October 8, 2020

Dear Elementary Families,

The sun has set on the month of September and we have really begun our 2020-2021 learning journey. September, in any year, can be quite busy as the community settles into a school year but last month will hold a special place in all our memories.

Over the course of this week I took myself out of the office, and with my laptop I sat at the tables throughout the school to get work done. What I pleasantly found was that I was constantly interrupted by the students walking through the hallways. Sometimes we would just exchange pleasantries, other times they would ask me what I was doing and then ask some follow-up questions or other random wonders.  A few told me jokes or about their lives while some shared what they were learning in their classrooms. I was so impressed with the level of engagement the students across the school initiated. Our students are so responsible, respectful and are on the path to being incredible conversationalists and communicators.

Where does this confidence come from and how has it developed in our students? No doubt some of this comes from the home. Parents taking the time to cultivate conversations at the table or in the living room is hugely impactful on a child’s communication skills. While I sat in the halls though, the other factor I noticed was our teachers. As an American curriculum school our approach to learning is one that strongly develops content, but truly values the soft skills of Communication, Creativity, Curiosity, Collaboration, Cooperation and Caring. These are the skills that will propel our students towards success later in life.

“By 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling...‘human’ skills such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation will likewise retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving. Emotional intelligence, leadership and social influence as well as service orientation also see an outsized increase in demand relative to their current prominence.” (World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs 2018, pg ix)

Our teachers are fostering this throughout our school. I absolutely loved hearing the level of care and connection teachers had when they spoke to their students. They dug for deeper understanding in the questions they asked their students, they celebrated the great ideas, and they demonstrated that innate ability of a teacher to understand the importance of student confidence when they balance challenge and support in learning. Our students delve into their curiosities and creativity unafraid of failure because of the trust our teachers have built with them. They know that should they fail, our teachers will pick them up and help them find the right path forward.

We continue to cultivate an incredible school and learning environment for our students. Through our vigorous approach to the curriculum, commitment to forward thinking learning, relationship building and the level of care we have for every single child, our teachers are developing the knowledge, understanding and skills in our students to be the leaders, problem-solvers and the creators of the next generation. 

I look forward to the staff and students continuing to inspire me as I carry on making the hallways my workspace and visit the classrooms in the days, weeks and months to come. 

Craig Cantlie

Executive Principal, Elementary

HOPES & DREAMS: parent-Teacher conferences

How would you describe your child? 

What would you like your teacher to know? 

What are your child’s strengths, talents and interests?

What are some areas your child could be challenged and/or supported?

These Parent-Teacher conferences are an excellent opportunity for you to provide our teachers with insights into your child, and connect with them about the hopes and dreams you have for their academic and social growth this year. Teachers will also take time to share their observations about how they have settled into the new school year. Teachers have emailed parents the relevant booking information. 

Calling all Innovators! 

Innovation is in our DNA at DAA. Here's a video throwback with some highlights from last year.  

updated ES timings!

Stu Williamson Photos

Stu Williamson Photographers are on site next week from Sunday, October 11th – Tuesday, October 13th to take our annual individual photos.  They will be following all DHA guidelines as they relate to CoVid 19.  New measures being implemented this year include:

October 11th - October 13th 

for Grades 3-5

The specific date and times will be shared by the classroom teacher.  Grade 3-5 students should wear their new uniform polo or the blue button down shirt from last year.  Ties are no longer required.   No PE uniforms on picture day, please.  

If your child has PE/health on picture day, please send them in proper polo or button uniform. Dark blue outerwear will be removed for photos– jumpers/pull-overs/jackets, etc.  

Elementary Update from October 1, 2020

A window into our world as a learning community.


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key contacts

Should your child(ren) need to be away from school due to illness or appointments, please contact our School Secretaries.

KG1 - Grade 2: Grace Ajib  g.ajib_daa@gemsedu.com /04 704 9705

Grades 3-5: Rene Botha  r.botha_daa@gemsedu.com /04 704  9724

Craig Cantlie 

Executive Principal of Elementary (K - Grade 5)c.cantlie_daa@gemsedu.com

Nathalie Salemeh   

Elementary Principal, Grades 4 and 5n.salameh_daa@gemsedu.com

Noha Bishara              

Assistant Elementary Principal, Grades 2 and 3n.bishara_daa@gemsedu.com

Tooshna Gandhi          

Assistant Elementary Principal, KG1, KG2 and Grade 1t.gandhi_daa@gemsedu.com