Consider this: Your 13-year-old is seated at the family dinner, spoon in one hand, iPad in the other. Your attempts to engage him in conversation fall on deaf years. His silence, almost passive-aggressive. His attitude borders on the insolence. His focus, however, commendable. While you protest and indulge in an impassioned monologue, on the simplicity of your past, the sanctity of the dinner table and the principles of plain living and high thinking, your 13-year-old, might just be planning how to save the world.

For sure, it is a time of uncertainty, hormones, spiking energy levels garnished with a bit of madness but to relegate all middle schoolers to this stereotypical pool, is to diminish the uniqueness, dynamism, vivacity, and exuberance of this age group. Perhaps, the greatest threat that adults face when our children graduate into the pre-pubescent phase is embracing the inevitable – Change! And much do we love change; caught in a straitjacket between nurturing and protecting our children while being forced to admit the veracity in our teen’s growing logical reasoning.

So, does the world revolve around 13-year-olds?

At GEMS Modern Academy, perhaps it does. Through a structured, wide-ranging and enriched curriculum, students of the Middle School not only have a myriad opportunities to extend their learning outside the classroom but they also have a safe environment for their chaotic vitality to be channeled productively.

That these opportunities are grounded in moral, spiritual, family and individualistic values as well as values of community development metamorphose these 13-year-olds into empathetic, socially conscious young men and women when they graduate. From Avant-garde innovative solutions to real world problems to simple acts of compassion, the middle schoolers at Modern have been equipped with the faculties to exercise their individuality.

Student Voice and Choice plays an important role in developing classroom routines and establishing a culture of open communication between teacher and student, to encourage the exchange of multiple perspectives and feedback both ways. 83 % students recently endorsed that they have opportunities to comment on matters of their education in the Edurio Global Learning Survey.

A meditation garden in the premises ensures students stay close to the nature
Supplied

Of course, the pursuit of academic excellence remains a central focus of the Middle School at Modern with its pupils consistently scoring higher than the national average in standardized benchmark tests and assessments.

In July 2021, Modern’s middle school also received the International Baccalaureate’s approval to be listed as a Candidate school for the IB’s Middle Year Programme (MYP) making Modern an IB World School also offering the DP since 2014 and the PYP since 2019 alongside the ICSE and ISC pathways. Rated Outstanding in the KHDA DSIB Inspections since 2011, Modern offers a unique international learning experience rooted in conscientiousness, empathy, and global citizenship.

Both learning pathways encourage a spirit of collaboration between all stakeholders of the learning experience. A data driven approach equips teachers with knowledge of student interests, needs, capabilities, personal beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and values allowing them to personalise learning in accordance with each students’ strengths, needs, skills and interests.

"Modern is different in every respect. The various initiatives and co-curricular activities offered by the school demonstrate this and its approach to learning makes the child fiercely independent. The school creates an atmosphere that encourages deep bonds between the student and the school so much so that my child does not even want to miss school when she is unwell! I'd recommend Modern for its out-of-the-box approach to learning and fully endorse and support its philosophy of Indian curriculum with global exposure," says Ganapathy Subramanian Ramaswamy, parent of a grade 7 student.

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The OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 Framework aims to help education systems determine the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values students need to thrive in and shape their future. Modern’s Middle School Curriculum is closely aligned to the philosophy of the OECD and the UAE’s own National Agenda Parameters ensuring that students are future ready and provided with regular opportunities to develop the skills they need for beyond school. The curriculum is enriched with programmes such as Challenge Based Learning (CBL) - a human-centered approach to design thinking and innovation that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. Through this experience, students learn a pragmatic approach that is both a system for inducing creativity and innovation and a framework for solving complex problems.

In the six years since it was introduced, CBL has birthed countless pre-teen innovators and entrepreneurs some of whom have been recognized and published in international journals.

I had a very enriching experience in Middle School at Modern in more ways than one. It helps develop students in all aspects including innovation, art, debate, drama and poetry, all while bringing out our academic potential, says Tanay Jagannathan, who published a research paper addressing Global Warming and Climate change in Harvard University’s Journal of Emerging Investigators in 2020 when he was in the 8th Grade.

Other key elements of the Middle School include a Theatre Festival, Westend inspired musicals, an annual sports carnival, classical Indian music and a newly introduced financial literacy programme, to name a few – ensuring that students of the middle school continue to have high-impact educational experiences and are fortified in the face of an unknown and uncertain future.

Welcome to GEMS Modern Academy’s vibrant Middle School – a place where the physical, social, emotional, and academic development of students is honoured and where all individuals are committed to ensuring every aspect of the Middle School embodies the vision statement: ‘Inspiring children to be positive change-makers.’

A school, perhaps, where the world does revolve around your child.