Investigation into Developed SABIS Curriculum in Kindergarten

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In 2005 Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) was established to develop education and educational institutions in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, implement innovative educational policies, plans and programs that aim to improve education, and support educational institutions and staff to achieve the objectives of national development in accordance with the highest international standards.

ADEC has established a pilot program with 30 government schools (Kindergarten and Primary Schools). This project is one element of ADEC's overall plan to improve the quality of public education in Abu Dhabi. As a pilot program, it is being used to diagnose, test, and assess the benefits of utilizing private sector expertise to improve public education and to achieve defined goals. The schools are being managed by four international education contractors beginning in 2006 for a three-year period (SABIS, Nord-Anglia, CfBT, and Mosaica). The purpose of the partnership is to work with teachers and principals to improve the quality of the instruction and to increase student achievement in government schools. The contractors will work with school personnel to build a world class education system that affirms the national traditions and culture of the United Arab Emirates. .(ADEC 2009).

SABIS is a global education management organization that is distinguished by a 120+year track record in the operation of Pre-K and K-12 schools. The distinguishing mark of these schools is their implementation of the SABIS Educational System. It is a system that offers a rigorous, internationally-oriented, college-preparatory curriculum for students aged 3 to 18+, focusing primarily on the core subjects of English, mathematics, sciences, and world languages.

The first school in what has grown to be the SABIS School Network was the International School of Choueifat, which was founded in 1886 in the village of Choueifat, a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. Currently, the SABIS School Network consists of schools that operate in the private and public sectors worldwide. These schools educate over 56,000 students and all implement the SABIS Educational System, although each one of them remains financially independent.(SABIS 2009)

Problem Statement:

SABIS is one of the companies that have a unique curriculum and special teaching method, ADEC started implementing this curriculum in some schools in Al Ain since 2006. Although this curriculum has a high quality of teaching method; it faces several obstacles and difficulties to be adapted from the schools in the UAE. Teachers and principals in these schools think that SABIS does not fit the UAE culture and environment. For example, some lessons in the curriculum talk about beaches, farms, and western environment, yet it doesn't talk about local environment like desert, forts and camels for instance.

Purpose of the study:

The purpose of this study is to examine the degree to which the SABIS curriculum suits the UAE society and culture. It will propose a conceptual framework to develop what could be called a local version of SABIS curriculum or which is supposed to be suitable for the UAE society and culture.

Importance of the study:

The importance of this research come from the ongoing debate about the new curriculums that are used in the PPP schools in Al Ain. The research will shade alight on how the teachers and principals in the PPP schools think that these curriculum suite the UAE society and culture. Furthermore, it will try to help in developing a framework for the UAE kindergarten curriculum that suit the society and culture, which will help in making the teachers, principals and parent more supportive to educational system.

Research Questions:

To what extent Does the SABIS curriculum Appropriate the UAE culture ?

How is it possible to create new curriculum in kindergarten?

Literature Review

Although there are several studies show the importance of kindergarten teaching method as Vaughn (1999) states "early childhood texts and other professional literature often assert that teacher relationships with children have critical influence on children development and learning", it is difficult to find enough studies about kindergarten curriculum, One reason for the lack of studies could be the development of early childhood education, which was very slow, compared with other educational fields during the last century .(Smith 2005).

However, there are still some studies like McMahoun and Richmond (1998) who investigated kindergarten teachers' views of language acquisition and children's linguistic involvement. Results of their study revealed that children in classrooms with teachers adapting the idea of emergent literacy participated more and had better results than those in regular classrooms.

Heidemann, Chang, and Menninga (2005) conducted a longitudinal study discussing how teachers and children learn together through the use of appropriate assessment and how to plan their instruction based on the resulting data. They described teachers' continued training in assessment and other ongoing strategies to support their effective use of the assessments. Through professional development, teachers moved from a stance of confusion and tentativeness to confidence and from skepticism to enthusiasm.

Kwon.Y,( 2004) examined to what extent the Korean national kindergarten curriculum has actually influenced preschool practices. and examined preschool teacher perceptions, he used questionnaire were distributed to teacher in the two main types of preschool settings public kindergarten and privet kindergarten (15 public kindergarten, and 106 private kindergarten) also he used observation collected in the sample of preschool settings detailed information about daily practice, and followed what the curriculum offered. To support his studies he observed, six preschool (three public, and three privet kindergarten). This study shows that a child centered curriculum and the teacher beliefs practices are significantly different from child center philosophies. This study shows traditional Korean values affect the practice of Korean early year's education, being contradictory to a child centered approach in many ways.

J.Jackson, (2001) study in Mississippi pre-kindergarten curriculum is designed to direct schools in establishing and administering developmentally appropriate pre-kindergarten program that meet these standards. The Mississippi pre-kindergarten curriculum is designed to direct school in establishing and administering development appropriate pre kindergarten program across the state.This study examine framework contains three prevention components this framework form government; this framework should be assist teacher in making informed instructional decisions. In this study they work in three groups to develop curriculum guide for of pre kindergarten.

H.lie,( 2006) study aims to investigate how school-based curriculum development (SBCD) was interpreted and implemented in a Chinese context like Hong Kong whose educational system is highly centralized and bureaucratic. This trend first came to the forefront in some decentralized educational systems where teachers had a stronger degree of professional autonomy such as Australia and the Great Britain, and later turned to be influential in other centralized systems such as Hong Kong and China. In this study he examines kindergarten teacher and principals (118 teachers and 34 principals), he use questionnaire, and semi-structured interview. Found four major barriers on the way to SBCD in Hong Kong kindergartens: lack of curriculum experts and their guidance, short of resources for curriculum development, under-qualified teachers, overlook on SBCD by school management.

This study Developed by Diane,T.L,Colker.C,Heroman,( 2009), The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is a project-based early childhood curriculum designed to foster the development of the whole child through teacher-led small and large group activities. The curriculum provides information on child development, working with families, and organizing the classroom around 11 interest areas. Child assessments are an ongoing part of the curriculum, and an online program provides record-keeping tools to assist teachers with the maintenance and organization of child portfolios, individualized planning, and report production. One study of The Creative Curriculum meets What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards, and two studies meet WWC evidence standards with reservations. The three studies included a total of 844 children from 101 classrooms in more than 88 preschools located in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia.3 Based on these three studies, the WWC considers the extent of evidence for The Creative Curriculum to be medium to large for oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, and math. No studies that meet WWC evidence standards with or without reservations examined the effectiveness of The Creative Curriculum in the early reading and writing or cognition domains.

ALMomani,I.Ihmeideh,M.Mohammed,M,(2008) Study aimed at investigating kindergarten teachers' views of the curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Data were collected by an open-ended questionnaire, interviews, and observations. Forty-four kindergarten teachers in the United Arab Emirates responded to the questionnaire; six teachers were later interviewed. Results revealed that some teachers believe that the official curriculum is not developmentally appropriate, as it focuses more on academics rather than on child development in social, physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects. Results also revealed that the vision of developmentally appropriate practices among these kindergarten teachers has not been well-acknowledged and that their instructional and assessment practices emphasize teaching academic skills, using a direct instructional approach. This study shows revealed that there is a degree of ambiguity among these teachers about their satisfaction with what is introduced to children in kindergarten. This ambiguity appears in the teachers' responses; the majority was positive when asked about their level of satisfaction regarding what is introduced in the kindergarten classroom. At the same time, however, the majority of the teachers conceded that there are many negative sides of the curriculum this might be the reason behind this ambiguity. Another reason might be that in the UAE, early childhood education is still in the transition stage, as it is moving from the old system to the new one.(P.240)

Bridge.H.,(2001) his study obsereved that children often parents involvement planned rich play activities that were connected to their home culture. Three action strategies were implemented to increase and evaluate parental involvement: (1) ask parents and children to plan together at home; (2) observe children's play during 'Plan-do-Review' time; (3) ask parents about their involvement through planning. As a result of parents and children planning together at home, clearer plans of activity were produced. Plans were continued and developed at both home and preschool. Planning at home resulted in a regular pattern of interaction between children, staff and parents. Staff reported that planning at home produced 'living play' that was based upon children's own lives.

A,ALhool & Z,ALShammari,( 2009) In their research investigated kindergarten-aged children's moral values in Kuwait. This study utilized several quantitative and qualitative research methods to development, the meaning of value, and the meaning of morality-as experienced by kindergarten-aged children. Participants were 600 children and eleven teachers in six education districts in Kuwait. The instrument used was the Kindergarten Moral Value Questionnaire (KMVQ), which was administered in all six districts. Participating teachers and children were also observed and interviewed. Teachers' involvement and interaction with children during class and non class activates were noted. Results indicated that using the KMVQ with kindergarten children provided valuable understanding of their judgments on various moral issues. Researchers focused on eight dimensions: truthfulness, honesty, gratitude, loyalty, reasonability, fairness, mercifulness, and patience. These observations revealed in Teacher preparation programs and kindergarten teachers' supervisors guided teachers to use story and puppet shows as the best teaching methods to impose good behavior and moral values. Based on their experience in kindergarten teaching, teachers believed that "children come to kindergarten knowing right from wrong in addition kindergarten and curriculum is based on teaching children morals and ways to implement them.

Putkiewicz, (1996) This study describes the effect of cultural context on the change content of kindergarten curriculum in Poland. She examines two hundred and nine teachers about feeling and hope for content kindergarten curriculum with questionnaire. This study show creative development of theses new education standards are outlined, change are reported in classroom instruction , particularly greater communication between teacher and student in small group or in individual group.

L,Justice.A,Mashburn.K,Pence,A,Wiggins, (2008)This study was to investigate child impacts following implementation of a comprehensive language curriculum, this study identified child-level predictors of expressive language outcomes for children attending at-risk preschool programs as well as main effects for children's exposure to the language curriculum and its active ingredients namely, teacher use of language stimulation techniques. In this study they examine Fourteen preschool teachers were randomly assigned to 2 conditions. Treatment teachers implemented the experimental curriculum for an academic year; a total of 100 children were enrolled in their classrooms. Comparison teachers maintained their prevailing curriculum; a total of 96 children were enrolled in these classrooms. Teachers' fidelity of implementation was monitored using structured observations conducted 3 times during the academic year. This study shows Adoption of a comprehensive language curriculum may provide value-added benefit only under highly specific circumstances. Findings suggest that at-risk children who receive relatively large doses of a curriculum (as measured in days of attendance during the academic year) that emphasizes quality language instruction may experience accelerated expressive language growth during pre-kindergarten.

D,Fromberg (2006)In this study there are many sources of data that create a picture of the diverse programs, resources, and opportunities that kindergarten children experience, including the preparation of kindergarten teachers. This article addresses the questions: What does kindergarten curriculum look like today compared with other times? What is the status of full-day kindergarten? What are the influences of the high-stakes testing movement, school budgets, and economic status across communities? The answer for kindergarten curriculum he think the curriculum have related with classroom environment.

Shanker,(2009). This study shows oral language is the foundation for children's learning ,and the pre kindergarten year are crucial time for language development vocabulary an phonological awareness are particularly important areas to address because they directly relate to learning to read. He adds should develop new mathematics knowledge and skills in five key areas: number, patterns, geometry, measurement, and data analysis. A high quality mathematics curriculum can help teacher to structure and plan appropriate mathematics experiences. The goal is to guide children through a series of engaging mathematics activities that strengthen their knowledge of key concepts and build mathematics thinking processes.

This study examined preschool teachers' fidelity to the language-focused curriculum, a comprehensive classroom curriculum designed to improve at risk children's language outcomes through targeted improvements to a classroom's activity contexts and instructional processes Specific aims included to (a) examine program differentiation by determining how measures of activity contexts and instructional processes differentiated treatment and comparison teachers, (b) determine treatment teachers' adherence to both activity contexts and instructional processes over an entire academic year, and (c) determine treatment teachers' reported quality of program delivery and comfort with curriculum implementation. Fourteen preschool teachers were randomly assigned to implement the r to maintain their prevailing curriculum. Fidelity was measured 3 times over an academic year using a curriculum fidelity checklist. this study shows teachers exhibited fidelity to activity contexts more readily than to instructional processes. Teacher use of language focused instructional processes was relatively low even after a year of LFC implementation .Also, supports the need for speech-language pathologists to work closely with preschool educators to implement the activity contexts and instructional processes associated with high-quality preschool language-learning environments.

Method

Research design:

This is a qualitative research where data will be collecting through interviewing the participant. Three PPP kindergartens schools in Al Ain will be selected purposively because there are using SABIS curriculum to investigate to what extent it suits the UAE society. Thirty six teachers, three principles from these schools will be selected and then divided into three groups.

Participants:

Participants of this study will be kindergarten teachers and principals of AlShoaa, AlSawsan and Aslaa' kindergarten. These three schools are implementing SABIS curriculum. 36 teachers and three principals will be selected randomly and divided in three groups.

Data collecting (Instrument):

Because of the nature of this study where the researcher likes to investigate in depth the opinion of teachers and principals about using SABIS curriculum, a semi-constructed interview will be used. The questions of the interview will be developed based on the literature review and from the researcher experience with this curriculum for the last three years. To test the validity of the interview questions, the professors form the Faculty of Education in the UAEU will review it and give their feedback. The researcher will get permission from the company SABIS to can get required information, also questioning, will be linked to the curriculum. The interview and observation will be during the school year. I will be visiting schools mentioned to meet teachers and principals and record observations.

Research Questions:

To what extent Does the SABIS curriculum Appropriate the UAE culture ?

How is it possible to create new curriculum in kindergarten?

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