Table of contents
While there are many schools available in Egypt, most of them tend to focus on one thing only: getting good grades. However, as a parent and educator, you’ll realize that schools should play a much bigger role in shaping the character of your child. That’s where Utopia International School comes in and thrives to present exceptional individuals that are not just focused on academics, but on becoming individuals who thrive in the real world.
We spoke to deputy head of academic, Abdalwahhab Jamal, to help us understand the unique methods, approaches, and vision that is evident at this new school opening up in 2020.
What makes UTOPIA International School stand out?
One of the things that we focus on at UTOPIA is applying a holistic philosophy to our educational system. That means that at UTOPIA, we’re not just focused on students’ academic abilities, but we’re also concerned with the development of a students’ intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative, as well as spiritual potential. Combining all these aspects together helps manifest a whole individual and allows students to live up to their fullest potential.
How do you ensure children’s safety at UTOPIA?
For the first time in Egypt, UTOPIA International School will be fully operating on an online application policy on which parents will be able to access, manage, and monitor their children at a push of a button. This goes side by side with our state-of-the-art security systems which allow both the parent and school to track students, monitor their bus routes, and so much more.
At UTOPIA International School:
- We teach children the school’s emergency procedures as well as safe routes for any evacuation plan.
- Students know and follow school security and safety measures.
- Inform school staff about health and emotional concerns such as food allergies, disabilities or bullying.
UTOPIA follows a holistic approach. Can you give me more details on how it is applied?
Setting a positive holistic approach at school is done through proactive strategies that aim to reduce negative behavior. These include the following positive steps:
- Setting clear and consistent rules.
- Making sure the environment is safe.
- Showing interest in the child’s activities.
- Providing appropriate and engaging content.
- Encouraging self-control by providing meaningful choices.
- Focusing on positive behavior.
- Acknowledging when children do things right.
- Be encouraging and set a good example.
- Help children see and understand how their actions affect others.
What positive discipline beliefs do you implement at UTOPIA International School?
Positive discipline does not mean that students are let off the hook easily. On the contrary, it just means that students understand the importance of positive discipline through these beliefs and values:
- The core of positive discipline is that there are no bad kids, just bad behavior.
- Instead of pointing out what the child did wrong, show the child how to set things right
- Be kind but firm; show empathy and respect
- Whenever possible, offer choices
- Treat mistakes as opportunities to learn
- Set clear expectations and boundaries, and be consistent
- Use single word reminders or questions or state facts, instead of ordering or demanding compliance
- Work together to come up with a mutually-agreeable solution
- Let the child face the consequences and learn from their mistakes
UTOPIANs are exposed to the real world by participating in community service. What kind of community service do students take part in?
One of the most satisfying, fun, and productive ways to unite students, staff, and parents in UTOPIA International School is volunteering for community service projects. Volunteerism also sets a good example for our kids and helps the community because it teaches children the importance of giving back and strengthens the bond between the students, parents, and staff while doing something positive.
Through volunteering, students gain many skills, but most importantly, they learn the following:
- A sense of responsibility
- That one person can make a difference
- The benefit of sacrifice
- Job skills
- How to fill idle time wisely
Here are some of the community service ideas that UTOPIA International School focuses on:
Students get the fundraising experience by donating or raising money for charity. They can also volunteer to help at a charity auction as well as get to see the effect of doing good by helping to deliver meals and gifts to patients at a local hospital.
Helping children in need
Students will get to experience organizing a Special Olympics event for children and teenagers with disabilities. Not only that, but they can also learn to put a smile on sick children’s faces by putting on a performance for children in hospitals or giving free music lessons to those in need.
Helping senior citizens
This can be done by delivering groceries and meals to elderly neighbors or teaching them computer and technology skills.
Helping animals and the environment
Students will learn to be kind to animals and adopt an eco-friendly approach through the following tasks:
- Take care of cats and dogs at an animal shelter
- Clean up a local park
- Sponsor a recycling contest
- Participate in the cleanup of a local river, pond, or lake
- Foster animals that shelters don’t have space for
Helping the hungry and homeless
By donating old clothes or learning to sacrifice some of their toys in order to make those less-fortunate happy, students learn the importance of giving. Part of this community service also includes preparing a home-cooked meal for homeless people and being able to see the positive impact.