Shane and Maddie Greene admit they took a gamble back in January 2009 when they selected Al Yasmina School for their three children. Rolls at schools in the capital were tight; Yasmina was the only school that could offer places for their two oldest sons Joachim and Jonas. The school looked good; it also had some impressive sporting facilities. Shane and Maddie decided to take a punt. It turned out to be an excellent choice. "With the benefit of four years hindsight, we are very content with our choice and would not wish our children to be schooled anywhere else in Abu Dhabi," the couple says. Joachim and Jonas were joined by their sister Mia eight months after they started and their little brother Sebastian started at Al Yasmina in September 2012. They are in Year 8, Year 5, Year 2 and FS1 respectively. What is most important to the Greenes is their children are happy with the school, they seem to have all grown in confidence and are progressing well.
The couple say the school's strengths are its strong academic achievement, especially in the context of the relatively short time it has been operating, and its excellent facilities and in particular its sporting amenities. The couple say that the FS1 and FS2 classrooms and shared areas are extremely well planned and are perfect for younger children. "They are being formally taught with the added advantage of also having the freedom to explore and investigate activity areas of their own choice; an opportunity that is so important for foundation stage education. Having seen the facilities in other schools, we believe Al Yasmina has some of the best facilities in Abu Dhabi for 3 - 4 year olds." The Greenes believe that Al Yasmina has a growing reputation as one of the best schools in Abu Dhabi and the recent recruitment of teachers and the reorganisation of the school in time for the 2012/2013 academic year means "it will only get better." They say Al Yasmina offers stability in a professional, safe and welcoming environment, which is important for the family, as they had to move regularly when they were living in the UK.
Shane and Maddie say their children have had excellent teachers over the past four years and the couple are delighted with their academic progress and with the school's increased focus on sport. They are also impressed with the changes and ethos that have been implemented by the school's management team. "We are particularly impressed with how the Head of School, Mr Gale and his team have handled the recent re-organisation and re-structuring process, whilst still ensuring the tempo and focus of the school routine was maintained," they say. "We appreciate the information flow and briefings given by Mr Gale and his team during a number of parent briefing evenings and there is tangible evidence that suggestions put forward by parents at these meetings have been considered and implemented. "There is a far greater, and very welcome, focus on communication exchange between the school and parents and the recent staff re-structuring and recruitment drive promises to put Al Yasmina firmly on the UAE map as being one of the best education providers in the region." The Greenes have recently added baby Sofia to the family. They do plan to eventually settle in Sweden but while they remain in the UAE, she will be the fifth member of the family to attend Al Yasmina.