Amity International School Abu Dhabi students swap the classroom for open water

When not in class, students at Amity International School Abu Dhabi spend their time – literally – learning the ropes.

Amity is the only school in Abu Dhabi to have its own Water Sports Academy, recognized by the Royal Yachting Association.

It helps that the school is based right on the water, at Al Bahia Open Beach, where Amity has plenty of equipment perfect for beginners to learn in a safe and secure environment.

Starting in Grade 3 (around age 7), students have the opportunity to make the most of the capital’s natural environment and get out into the open water, learning essential life skills as they go. and as you go.

Children learn to sail in Pico boats, perfect for beginners.  Victor Besa / The National

The hope is that by the time they reach secondary school, they will be able to relate the knowledge learned about water to relevant topics and subjects learned in the classroom, from physical education and geography to biology. and physics.

Students have the opportunity to participate in paddle sports as well as traditional sailing activities, aided by healthy competition with their peers.

Instructor Stephanie divides the class into three teams.  Victor Besa / The National

“With our beachfront location, it’s silly not to make the most of it,” said Guy Schooley, deputy director of Amity International School Abu Dhabi. The National. “Kids love being on the water, especially after Covid. The opportunity to go sailing is great for them. They get physical activity, they are in nature, and they learn life skills. The teachers love it too and it’s great for their well-being.

While the academy offers an extensive after-school programme, water sports are also incorporated into students’ school calendar for two weeks of the year during the colder winter months, ensuring everyone is equipped with basic skills. as well as knowledge of water safety.

The teams are preparing for the mini regatta.  Victor Besa / The National

It’s not just Amity students who get involved. Parents are also welcome to participate in water activities while their children take their sailing lessons which often end with a friendly mini-regatta, which parents can stay and watch, and cheer on the attendants.

They can also sign up for training sessions and community events with the academy’s instructors, including women’s clubs, family activity days and trips to other emirates.

Parents can practice stand up paddle and kayak.  Victor Besa / The National

“We have a kayak and stand-up paddle club for parents that happens three times a week,” says Schooley.

“We wanted to re-engage the community after Covid and it has been very popular. It gives parents the opportunity to talk to each other, meet and bond around a common interest, which is really nice to see.

There is a potluck breakfast tent whenever the parent group meets.  Victor Besa / The National

Although the watersports program does not have to be competitive, it allows students to gain qualifications along the way if they wish, with the option of gaining internationally recognized qualifications from the Royal Yachting Association in sail and compete against other schools in an inter-school regatta. , hosted at Amity.

“Now that we’re fully capable of being back on the water, we’re definitely making up for lost time,” Schooley said.

Updated: 04 March 2022, 18:01