Star International Mirdif launches "Ocean Ambassadors" programme for students as part of its ocean cleaning

The school ran its staff-led "Dive for Debris" exercise at Dubai's Jumeirah beach to clean-up the ocean and raise awareness about coral reef conservation

  

Dubai, United Arab EmiratesStar International School Mirdif, Dubai’s community-oriented school situated in the heart of Mirdif recently announced the launch its first-of-a-kind “Ocean Ambassadors” programme, with the aim of educating students about the importance of ocean conservation from a young age. This initiative was inspired by the school’s recent “Dive for Debris” drive where the staff took part in cleaning Dubai’s ocean from litter and further reinforced by Dubai 92’s “Underwater Garden” competition.

To start a community-wide movement focused on social responsibility and environmental sustainability, Star International School Mirdif decided to sign-up its student body to the “Dubai 92 Cares” competition for coral reef conservation. A passionate crew from the school’s certified divers accompanied by Ms Gill Roberts, Principle of Star International School Mirdif, who is also a certified PADI IDC Staff Instructor, took part in the “Dive For Debris” ocean clean-up drive at Jumeirah beach a few weeks back. The initiative received a lot of praise from the school’s community and its efforts to cleanse Dubai’s coral reefs and preserve marine life for future generations. At the conclusion of the dive, Star International Mirdif’s scuba diving team discovered a wide variety of debris, with a number of items accounting for the majority of the ocean litter, such as; water bottle caps, cigarette butts and covid masks. The participating staff also ensured that they shared their ‘cleaning expedition’ insights with students upon their return, where pupils were tasked with analysing these results against global data to determine any commonalities.

Furthermore, as part of  Star International School Mirdif’s participation in Dubai’s 92’s “Underwater Garden” competition, the school was challenged with designing an artificial coral reef that could be created and placed in the Indian ocean off the Dibba coast line. As such, Dubai 92 joined forces with “Freestyle Divers”' in Dibba where schools took part in raising awareness about the preservation of marine life and maintaining a healthy coral ecosystem. Relatively, Star International School Mirdif arranged a number of Key Stage assemblies where it highlighted the work of PADI and their ocean torch bearers, who were also introduced to the students as part of the coral reef conservation drive. In addition, pupils from different year levels attended a webinar led by “Freestyle Divers’”’ Marine Biologists who talked about coral reef conservation. Relatively, the older children were able to design an artificial coral reef to act as a home for corals, fish and baby sharks and their work was judged by Dubai’s 92 team on June 8th to coincide with “Ocean Awareness Day”.

Talking about Star International School Mirdif’s active involvement in ocean conservation, Principal Gill Roberts commented: “I believe that children need to be educators, and in order to be an educator regarding the ocean, you need to understand how the ocean works. That is why we have launched our “Ocean Ambassadors” programme where we aim to teach students from an early age about the hazards that human littering causes to marine life, and underline what they can do to help protect our oceans.” The “Ocean Ambassadors” initiative will educate students about the importance and methods of keeping oceans clean and preserving marine life, through an extensive series of classroom lessons and on-field exercises which will be held at the school’s spacious swimming pool and Dubai’s ocean.

To take things a step further, the school also partnered with Mohamed Helmy, PADI Course Director from Al Boom, to create events for the younger children in the school community to take part in. As such, they have co-launched the ‘Ocean Hazard’ contest which was inspired by the conversations and proposed solutions offered by Star International School Mirdif’s EYFS students who were investigating the oceanic creatures being entangled in human-induced debris. The contest aims to encourage students from a very young age to think like conservationists and become aware of how different types of litter impact marine life. “If students can think like conservationists and be proactive, then they can educate others around them to do the same, even at the age of four, we can teach our students to become oceanic ambassadors of the future,” said Ms Gill Roberts. “I am delighted with the way that our students have embraced their learning about the ocean. Dubai 92 is only the beginning and our school will use this initiative as the platform to launch its iconic “Ocean Ambassadors” programme and work alongside Dubai92, PADI, Project Aware, Emirates Diving Association and Al Boom, to make a real impact on UAE’s coast lines,” added Ms Gill.

Star International School Mirdif recently took part in the “Simply Bottles” plastic bottle recycling campaign, where ten different schools participated and helped in recycling over 150,000 bottles within just six weeks. The school was particularly proud to be ranked the third position in the recycling competition which further reinforced its commitment to instill the values of environment sustainability within children from a young age.

Furthermore, Star International School Mirdif has been in the spotlight lately through a number of motivational stories from students wanting to become professional scuba divers from a very young age. For example, one of the school’s pupils, Farouk Unah, became the first and youngest person to freedive at Dubai Aquarium at the age of eight earlier this year. Farouk was inspired by Principle Gill Roberts’ passion for scuba diving and ocean conservation, where she ignited Farouk’s passion for the ocean through the pearl diving theme being taught to students as part of the curriculum. As a PADI IDC scuba diving instructor, Ms Gill mentioned that she will wait for her young freedive apprentice to reach the age of ten before she can take him through the PADI Open Water diver course to kick-off his journey in becoming one of the youngest PADI certified open water divers.

Ms Gill was also approached by one of her other pupils in Year 5 called Nikan Dolatkhah, who expressed his eagerness for wanting to learn how to scuba dive on his tenth birthday. Nikan wanted to join Star International School Mirdif’s newly launched “Ocean Ambassador” programme and the “Dive for Debris” diving exercise to keep Dubai’s oceans litter-free and preserve aquatic life. Ms Gill worked rigorously with Nikan for two weekends, where she helped him achieve his PADI Junior Open Water Certification. This certification will enable Nikan to scuba dive anywhere in the world upto 12 metres in depth. “We are very proud of Nikan for receiving his PADI certification 18 days after his tenth birthday, where he became one of the world’s youngest certified PADI Open Water Divers. Nikan is expected to join the school’s diving crew on Friday June 18th for his first “Dive for Debris” exercise, and we are very thrilled to have him take part in this dive,” added Ms Gill Roberts.

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About Star International School Mirdif:

Star International School Mirdif is a BSME-accredited, co-educational British Curriculum school founded in 2008, and situated in the heart of the Mirdif Community. Currently, the school embodies 700+ students, 70+ nationalities, 65 teachers and 105+ school staff under one roof, and  is open to year groups EYFS 1 through to Year 9, with plans to expand into Year 10 for the next academic year, and growing organically year-on-year. This expansion has an aim of obtaining the school’s first set of GCSE results in July 2023. The school is a research-driven, family-oriented institution, guiding the children through learning with its key Pillars of Learning; Learning for Self, Learning for Change, Learning for All. Star Mirdif  prides itself on offering affordable education offered by British-trained and qualified teachers, with nominal tuition fees starting at AED 27,000.

Star Mirdif ’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) offers an exclusive learning environment situated away from the Primary and Secondary school, which offers plenty of space for inquisitive and energetic learners. The Foundation Stage building at Star Mirdif  provides an abundance of outdoor space for lessons and breaks, as well as a beautiful indoor atrium for assemblies, collaborative events such as house music performances and hot weather play time. In addition to this, the school has a purpose-built splash pool to give students a safe introduction to swimming lessons within the younger age groups.

Over recent years, Star Mirdif Primary school has grown and developed from strength-to-strength. The school community has expanded by 50%, with a thriving cohort of students who are eager to learn. Star International has introduced a wider choice of extracurricular activities covering areas from Newspaper Club to Badminton, Art and Drama clubs. The soon to launch “STEAM” curriculum, students will be introduced to computer science and robotics at an early age and explore building and designing within the technological lense. Throughout the school, children are encouraged to be proud of their work and are offered plenty of opportunities to compete across all subjects from Islamic Studies, Sports, Science, Entrepreneurship and many other subjects.

Currently in its second year, the Secondary levels at Star Mirdif  offer education from Years 7-9. With the start of the academic year 2021/22, the school will introduce Year 10; with the Year 9 cohort selecting their GCSE choices this Spring. Furthermore, the school will be offering a wide range of qualifications to suit all interests and capabilities of students  including GCSEs, iGCSEs and BTEC’s, with subjects such as Physical Education, Art, History, Geography, Business Studies, Sociology and many more.

Star International is led by Gill Roberts as Principal, alongside Neal Oates as Vice Principal, both of whom are very passionate about investing and improving the quality of education provided at the school on a continuous pace. With their direction, the school will continue to reach goals of excellence by offering new facilities, educational equipment and learning experiences to all  its students. 

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Yusuf A. Stapic
Empyre Communications
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