Our Executive Principal’s Five Highlights of the Week

What a truly inspiring week we have had here at Beech Hall School Riyadh! It’s just one of those weeks where you actually can’t believe it is Thursday already! Yet here I am, on a Thursday evening, watching the sun set over our beautiful playground, and writing my blog for the week. And what an incredible week it has been!

This week we hosted a set of workshops with 8billionideas. The students worked together in groups, and the best six hours of my week were spent watching the showcases from Grade 1 to Grade 6. Whether I was exploring fun places to work with Grade 4 (note, if I ever leave Beech Hall, it will certainly be to work for the boys, who plan to fly their workers around to avoid the Riyadh traffic and use slides instead of stairs) or learning all about the next toy craze, I’ve never been more sure that the future’s looking bright. A standout moment for me was watching Grade 3 pitch to their peers, which led to impromptu offers of investments. I can also assure you that many parents will be flocking to buy Yasmina’s group’s idea – a teddy bear that sings lullabies in the mother’s voice, and knows exactly what baby needs to go back to sleep! In all seriousness, we were astounded not only by the children’s ideas, but by their confidence, their collaboration, and their passion. These young minds are going to make a huge impact wherever they choose to take their gifts and talents in the workplace.

Watching the pupils using the new sports spaces has been such a joy! We all know the importance of good physical health, as well as the impact that this has on mental health, and knowing that we can provide a space for these children to develop their sporting skills is wonderful. We have seen amazing basketball hoops, speedy racing, calming yoga, and stunning swimming. There is a genuine enjoyment being found in this movement, and the children can’t wait to get back into the new gym space. The sport curriculum is further enhanced by the number of clubs that enable the children to try out new sports and work as part of a team. No doubt we will have some very successful athletes and sports men and women in our midst in no time at all!

I’ve also been meeting prospective pupils this week, and my diary is jam-packed with Teams calls from all around the world. Just today, I found myself talking to a young pupil who will soon be moving to Riyadh from Japan. He had prepared the most amazing questions for me about the school, showing just how much thought and care he is putting into this move. We are so blessed to have children from all over the world joining our local Saudi children, and it is such a joy to see how beautifully each child is made to feel welcome. Every child adds something unique to our community, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.

We’re excited to be launching the Global Inclusive Teaching Initiative. We’re a proudly inclusive school, but can only be successful if we, as practitioners and professionals, continue to learn, develop and access the latest research. This week for our PD session, we met with the lovely James from GITI, who helped us to navigate the GITI website and start to plan how we can incorporate this incredible research-based resource into our ongoing development and growth. All of the staff are so excited that they have already started to get into learning groups, and are debating which modules to begin with. I cannot wait to see how our professional learning groups (made up of all the staff in our school) learn, debate, experiment and reflect, and I know it will have such an impact on our lucky children.

I’ve also found the time for more exploring with Crumb. Last weekend, BHSR’s Head of Happiness, myself and my husband went exploring in the desert! Having only just started out on our trek, we were greeted by some local men who warmly welcomed us into their camp and treated us to some of the finest Arabic coffee I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. We had such fun getting to know our new friends (all thanks to the translation app on my phone) and much hilarity was had when we all started singing and dancing. Even Crumb joined in!

I am often asked how I have found the move to Riyadh, and I can honestly say that I have never met such a welcoming community of people – everyone here is so quick to greet you and offer warm hospitality. I feel so lucky to be a part of it, and will keep exploring and trying new things with my trusty canine friend. It is all part of the adventure. Have a great weekend, and I look forward to hearing about your own adventures next week!

Clemmie​ Stewart,
Executive Principal