From Picnics To Secret Santa: UAE Students Get Festive On Last Days Before Winter Break


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Fri 8 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 8 Dec 2023, 7:53 AM

Institutions in the UAE are attending COP 28, arranging winter picnics, raising funds, and planning Christmas celebrations in schools ahead of the long winter vacation that begins on Monday.

Pupils of private schools in Dubai will be on a break for two-and-a-half weeks from mid-December to early January with the holiday season commencing on Monday, December 11, 2023, and students returning to school on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

Headteachers reiterate learning continues and every class remains valuable, even in the final week of the term.

Wayne Howsen, Principal, the Aquila School, said:“In our school every lesson counts, even during the last week of the term. This week we have had some amazing learning opportunities for our children. Our older pupils visited COP28, while the younger primary pupils were busy being entrepreneurial, organising their very own winter souq, as well as designing and organising fundraising activities and items that they will be selling to the parent community.”

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Children come dressed in festive colours

School heads said many campuses this week had students and staff coming dressed in their most colourful clothes, spreading festive cheer throughout the premises.

Chandini Misra, Principal of Repton Al Barsha said:“Recently, we had an incredibly vibrant day at our school as we celebrated our festive jumper day! Our students conducted a bake sale of treats and home-made festive cards to raise money for Dubai Cares; a self-led initiative that they had presented to me.”

Institutions have curated an array of engaging activities that embody the spirit of the season.

She added:“From cultural assemblies highlighting unity and diversity to engaging activities centered around the UAE National Day, our school has been bustling with excitement and learning. A combination of UAE flags, red and green tinsel, our large Christmas tree – it is truly a privilege to be part of a community that embraces and celebrates diversity.”

Philanthropic activities

Schools are providing opportunities for the community to come together, also imparting lessons on philanthropy.

“We will be hosting our annual 'Winter Picnic Under the Stars' and each member of the community attending has been requested to bring a blanket to donate as part of our 'A Warm Winter for Every Child campaign,” said Dr Jay Teston, Principal, Nibras International School.

As students reach the midpoint of their academic journey, principals encourage the school community to pause for rejuvenation and connect with their respective families.

Teston added:“This break is a valuable opportunity to recharge and focus on our well-being after a very busy first half of the year. I have encouraged each of our students to embrace this time with loved ones, returning to school not just rested but with a renewed sense of joy, energy, and motivation.”

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, Principal and Director of Delhi Private School Dubai said:“Since it is the last week before winter vacations, we celebrate the festive season, especially Christmas. Parties are being hosted in classrooms with a 'Secret Santa' theme - a celebration where students exchange gifts.”

Even within school staff rooms, teachers share secret gifts. Principals explain there is a celebratory atmosphere, with the school's closure coinciding with the winter vacation season.

“We tell our students that they must enjoy their family time and the season, particularly since it is the season of giving and enjoyment. Considering that the final exams are around the corner (for many Indian schools), if they need to enhance some skills, they need to work on it too. At the same time, it is important for students to celebrate their family time,” added Nandkeolyar.

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