Early Years and Elementary Program
Lower School Program
As the Head of Lower School (Early Years and Elementary), I am excited to welcome you to the GAAQ website to learn about our excellent education-based community. I have been an overseas educator since 2010 in five different countries and I am proud to be a GAAQ Raptor! Upon joining the community for the 2021-2022 school year, I found GAAQ to be an excellent school! We have a strong staff of diverse teachers that bring a wealth of knowledge and joy for learning to our school.
As you read through our site, I am sure you will see the passion for learning our educators have in addition to our whole-child focus. We value partnering with families to foster the social-emotional and academic growth and development of all children. We have our five core values that permeate our academic lessons and the ethos of our community; leadership, respect, innovation, purpose and tenacity are the core values that drive instruction, decision making, and our daily interactions.
We have international teachers from 15 countries, predominantly from North America (United States and Canada), who are highly trained in the American approach to education based on the Common Core standards. Please read about each division to learn more about what makes GAAQ successful in educating young people.
We hope you can see that education starts with valuing each child and seeing each child’s potential. We look forward to hearing from you and showing you how GAAQ is an exceptional school in Doha, Qatar.
Mr. Jordan Scheer
Principal, Lower School
Pre-K, KG1 and KG2 Learning at GAAQ
Early Years Program (Pre-K – KG1)
GAAQ’s youngest learners are educated through a play-based approach grounded in the Creative Curriculum. This means that teachers use developmentally-appropriate teaching practices that match the way children develop which maximizes their optimal learning. The teachers create learning experiences where constructive purposeful play, interactions with the physical environment and partnering with families are the utmost importance. As a result, we believe the best will be developed and demonstrated in our students.
Our teachers know that social-emotional competence is a significant factor in children’s future academic success; therefore, they foster positive relationships and prosocial behaviors of cooperating, consoling, helping and sharing. We also know that through play, we can develop self-regulation skills, support memory development and foster positive approaches to learning. Teachers in the early years’ stage lay the critical foundation for language and literacy, numeracy, science, social studies, technology and the arts through setting up centers and interest areas to match the topics of study. Some topics of study our early years children experience include, but are not limited to:
• Pre-K (3-year old): Welcome to School, Buildings, Sand, Music Making and Baking
• KG1 (4-year old): Pets, Boxes, Simple Machines, Tubes and Tunnels and Signs
Children explore these areas while the teachers foster curiosity through asking questions and developing skills on a continuum of development.
After school Activities (ASAs) and Student Enrichment
Even though there are no ASAs for Pre-K and KG1 students, our teachers work to enrich the learning environment in the classrooms as well as the school and outside of our walls. The classroom environments are well-resourced to match child interest and desire to explore through a rich diversity of materials such as blocks, paints, books, snap cubes, musical instruments, dancing space and visually stimulating and ever-changing classrooms to match units of study. In addition, we have safe and secure nap rooms and dedicated play areas for Pre-K and KG1 students. Once the littlest Raptors are comfortable in their classrooms, the teacher will introduce them to the greater school building with outings to the school library to explore books and atrium to view and participate in school performances. Additionally, our early years’ students are invited and encouraged to attend field trips off-campus to explore Doha’s beautiful parks in connection to their units of study. Our little Raptors are nurtured well as they continuously spread their wings throughout the year.
Elementary Program (KG2 – Grade 5)
At GAAQ, we know that every child has a flame that needs to be ignited for continued learning. We foster this light through our academic, social/emotional and extracurricular programs. Our approach, which is centered on developing the whole child, includes a rich diversity of academics, counseling, physical education, fine arts and music education. The GAAQ community developed the core values which focus on competencies that students will use their whole lives (leadership, respect, innovation, purpose, and tenacity). These values are woven seamlessly into daily learning. We strive to use a cross-curricular approach called Problem Based Learning (PBL); this allows students to learn concepts, content, and skills while applying them to a real-world situation.
GAAQ’s elementary students experience the American Common Core standards-based curriculum which is full of choice and opportunities for students to explore while developing academic skills. We count on teachers providing highly-engaging cross-curricular lessons that foster the love for learning and challenge learners to take risks and learn from mistakes.
Everyday Math is a program that is well-researched and encompasses the best teaching methods that help children build a strong mathematical foundation in their elementary education years.
Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop is designed for teachers to give a mini-lesson to the whole group focused on one skill, strategy or reading behavior. Additionally, the teacher can host small group instruction and conferencing during work time when children are working on their own or in partnerships. This approach is rich in student choice within the genre the teacher is instructing within. This choice allows for students to build a love for reading and writing to last a lifetime.
Science instruction is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in which teachers write essential questions that spark student inquiry and development of deep-thinking skills.
Social Studies, including Qatar History (which is taught in the homeroom classes), often offers students strong connections to the reading and writing curriculum. Students learn content while practicing their literacy skills.
“Specials” classes are offered daily to students providing music, art, physical education, technology, guidance classes by the counselor and library. Students enjoy varied experiences to round out the rigorous academic program ensuring the development of a balanced lifestyle.
Our Arabic and Islamic curriculum follows Qatar’s Ministry of Education (MOE) guidelines as students have classes daily where they learn literacy skills. The Arabic team of teachers also offers Islamic Studies to native and non-native students while non-Islamic students have enriching activities in the classroom.
Afterschool Activities (ASAs) and Student Enrichment
During the year, we have allocated days to celebrate various aspects of learning to enrich classroom experiences. Some of these events include Qatar National Day, United Nations Day, International Mother Language Day, World Read Aloud Day and much more! We also offer choice activities after school where students can interact in multi-age groups to do chosen activities ranging from multi-sports, cultural dance, arts and crafts, sketching and cartooning, reader’s theatre, singing, eco-club, STEM activities, calligraphy and more! These offerings change per academic term based on our teachers’ sharing their extracurricular passions with the students.
Our students enjoy regular, off-campus field trips to various locations as an extension of the learning in the classroom. Some locations our students have visited include Al Bidda Park, Baladna Park, Purple Island Mangroves, Qatar National Library, Qatar National Museum, Museum of Islamic Art, Carrefour, Msheireb Museum, Bin Jelmood House, KidZania and more! In addition, our students have the opportunity to attend a sports trip twice a year. Students can sign-up to compete with other schools in tournaments by grade level.
Lower School Guides
Kindergarten (KG1) Parent Guide
Kindergarten (KG2) Parent Guide
Grade 1 Parent Guide
Grade 2 Parent Guide
Grade 3 Parent Guide
Grade 4 Parent Guide
Grade 5 Parent Guide
English as a Second Language Support
At GAAQ, we celebrate our cultural diversity. We have students from over 80 different countries which contributes to the multitude of mother tongues in our student body. In many ways, our diversity enriches the classroom linguistically. Our teachers are excellent in working with students who are acquiring English as their second, third or, in some cases, fourth language! The teachers use various strategies including word walls, vocabulary instruction, sentence frames, visuals and realia for daily instruction. Also, we have several teachers on staff that are language acquisition experts who work as part of the Student Support Team (SST) that help assist students in small group instruction. These experts also assist classroom teachers in using effective strategies and resources. At GAAQ, our team of teachers, provide a wide-ranging, skill-based approach to language acquisition.