January 28, 2022

Dear Elementary Families,

We are thrilled to have KHDA announce our return to 100% on-site learning for non-covid impacted students beginning next week. Along with the continuity for classroom learning it allows us to return to our regular PE lessons and a gradual transition into after-school activities. 

Next week our students will begin the winter session of our MAP assessments in literacy, numeracy and science. How can you help? Make sure your child gets a good night sleep, has a good dinner, breakfast and packed lunch and as they leave the house in the morning, give them the encouragement they need to confidently approach each assessment. We look forward to seeing their personal excellence on display.

For our SPOTS post this week I have asked our Assistant Principal Ms. Gandhi to write a blog post. Please enjoy reading about her word for this year and how that will manifest in elementary division.

Thank you as always for your continued support of the school!

Craig Cantlie

Executive Principal, Elementary

Ms. Gandhi's Blog

As an educational leader I look forward to every day, feel driven to learn, and believe that every child and adult deserves the best possible learning opportunities that can be offered.

In elementary, a new tradition came into being two years ago where at the start of every year we began to choose a word that we connect with.  This is a word that speaks to us, will define our actions, a word that will guide our practice and leadership, a word that gives us joy, and a word that we relate to in our lives. My word for this year is FOCUS. The reason that I chose this word is because, to me it is important, now more than ever before, to focus on what matters the most - to make each day count, and make every day worthwhile.

This especially applies to student learning. I believe that a FOCUS on continuing to amplify pedagogical approaches and practices in the classrooms helps guide and drive what happens in the classroom. It shines a light on what learning means and what it looks like in different contexts - whether it is teachers sharing learning/teaching philosophies, experiences and/or practices, or students showcasing their understanding/learning. It will lay emphasis on how students learn to read and write through Story Workshop in a play-based environment and through Columbia University’s Teacher College Reading and Writing Workshop in grades, KG2 to Gr.5. In Numeracy it will help us dive deeper into Jo Boaler’s Mathematical Mindsets and further focus on the authentic connections of inquiry learning through the Future Fluencies.

Driving a sense of awe in innovative teaching and learning as well as individualized learning journeys is another area of FOCUS that helps us as educators make sure we are not only inclusive as a community, but also well-equipped to address the academic, emotional and social needs, interests, and strengths of our student community. This is accomplished through well-led and targeted professional development, mindful planning, in-class differentiation and targeted enrichment; a robust literacy program, special education program, English language learner program, and a Gifted and Talented program. I take these responsibilities very seriously as an Assistant Principal who leads these programs at our school. In addition, I continually strive to drive this focus through the lens of our i3 thinking – inquiry, innovation, integrity, as well as our school’s commitments of inspirational teaching, individualization and interconnectedness.

Finally, we will FOCUS on continuing a culture of joyful learning and well-being as this is an area that cannot be emphasized enough. For each member of our community to take ownership and pride in their learning, and be given the opportunity to have choice, voice and agency in that journey is what makes a great foundation for creating lifelong learners.

I take great pride in all our work as a school and firmly believe our success as a school comes from making sure that all the children and adults in our care are safe, challenged, supported and happy.

Have a wonderful weekend.



Tooshna Gandhi

Assistant Principal

KG1 Learning

This week was Kindness Week in Elementary and KG1 started off with some Monday Kindness and Tuesday I Love You's.

They also took a look into Numeracy with Cylinder Tuesday and Air 5 Wednesday.

KG2 Learning

Kindness is doing what you can, where you are, with what you have – Anonymous.

Children were excited to celebrate “Kindness week” at school. We decorated our classroom door with the kindness message and hearts colored by children. We did several arts and crafts related to kindness to honor the occasion. We welcomed new friends to our class and school. We also had the tooth fairy in class who gave our friend a certificate for a fallen tooth. 

In numeracy, we learned about the concept of weight-measurement. Children made balance scales with hangers and cups to measure objects in class. During inquiry lessons, we were “Collaborators” as children made maps with their table partners using materials in the class. Children discovered a compass rose on our elementary playground. Outdoor play was fun playing with friends and teachers. 


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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: Shirley Vas  s.vas_daa@gemsedu.com / 04 704 9705

Grades 3-5: Rene Botha  r.botha1_daa@gemsedu.com /04 704  9724

General Elementary Inquiries:  elementary_daa@gemsedu.com

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