Arabic is the official language of 26 countries worldwide, and the first language of 290 million people. The United Arab Emirates has a culturally diverse society, however, Arabic still remains its official language and mother tongue. A 2013 British Council report ‘Languages for the Future’ identifies Arabic is the second most important language for school children to study over the next 20 years. Arabic is an integral part of the curriculum at Reach British School, taught right from the very start in our FS1 classrooms. Through it, our children gain a greater understanding of the society and culture of the United Arab Emirates and the ability to communicate in the language of the country in which they live.
When teaching the curriculum to native speakers, children are encouraged to become more independent in their Arabic studies, from the primary years they will use the ministry text book to read straightforward text and begin to link this to the vocabulary they have learnt. They will develop their vocabulary and use this to start writing their own sentences in Arabic letters. They will also be given some spelling words to learn each week to support their learning in class. As they progress through the primary school they will develop more confidence and become more fluent in speaking and listening. They will start to develop their knowledge of Arabic grammar and practice their reading skills, and moving up through the school there will be much more focus on grammar in their writing. As children get to the end of their Primary Years, they should be reading to gain information from text and to support their individual learning. A consolidation of skills is made to ready the students for their next steps in learning in the Secondary School.
For non-native Speakers, the emphasis of learning is on descriptive language. The learning for non-native speakers early on is much more vocabulary based with an emphasis on speaking and listening. They will also be exposed to Arabic reading materials to start developing their recognition of Arabic text. As they move through the school they will start to use these skills to start writing sentences and eventually for creating projects for special events in school.
In Early Years, the curriculum is based upon speaking and listening activities and building a child’s basic vocabulary. They will learn to say “Hello”, “Goodbye”, introduce themselves, learn numbers to ten, nursery rhymes and songs about the themes in class. They start to learn some sounds in Arabic and letter recognition.
As they progress to Year 1 (KG2), children are introduced to all the letters of the Arabic Alphabet in their single form. They will then start to learn about the three shapes of Arabic letters and their positions in words and how they can change. The children will begin to talk about themselves and the things that interest them such as toys, school or sports. They soon start to use the Ministry’s textbooks to support their learning. From the primary years, classes are split in Native and Non-native speakers and the curriculum is adapted to meet their needs.
From Year 7 (Grade 6), the native speaking children study more literature and they begin to write their own stories and work together to produce work for projects and special days in school. Students fine tune their grammar and start learning different aspects of the Arabic language to help them in both speaking and writing. As they move through the grades the focus is on students becoming more independent in their studies as they move towards their final examinations.
Children who are non-native speakers concentrate more on extending their speaking capabilities. They learn to talk more in depth about themselves and the things they are interested in. They will practice their writing skills, and begin to take assessments in aspects of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
The Islamic curriculum starts with the Quran and Sunnah as sources of knowledge, in addition to them being the base of faith and sharia. We do not look at them as material to memorise, but, rather, as a resource to generate topics and inspire thoughts and discussions in the classroom. We link the components of the curriculum system to the values and ethics brought by Islam, such as sincerity and honesty for individuals or cooperation and sacrifice for societies. We strive to make these values parts of our curriculum and a standard for our students’ behaviour.
UAE Social Studies
UAE Social Studies is taught to all students from Year 2 (Grade 1) as per ADEC guidelines. The curriculum and learning materials come from ADEC and are delivered by approved and qualified teachers. The subject matter is designed to teach the values of citizenship and loyalty in their broader meaning among our students. We will emphasize on the concepts of citizenship and heritage that combine the principles of culture, traditions, and affiliations to the UAE.