DUBAI // Beaming smiles and excited chatter were in abundance on Sunday as pupils caught up with each other on the first day of school in Dubai.
Pupils, with parents in tow, were welcomed back at Bradenton Preparatory Academy in Sports City.
Enkenyelesh Getachew, a mother-of-two from Ethiopia, was as excited as her children to see classes back in session.
“We are all very happy that school has restarted,” she said. “The kids had been away to Kenya on holiday this summer but it’s good that they will now get back into a routine.”
The school, which has more than 800 pupils aged 4 to 18, opened in 2009. It was recommended to the family by friends after they moved to the UAE two years ago.
“We were looking for an American curriculum and we heard a lot of good things about this one,” Ms Getachew said of the school, which earned an “acceptable” rating in inspections this year.
For her 6-year-old son Nathan the first day back was one of excitement and trepidation.
“I like being back because I’ll be able to see my friends again,” he said. “I enjoyed our summer holiday but I missed my friends.”
Nicholas Kjaer accompanied his two children for their first day back. “I must admit it is a bit of a relief that the kids are now back at school because there is only so much you can do to keep them entertained over the summer,” said the Dane.
For his daughter Karma, 8, it is her fifth year at the school.
“I’ve already seen one of my friends this morning and I’m looking for the others,” she said. “I was so excited to be back but the only thing is that it’s still hot outside so we would probably have to stay inside during break time.”
Dubai newcomer Katherine Vavpetic, the assistant head of the school, greeted parents and children as they arrived.
“One thing that is a little different is that in the US we don’t have school uniforms whereas here we do, so that is going to take a little getting used to,” she said.
School head Dan Young said fostering a supportive community spirit among the pupils and staff was essential to providing a decent learning environment.
“This is always a very exciting time for us because there is a real sense of anticipation among pupils and staff about what the year ahead holds.”