Monday, September 24, 2012

First Day of School

"Numbers, letters learn to spell
Nouns and books and show and tell
Play time we will throw the ball
Then back to class through the hall" - Jack Johnson

The HUGE excitement at our house the last few weeks has been focused on the start of school. Abigail and Saylor were literally bursting at the seams they were so excited.

A few little random background tidbits on schools here in the UAE... at least how they apply to us:
  • Expats are not eligible to attend 'public' schools.  
  • So, expats can only attend private schools
  • Tuition for our girls is over $8000 for each girl for the year + application fees, medical fees, books, uniforms and bus-fare
  • Uniforms cost over $300 for each girl. It does include a cap with neck shade (what?)
  • Fortunately, my employer will cover the cost of the tuition (we get to cover the rest)
  • The school is about 4 blocks from our house
  • Bus-fare is about $4000 for the year (ouch! that's $1000 a block) 
  • Walking isn't much of an option because several months of the school year still average a temperature over 100 degrees (at 8am) and the mixture of no sidewalks, no crossing guards, and crazy drivers isn't very safe for 4 year old girls.
  • There are a large variety of curricula to choose from when it comes to private schools in the UAE (American, Australian, British, Filipino, Canadian, etc)
  • The school our girls are attending has a British curriculum, but teaches students from 30+ different countries.
  • All schools are required to teach at least some Arabic
  • Lots of Bags - The girls had to purchase an official school book bag and gym bag. These should not be confused with the also purchased lunch bag or a general purpose school bag/backpack... which is not allowed to have wheels.
  • If you are late picking your kids up from school more than 10 minutes, after 3 times, you will be charged extra fees
  • The school has more security than Ft. Knox. At promptly 7:55am, the doors are closed and locked. If you need to stop at the school for any reason during the day, you must call the office upon arrival and be buzzed in the gate. No cell phone to make the call, no entrance.
I'm sure we will be sharing more random details as the girls settle in and we learn more about the school system. In the meantime, did I mention that the girls were excited. They had to lay out their clothes the night before just ... well, just because they wanted to.

I had to laugh that they even included socks and underwear.

The girls practically shot out of bed and Yvonne had to beg, plead and coerce them to eat breakfast. They wanted to skip that and just put on their uniforms. They were sooooo excited to go. The excitement lasted through picture taking, the drive to school, the walk to the building, more picture taking and then turned to complete nervousness as soon as they had to enter the building. Abigail did cry some giant silent tears when it was time to say goodbye but to her credit she didn't hold on to Yvonne, beg her to stay, or try to come with her. When she picked the girls up later that afternoon they were both all smiles and asking if they could go back again tomorrow.

A few pics of the first day:


  1. Literally? Are you sure you know what that word means? ha!

  2. I love the pics. Definitely (ahem) worth $300 each, you know, for that tailored clothing for the 4 year olds. But they are cute. Glad they're enjoying school. My kiddo loves it, too, and was really bummed when Saturday came.

  3. Oh they are too cute! They are too little to be going to school. I can't imagine all those fees-I was bugged the other day that they asked for another "donation" of $20! Glad they weren't too shy to go:)

  4. We loved the pictures. We felt kind of bad for Talon. He looked like he would have liked to go too. The girls look so cute in their little uniforms. Their shoes are super cute too. Pretty expensive, huh. Thanks for posting. It was fun to read all about their day. We would love to see more pictures. They are all growing up way too fast. We love you all. Tell them all hi from grandma and grandpa Anderson

  5. They are adorable in their little school outfits! So cute and expensive ... did you ever consider doing pre-school at home? just wondering... I can't imagine spending so much. I sorta can relate to Melissa above - I had to pay $5 the other day for some reading curriculum. I guess I shouldn't feel quite so bad next time.