Healthy Easting Workshop

Yesterday we held our healthy snack and lunch workshop, and thanks to the Chef from Pure, SImon, it was an extremely interactive workshop. Thank you so much to those who joined us we hope you went away with some recipes to make with your children over the spring break. For those who were unable to attend I wanted to share some photos of what we made as well as the posters with recipes and tips.

food pyramid

We talked about how to hide the vegetables that most children fuss over eating, perhaps in a carrot & zuchinni muffin, or in a red lentil pasta sauce.


We introduced a new humous recipe to our audience, which as a westerner I was worried how it would be perceived as it uses low fat yoghurt. However it went down a real treat, both sessions we had some dads making them, and were surprised how it only took the less than 10 minutes to make humous from scratch, easily!


Alongside Humous we made Banana, Blueberry and Cinnamon  muffins as well as speaking about giving your children choices.




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Oreos vs Grapes, Doritos vs Dried Banana Chips

Next Wednesday April 1st GES will host their third in a series of parent information sessions. The focus of the session will be on healthy food ideas for children.

Everyday snacks and lunches become the bane of parents’ lives. Trying to get our kids to eat healthy or just eat anything at all is a constant struggle! We hope to provide some suggestions, tips and information on how to create a balanced diet for your children that they will love. The information sessions will be open to parents of ECC and GES students and will be offered twice, once at 8:15am in the GES cafeteria and again at 12:05pm in the Sea View Room of the Campus Library. The workshop will be led by school counselors Becky Williams and Yasmeen Ghunaim, and will be offered in English and in Arabic.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.

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Cyber Bullying

I heard this week that Monica Lewinsky had spoken at a TED talk about the power of shame, and within her talk she spoke about the impact that social media has on young children. In our day and age, social media can instantly inform the world of the joys and happiness occurring in your life, but also humiliate, embarrass, ridicule and hurt you in a second with a picture, a tag, or a word. Words do hurt no matter what that old saying says (“Sticks, and stones, may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.) I know that is what we are supposed to think and say but I also know personally that I  still remember the teasing mean words that were said to me when I was 13. 20 years later those words have still got a sting.  According the children’s charity NSPCC, one in five children is now bullied online.

At school we try very hard to show international mindedness, teaching the children to be open-minded, to respect all people and how to handle situations of conflict or difficulty. In Grade 1 and 2 we have been learning about identifying the clues in people’s faces and bodies which tell us how someone is feeling as when we can empathise with how someone is feeling we are more likely to get along better. In Grade 5 Ms Yasmeen is working on classic tales such as Red riding hood and Cinderalla and asking the students how they would go about resolving these conflicts so that everyone is happy and no one is hurt.

I would encourage you to speak with your children, find out what they know about cyber-bullying and make sure you have the ability to keep an eye on what your child is looking at and posting on social media.

Face with a tearCyberbullying is a growing problem and can have devastating consequences

“What is cyberbullying?

It can include:

  • Texting scary or rude messages by mobile phone
  • Sending unpleasant photos by mobile phone
  • Using online message boards, chatrooms or social networks to post cruel messages
  • Deleting the victim’s name or ignoring their messages on groups or social networks

What to do about cyberbullying

  • Tell someone, be it a family member, teacher or other trusted adult, if something upsets you
  • Don’t respond to messages but save evidence
  • Don’t take everything to heart; know yourself
  • Don’t give out your own or friends’ personal information
  • Be careful about what you write and post online
  • Know how to block or report people”

(taken from :

  • Don’t add to the problem by liking or sharing an unkind image or comment
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Time to say goodbye

Yasmeen and I have noticed recently that a few of our students have been leaving with very little notice. Every child has a different story and a different reason, and yet some are also sadly unaware that they are about to leave the place they have called home. Today I bumped into a Grade 2 boy, who informed me that tomorrow is his last day, I was already aware of this and so was his homeroom teacher. When I asked him how he felt about leaving he stated he was sad, but also excited to be going back to where he was from, although he would miss all the friends he had made here at Kaust.

Children are very versatile and thankfully most adapt well to change however we wanted to give you some ideas of how to make that change as smooth as possible for your children, even if the change is moving back to Jeddah from Kaust, it is still a process and a loss for your child, as well as yourself.

“People living the globally mobile life can have healthy closures by learning how to build a RAFT. Just as you would rope together logs to construct a rudimentary float to safely cross a body of water, expatriates must tie together four important basics to help them transition well to the other side. The four “logs” of the RAFT are:




Think Destination


It is tempting to leave unfinished business when we are moving away to start a new life. Unresolved misunderstandings or other relationship tensions are often easier to run away from than to deal with. But unsettled conflicts are like mental baggage that we carry with us and can interfere with building healthy new relationships on the other side. We need to make relationships right with people before we leave or we will harbor bitterness and discontentment which will not only prevent us from moving onto the next “log” but can even manifest later in life as physical ailments.

Reconciliation means asking for and granting forgiveness for past hurts. Whether you have been hurt by someone else or was, perhaps unknowingly, the perpetrator of the grievance, forgiveness must take place. Many times relationships sour without our understanding of what caused the split. This is the time to find out.

We need to ask ourselves, “Who do I need to apologize to?” or “Who would I like an apology from?” Sometimes parents must help their children identify the hurts so they, too can reconcile relationships. And sometimes we really don’t want or need an apology, but just discovering the reasons for soured relationships can begin the restoration.

There are many ways to reconcile a relationship. The most direct manner would be a person-to-person discussion, but if there is a lot of tension, the use of an intermediary might facilitate the process. A handwritten note or apologetic card is always acceptable and even email is today considered a suitable route of communicating. Whatever the method used, forgiveness, given or received, frees us to move ahead and heal.


Just as it feels good to forgive someone, it also warms our souls to affirm those who are important to us. We need to let the special people in our lives know how much we have loved, respected and appreciated them. Affirming others helps us as much as it does the other person. It brings closure and acknowledges them as important to us in this place. Who are the people in your life that deserve special recognition? Is there a favorite baby sitter, neighbor, teacher, mentor, coach or cleric that has been a big part of your or your family’s life?

Just as there are many ways to reconcile with others, so there are any number of ways to affirm others – tell them directly or bring them a note, card, cookies, flowers or a personal memento of times spent together. This could even be the time to give away some of the items you cannot take to your new home. There is comfort in knowing that someone special is enjoying them now.


Nothing brings us to closure better than being able to say those two little words – good-bye. Make a list of all your favorite people, places, pets and possessions and plan a proper farewell. It could be visiting the pet you had to give away to a trusted family friend for the last time. Perhaps visit your favorite thinking spot and skip a stone across the pond one more time or plant a tree in your favorite park.

I know of one family whose small children went around their beloved playground saying farewell to their favorite swing, climbing rope and tree. Another family took a picture of every room in their house before and after the packing boxes. And yet another buried a time capsule in their backyard with photos, letters and trinkets in the hope that they could one day return.

Farewell parties are a wonderful way of making more memories while celebrating the richness of the past and looking ahead to the future. Even if someone else has planned a party for you, think about staging your own to be certain you will be able to say farewell to those you care about the most.

Think Destination

While still in the throes of farewells it is important to begin thinking ahead. What will you and your family need in your new destination? Can you take everything with you or must you leave some things behind? Will you require different clothing for the new climate? Will it be necessary to replace your appliances? What will the food and other shopping be like there? Do you already have a place to live or will you need to stay in a hotel until you find one?

Try to learn as much about your new environs as possible before you leave. Get your hands on guide books, maps, pictures and internet sites for your new destination. Assign every member of the family a fact finding task and sit down together to share the information. Do you know of someone living there now who can answer questions for you?

Leaving a place you have been rooted in for any amount of time is never easy, but making the time for proper farewells is something no one has ever regretted. Proper closure and forward thinking help pave a smooth road to transition and reduce the stumbling blocks of adjustment.” (taken from:

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Birthday Parties

I just read an article from my aunt’s website about her struggles and joys of having a daughter with a severe handicap. The article was actually a friend of hers talking about the disappointments of not being invited to birthday parties. It is always a tricky decision of who to invite, how many, how big to make it but this was truly thought provoking to me especially the line about when my children look back at their parties wouldn’t they be glad they had invited someone who was a little different, and wouldn’t they be glad that their mum and dad were open-minded and caring enough to invite someone who may need a little more attention and care. Anyway hope you enjoy :

There’s a debate that’s been aired on UK TV recently about whether schools should allow birthday invitations to be handed out in class if not all the children are invited to the party. Obviously there are plenty of sides to that debate, both practical (maybe you can’t host a whole class full of kids), particular (do you have to invite the kid that bullies you), moral (why is it any of the school’s business – though they’re only suggesting a rule for what happens in school) and emotional (isn’t 5-11 years of age too young to learn such cruel lessons about exclusion – can’t we save those a little longer?)
It’s drawing in a lot of people because, as every parent knows, there are few injuries that can be done to you that are as painful as seeing your child left out, disappointed, hurt without understanding why…
As the parent of a little girl (aged 9) who received her only ever invitation to a school friend’s party five years ago the discussion hit me hard. I know at school she must hear the children talking about parties, who went, what they wore. She can’t ask me why she’s not invited, and honestly, if she could I wouldn’t know what to tell her – I can imagine few more difficult conversations.
Celyn has her own birthday parties and I’m more grateful than I can say that each year six or seven little girls turn up and light up her day for a few hours. It’s frightening to think how much I’d pay them to come if that were necessary and an option.
I understand the reasons she’s not invited. People are awkward around her disabilities, worried they might have to cope with something, worried perhaps that we might just leave her for them to look after or that the presence of her carer would spoil things… I understand all that and I can’t condemn it. But I think that when those girls are grown, if they could look back at their parties and remember Celyn was there – they’d feel better about themselves, about their parents, and they’d be better people. So perhaps those mothers could think of my daughter as an opportunity rather than a problem.
I know that the hard lessons have to be learned, that they can’t be put off forever… but doctors and statistics tell us that Celyn is unlikely to ever be an adult, and for me, knowing all the sh** she has to put up with and that she’s already had to come to terms with… I’d rather see her life punctuated by parties than by disappointments.
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Work -Life Balance

Apologies for not having blogged in a while. We were so grateful to see so many people attend our workshop. We noticed a trend amongst Phd students who were struggling with the challenge of being a good student and a good parent, and then look what Kaust is advertising! We would like to highly recommend anyone who is struggling with work-life balance to attend the below workshop.

Work-Life Balance in Science: Opportunity or Challenge?

Professor Marlene Belfort will address one of the biggest issues facing women: having a career and having a family. She is a strong believer that women who wish to combine children with a research career should not be seen as taking a step back, but instead as bolstering both activities.

Work-Life Balance in Science: Opportunity or Challenge?

Professor Marlene Belfort

Tuesday, February 24

12:00-1:00 p.m.

Al-Jazri (building 4), level 5, room 5209

Lunch provided; sponsored by Office of the VP of Academic Affairs

Much has been written about women in science regarding gender bias and the extraordinary dropout rate. Although almost one-half of graduate students in the sciences are women, but the number who are full professors, scientific leaders, or members in the National Academy of Sciences is in the 3% to 8% range. Young female scientists may be intimidated by the odds and terrified by choices they feel they need to make between their apparently conflicting professional and parenting roles. Dr. Belfort will share her personal experiences handling both roles and explain how doing so can help rather than hurt a woman’s career and also help motivate her to become a better parent.

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Information Sessions

Dear Parents,

Next week GES and ECC will kick off a series of information sessions for parents. Topics will focus on academics as well as social and personal matters. Session topics will include an introduction to the Primary Years Program (PYP), Healthy Food Ideas for your Child, and GES Assessments and how we use them, along with many other topics. The sessions will be bilingual and interactive, aimed at continuing to build a strong home-school partnership.

The first information session will occur next Wednesday February 11th. The topic is: “Mummy, Daddy I don’t want to go to bed!” Home routines that will make you and your children happier. The session will be offered twice, at 08:15 – 09:15 in Room 1414 of the elementary school, and at 12:00 – 1:00 in the SeaView Room on the second floor of the university library.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday. If you have any questions please contact the Elementary Assistant Principal Jeff Woodcock at

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