When it comes right down to it, any school can provide a wonderful, comfortable boarding house, amazing facilities, and an attractive school environment.
However, Swiss International School in Dubai sets itself apart from the rest through our commitment to providing the very best pastoral care environment for our boarding students, ensuring that they see school not only as a place of education, but also one of community and family, like a second home in which they are nurtured.
What is pastoral care?
Boarding schools have sometimes gotten bad representation in the media. Terrifying headmasters and strict caretakers were often the norm in such depictions.
That absolutely doesn’t hold true in a pastoral care environment which aims to create a caring environment for students that supports and nurtures them through life.
Matrons are warm and approachable, encouraging children to come to them whenever they have a problem. A sense of holistic development permeates pastoral care boarding schools, not just looking at grades and extracurriculars, but personal growth and emotional maturation.
SISD pastoral care
“At SISD, pastoral care and emotional well-being is at the heart of everything we do, supporting our core value of togetherness,” says Mr. Brian Nolan of our Primary Years Pastoral Care Team. “Our goal is for students to take ownership of their actions and begin to understand the link between their behaviour and its effects on others. Student behaviour expectations are co-constructed with students and teachers and are in line with our core values. We believe co-constructing these agreements results in students who are intrinsically self-motivated to be positive members of our community.”
In SISD, Primary School students are held to behaviour agreements based on the IB learner profile, hoping to become learners who are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. We believe that there is value to students being able to independently honour such agreements, creating accountability as well as better understanding their purpose.
Later Grade School students also participate in behaviour agreements, but these agreements are more of a collaborative process between students and teachers, communicated at the start of class and adapted to each subject or class.
In these unique, tailored ways, SISD’s pastoral care helps every individual student become the best they can be, through proper behaviour. This is not a rigid, inflexible approach that tries to create a uniform behaviour in everyone, but rather a targeted, tailored approach that takes into account every student’s personality and individual needs. In turn, our teachers and staff act as role models for good behaviour, and are trained to promote relationship-building, inclusiveness, and reflection.
One important part of the environment that SISD provides for its students is one where mistakes are considered a learning opportunity. We believe that problem-solving and analytical thinking skills are nurtured by looking at one’s mistakes, and promote the value of learning from them rather than thinking of them as something bad, and worthy of punishment.
SISD holds itself to the highest standards of pastoral care, which is available to full-time and weekly boarders and flexi-boarders alike. Staff responds to every student need, whether it’s counseling or medical aid. They even get help with homework as needed.