for all their hard work and contributions to the development of the Early/Primary Years division and the wider school community during their time working at GEMS. We wish them all the very best for the future.
To our returning families, I wish you a happy holiday and look forward to seeing you back on the first day of school Tuesday 11 August 2020. To the families who are leaving us, we wish you all the very best on your new adventure and thank you for being a part of our GEMS World Academy (Singapore) community!
Safe travels, happy holidays!
Early & Primary Years Principal