Paula Yacoubian was impressed. A journalist known across Lebanon for hosting a prime time TV talk show, Paula was invited to be this year’s keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony of preschool students at Beirut Baptist School (BBS) in June. Together with 800 proud parents and staff, she witnessed five classes of 115 kindergarten students performing a variety of impressive presentations. One class did a dance, one class sang a song and another read out a poem. Three students gave a Victorian speech – a boy and girl spoke in English while another girl delivered it in Arabic. All three had memorised more than ten sentences each – pretty impressive for five year olds. “It is perhaps too much for a kindergarten child, but we know they can do it,” says Gigi Awabdeh, Head of the preschool at BBS.
After watching the presentations, Paula Yacoubian told the students how impressed she was with their confident singing and speaking. She told the parents watching that she was proud of BBS and said: “you have to thank God for this school, because they have an amazing team.’”
The graduation was a great end to the 2014/15 term at the preschool. Now planning is underway for the 2015/16 academic year, and since ensuring the safety of the pupils is paramount, the focus is on providing better equipment.
Thanks to the generous giving of LSESD partners, new furniture (chairs and tables) will be introduced to the preschool classrooms this autumn, which will make a safer and more enjoyable learning environment for the children. This will not only appeal to existing students, but to prospective students and their parents too.
“It will affect a lot,” says Gigi. “It will be an added value for parents and students looking for safety – now we can feel that the students are really safe.”
There are also plans to improve the playground at BBS to improve its safety and enable more children to use it at break times. Presently there is a limit to how many children can use it – it is common at the end of break time for children to not have had their turn on the swings and other play equipment. Like the new tables and chairs, the improved playground will be another attraction for parents as they choose to send their children to BBS.
BBS also hopes to introduce more iPads to each classroom. Research and their own experience have shown that using iPads and tablets can improve a child’s sensory motor skills and help them to learn faster.
Whoever speaks at the 2016 preschool graduation is set to be impressed again by the high standards at Beirut Baptist School.