Children move into the upper school at 13. That is a major change in someone’s life and we like to celebrate changes. Developmental milestones are important and it is great to recognize them.
The Upper School Community has 88 members, so it is a little like the Sama community. In Bahr, however, we stop referring to the students as children: they are young adults and we refer to them as students. It is appropriate because the community work they do at this age is more geared towards study and study skills than it was in Sama. Students study.
Young teenagers will be well versed in the running of meetings through their experiences in Sama. They understand how to set rules and laws for their community, how to prosper as self-directed learners, and the difference between freedom and license. Bahr is not all about book work. There is still time for free choice of action in their community and they can work together to create activities at increasingly sophisticated levels. The teachers are there to help and guide them.
The big theme that guides them is the Sea and there will be plenty of opportunities to back up their studies with real projects and activities to do with the beach and the sea. Some of these projects will be organized for them and some of them they will have to organize for themselves.
We want teenagers to get deeply engaged with their life and work at the school. We want them to see that what they are doing is connected to big issues that are going on in the world around them. There is still a solid core curriculum, but the community will help them to engage with big issues through discussion, creative work and scientific investigation.
Young adults naturally start to look out at the world around them. We encourage parents and guardians to get involved with the school through a series of events that show teenagers what they might choose to do with their studies. They will be able to see how the¡r community fits into the broader community they live in and the wider world. They will appreciate the deep connections they can form with life in Abu Dhabi and UAE.
The examination year is apart. It is a separate community of 44. We set this year apart because we think that the examination year is so important. The year is focused on helping students to do the best they possibly can in the formal examinations they take.
We offer a full range of GCSE examinations. Success in these examinations will lead on to higher level work in the Sixth Form. It is an essential base. With mock exams before and after Christmas and the examinations themselves starting right after the spring break, this is a year in which students put their heads down with a purpose.
Education at MBAT is happy and free. But it yields great results as well. And the Upper School starts and ends with celebration.