DBS Denla British School, the only international school in Thailand with a renowned heritage of over 40 years experience in education from the Denla Group, has created a happy, safe and stimulating learning environment to equip students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to grow into resourceful, complete and well-rounded individuals prepared for success and ready to thrive in the 21st century.
DBS’s ethos, “Semper Ad Maiora,” or “Always to Greater Things,” reflects the essence of what the school stands for: to have a motivating and nurturing learning atmosphere in which students can fulfill their full potential and always strive for “greater things” in life.
How does DBS support students to become independent, confident and happy?
DBS’s Head of Pre-Prep, Sophie Berry, explained how DBS inculcates independent learning, “It’s much about how you set up your environment. We provide an inspirational learning environment with rich opportunities for investigative, imaginative and creative play, meeting the needs of the children, depending on their age group. So our learning environment in our Mini Dragons (Pre-Early Year Centre) will be different to EY1, as it will be different to EY2, and so on. Our classrooms are developed to inspire independent learning and to encourage children to follow their own interests and to express their own ideas.”
Inspirational Learning Environment
Every classroom is equipped with resources that are age-appropriate and designed to meet the developmental needs of the children. Children can independently choose their activities, based on their own interests and curiosities. This learning equipment will stay the same throughout the year and is fully accessible to all. We call this process ‘Continuous Provision’. By keeping the resources consistent, we are supporting children’s independence, which in turn, leads to a progression of ideas, skills and confidence. Confident children who feel secure in their surroundings result in happy children. Happy children result in children who are engaged in their learning and therefore, children who make excellent progress.
Encourage Meaningful Conversations
We prioritise communication and create a truly language rich environment. Our children have daily opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations, discussing their ideas and actions with both their friends and the adults in the classroom. Children are encouraged to ask questions, to wonder, to think and to explore through talking. A child may come to us one day with a question, but instead of giving them the answer, we might ask, ‘How could we find that answer?’ Asking a child to think about how best to approach the problem enables them to take ownership of their learning because, if students are involved with their own development, it has greater resonance and goes a lot further, as it comes from them. Our staff have a rich knowledge of the children, how they learn as individuals and what they are interested in. This knowledge ensures excellent relationships are developed and that all children feel valued.
What are the strengths of the Pre-Prep department at DBS?
Small Class Size
A huge strength for us is that we have very small class sizes. This allows teachers to get to know children on a deeper level and gives them all the individual support they need to discover their potential.
Reading Success with Phonics
Naturally, reading is a big part of our Pre-Prep department and all of our teachers are well-versed and highly competent at delivering the teaching of phonics. We use a scheme called Read Write Inc. which accelerates learning, allowing all children reading success from the very start in EY1. This means, by the time the children arrive into EY2, they are confident with their sounds and are ready to start the beginning of reading within that first term. Reading books are introduced and are taken home to share with the parents – the reading journey has begun — and it’s really exciting to see. Parents just love to see their children reading books on their own.
DBS has been operating for about 4 years, our staff here are teachers from the UK who are equipped with extensive experience in education and years of teaching young children, so we are confident and sure that we’ve got what it takes and the potential to be the very best international school in Bangkok. Our staff here have got such brilliant focus and vision.
How does the Pre-Prep at DBS differ from other schools?
In Pre-Prep, I make sure that we are all fully trained on the latest developments in education. So this year already, we have been trained on a new way of planning in the early years. It’s called In The Moment Planning (ITMP). ITMP is an approach where teachers plan a topic spontaneously based on what the child is interested in. For example, if a child has a play hammer and is trying to get shapes into a box but keeps getting it wrong, we would observe to see what learning is happening, and what we can do to enhance that — at that point we will go into the play and talk to the child about shapes and drive their learning forward.
On top of ITMP, we have also received training for the sign language Makaton, which uses a system of symbols and gestures to help EY pupils express themselves. When our very little ones join DBS, they often have very little English or are just a bit scared to speak up. Makaton empowers children to communicate if they want a drink, if they want to go to the bathroom, if they’re feeling tired or if they’re feeling hungry.
All of our Pre-Prep staff are currently receiving Talk for Writing training from the UK. This is an engaging teaching framework with outstanding success based on the principles of how children learn. It is a unique teaching process that uses spoken activities to develop writing skills and we are very excited to introduce it into DBS.
In your opinion, what are the most important attributes for a child while growing up?
Along with kindness, conscientiousness and respect, one of the most important qualities for our children to have is, I believe, resilience. A child that is not put-off by failure and instead bounces back to try again, and again and again, until they achieve their goal, is going to swiftly develop problem-solving skills and the ability to stick at something instead of giving up.
Parents and teachers can help nurture resilience in a child by never telling them they did something “wrong”, instead, praising them for trying and encouraging them to test different tactics until they succeed. A child who is resilient is going to go a whole lot further in life than one who is not.
Take a Sneak Peek at DBS Here
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