A large part of the curriculum offered at Al Waha is adapted from the National Curriculum of England and Wales. The school follows this scholastic system in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, and the foundation subjects of History and Geography. A challenging curriculum, designed to encourage academic excellence and responsible study habits, while developing analytical and critical thinking skills across the grade level, has continuously been targeted in line with the vision of the school.
To ensure students of KG 1 and KG 2 are equipped with skills that help them meet with challenges of the Cambridge Primary course of study, the Kindergarten provides a curriculum that is a fusion of elements of Montessori education, and the conventional schooling system, based on the guidelines provided by Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) of the Cambridge Curriculum. This specially designed curriculum integrates traditional teaching with Montessori learning, targeting skill development through a range of objectives drawn from both systems. Mathematics, Language and Culture (Science, Geography, History, General Knowledge) studies work in tandem with the development of life skills through lessons in Practical Life, and Grace and Courtesy. Sensorial exploration is an essential part of learning. Children enhance knowledge firmly through movement, manipulation and self-realisation.
Addressing the needs that are typical of the formative years of a child’s growth, where information is swiftly absorbed and further built upon as maturity develops, the school incorporates into its syllabus, exercises that enhance higher order thinking abilities and provide a basis for reasoning.
With gradual progression in the acquisition of skills closely monitored, as one grade forms the foundation for subsequent grades, the syllabus includes all developmental objectives that prepare students for the scholastic challenges that lie ahead.
From Grades 4 – 8, a comprehensive academic programme leads students to target the world-recognised, Cambridge University-administered International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations in Grade 10 and the General Certificate of Education, Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced Level (GCE AS and ‘A’ Level) examinations in Grades 10, 11 and 12. The IGCSE subject options have been designed to provide each student with a Subject Portfolio that aims to deliver a broad-based, balanced and diversified curriculum including subjects drawn from each of the disciplines, i.e. Languages, Mathematics, Sciences, Humanities and Technical and Vocational. Efforts have been made to ensure that, by choosing the right combination of subjects, all students are eligible for the ICE (International Certificate of Education), a group award conferred by the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). Senior students who have been obtaining outstanding grades in English, Mathematics and the Sciences in their IGCSE examinations and have been graduating with ICE distinction and merit awards have successively done the school proud over the last several years.
Beginning with a rigorous and challenging two year GCE Advanced Level (‘A’ Level) Programme in September 2005 in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, the school has subsequently widened the scope and breadth of this academic offering. It is now possible for students to offer a combination of Advanced/Advanced Subsidiary Levels (A/AS Level) in Science as well as Commerce-based subjects with English, Advanced Information and Communication Technology, Business Studies, Accounting and Economics having been added to the subjects menu.
Founded partly on its mission of providing a modern curriculum to students in combination with Islamic teachings, and, based on the firm belief that all Muslim students need a deeper insight into the History of Islam, a suitable curriculum for History from Grades 3 – 8 has been developed. This curriculum aims to integrate crucial elements of Islamic History with essential components of ancient civilizations, Roman, British and World history that form the basis for developing the target knowledge and skills in the subject (factual recall of knowledge, critical analysis of historical events and facts, interpretation of sources etc).
Due importance is given to the subject of Information Technology and the course is designed to teach students the basic skills of computing from an early age.
All students must study a second language and they are offered an option between Arabic, Urdu, Hindi and French (available from Grade 6 upwards).
Religious instruction is an integral part of the curriculum and is delivered through lessons in Quran, Hadith and Islamic Studies for Muslim students. Non-Muslim children are offered instruction in Values Education, drawing upon the virtues and ethical guidelines advocated by the major religions of the world. Religious tolerance and the development of moral values are actively inculcated at all levels.
The study of the culture, history and geography of Saudi Arabia is taken up at all levels and special general knowledge quizzes and field trips are conducted to further familiarise the students with the heritage of their host country. In compliance with the requirements of the Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia, Arabic is a compulsory subject for all students across the grade level and all other regulations in this area, i.e curriculum, books etc. are adhered to.
The school has a holistic approach and all students are encouraged to participate widely in the full educational programme in order to get an all rounded education and develop their personalities as a whole. Numerous opportunities are offered for participation in a wide selection of activities, conducted both at the class level, as well as on stage, to provide experiential learning experiences to students.
For excellence in performance in all areas of growth, in the graduating year of Grade 3, a student is selected as the sole winner of the Roll of Honour award in Junior School. In both sections of the Senior School, one graduate each from Grades 10 and 12, is awarded the Abdullah Abbas Al Nadwi Award for Scholastic Achievement for outstanding performance in academics as well as all other areas that the Vision and Mission of the school describe as being holistic in nature.
A break from the routine of academics is provided to the children in the primary years through a variety of activities during Activity periods. From board games and outdoor activities to informative sessions about the animal world, natural environments, and current affairs, everything is made available to further stimulate young minds.
In Senior School, exhibitions, tableaux and language activities that target a wide range of curricular as well as cross-curricular skills and competencies are integrated into the educational programme to complement learning across the grade level. Competitions in poetry recitation, debating, general knowledge, essay, story and poetry writing and a host of other areas, are scheduled throughout the year in tandem with the curriculum in order to ensure that classroom lessons translate into hands-on learning experiences as far as possible.
Sports, field trips and a host of other outdoor activities complement the academic programme of the school wherever possible.
Physical Education is offered once a week, and includes group games and exercise drills. The importance of physical fitness and good sportsmanship is stressed. Students are rigorously trained for badminton, basketball and table tennis.
Art and craft activities are also incorporated into the weekly schedule.
While student performance and competence in the IGCSE and AS/A Level subjects is validated by the universally accepted Cambridge International Examinations at the end points of our educational program in Grades 10 and 12, external benchmarking in the core subjects for the end of the primary stage and the pre-IGCSE level is achieved through students writing the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint and Cambridge Checkpoint Examinations in Grades 5 and 8 respectively. Standardized testing for Grade 2 and 3 are currently under review and could likely be offered from the academic year of 2013-14.
The class sizes at Al Waha International School are kept favourably small. The teacher-student ratio of 1:11 in the KG sections and an average of 1:20 for all other classes, ensures that each student receives the individual attention he/she deserves. This also gives the students and teachers an opportunity to develop a friendly and trusting relationship.
Children with some basic learning deficiencies are provided with directed assistance in the Learning Support section of the Junior School.
In the Senior School, structured measures to extend remedial support to students who are academically below the level of their year group, are built into the educational program as and when needed. Enrichment programmes for high academic achievers have gradually been integrated in the senior secondary educational programme of the school.
Remedial and extra classes are held regularly, either after school hours or on Thursdays, to provide the necessary help for weaker students and senior IGCSE/AS/‘A’ Level pupils respectively.
Departmental co-ordination in the main subject streams is achieved through the appointment of Subject Co-ordinators who are the curriculum leaders in their own area, conversant with the demands of the curriculum across the year groups.
Teachers also provide one-on-one coaching whenever possible, usually within school hours, to students who are academically below the level of their year group.