Pupils of all ages enrolled at the four Dubai-based Cognita schools, the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, Ranches Primary School, Horizon International School, Horizon English School, and the three schools within the Repton Family of Schools in the UAE, joined 85,000 young people across 16 countries last week to take part in Cognita’s fifth annual Global Be Well Day (GBWD).
Global Be Well Day is focused on Cognita’s Be Well Charter, the foundation upon which every wellbeing action rests. It has been designed to embed a culture of genuine wellbeing, educating the school group’s community of 100+ worldwide schools about the importance of looking after their mental and physical wellbeing and the six contributors to wellbeing that include: Sleep, Diet, Exercise, Connecting, Doing and Giving. For the duration of one school day every year, Cognita schools around the world focus on one or more of the main contributors to wellbeing, a fundamental aspect of a Cognita holistic education. GBWD activities this year focused on educating the pupil, staff and parent communities about ‘Digital Wellbeing.’
Dr Simon Camby, Group Chief Education Officer for Cognita, said: “All our schools focus on wellbeing throughout the year, but by joining together with the global Cognita school network across 16 different countries around the world on this day in September, we celebrate our collective commitment to wellbeing. In today’s world, creating healthy digital habits holds immense importance, which is why this year’s theme of resources, “Digital Wellbeing” is more pertinent than ever, equipping our students with the tools they need for optimal mental and physical health. This event serves as an annual reminder of the fundamental connection between wellbeing and education.”
Aiza, Year 6 Pupil at RGS Guildford Dubai said: “Global Be Well Day is one of my favourite days of the year, and this year I got to meet Chris McHardy to speak about how both podcasts and talking can support our wellbeing.’’
The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai went above and beyond to celebrate Global Be Well Day by organising a series of engaging activities and digital connections. One highlight was a remarkable collaboration with its sister school in the UK, where pupils participated in a ‘virtual choir’, fostering a sense of global unity. Dubai Eye 103.8 radio presenter, Chris McHardy, hosted a captivating session for Year 6 and 7 pupils on podcasts and public speaking, whilst Year 5 pupils digitally connected with their counterparts at Brighton College Singapore for a ‘digital penpals’ programme. Year 3 pupils, following a series of enlightening school trips to the Apple store, put their newfound skills to use by creating iMovies to share with friends and family abroad, whilst, Year 1 pupils had a delightful visit from the ‘jolly postman,’ who assisted them in creating digital postcards for their peers at RGS Prep in the UK, fostering international friendships and global understanding.
Horizon English School organised a diverse range of activities centered around promoting healthy sleep habits in the digital age. To underscore the importance of quality sleep, both staff and pupils donned pyjamas, creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning. The day began with a custom-made “Wake Up Shake Up” activity from the PE department, emphasising the significance of a good night’s sleep. Throughout the day, pupils engaged in a Moral, Social & Cultural lesson focused on sleep in the digital world and enjoyed a digital fact or fiction game show. The creative side was also explored through an art session with the #lookup theme, during which pupils crafted Mandalas and Dream catchers – and to further enhance wellbeing, musical lullabies and sleepy yoga sessions were integrated into the schedule. Staff members benefited from guided meditation sessions, and the day emphasised the importance of disconnecting from technology, with designated no-phone zones and no emails throughout the day.
Ranches Primary School prioritised digital and overall wellness for pupils with an array of activities. Pupils took part in a discussion on digital wellbeing, covering screen time balance and online kindness – and enjoyed a designated screen-free zone for non-digital activities like puzzles, board games, and imaginative play to foster creativity and social interaction. Pupils made digital wellbeing pledges, committing to responsible device usage, including no screens during mealtime. Other activities included a mindfulness circle with deep breathing and positive sharing followed by yoga and stretching for physical health. Pupils were also encouraged to take part in a nature activity by being encouraged to participate in outdoor walks, fostering a connection to nature and discussions on its impact. The day ended with guided relaxation or mindfulness to unwind, using calming music or stories.
At Horizon International School 1,385 pupils and 195 staff took part in a whole school wake and shake to start the day! The school focused on the science of sleep, living a healthy lifestyle and digital wellbeing with a range of activities for pupils, teachers and the parent community. Music was played throughout the schools and pupils were encouraged to ‘drop everything and be mindful’ and come off their digital devices for the day.
Repton Family of Schools in the UAE celebrated Global Be Well Day with a diverse range of enriching activities that engaged students and parents across campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The day commenced with a virtual one-minute meditation workshop hosted by Mindworks Meditation, featuring delightful breathing games like Sleeping Lions. In Repton Abu Dhabi, Senior School students led a spirited debate on digital wellbeing, addressing the appropriate daily screen time limits, while Junior School students enjoyed fun educational games, such as ‘sensory rest swaps’ and an exciting device posture workshop. Meanwhile, at Repton Dubai, the day began with student-composed musical performances, eloquently conveying the benefits of mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. The students then participated in collaborative group activities centred on digital and mental wellbeing, fostering a sense of unity. Outdoors, the students revelled in a day filled with in-house physical activities under the sun, punctuated by delicious, health-conscious treats during class breaks.
Repton Al Barsha treated parents to a valuable workshop on the ‘Importance of Sleep,’ presented by Dr Edward Cody from Mediclinic Parkview Hospital. This was followed by an insightful workshop led by Repton teachers, sharing practical tips to promote digital wellbeing at home. Concluding the day, both parents and students enjoyed a rejuvenating mindful yoga session led by the expert yogi, Rakhi Jutla. These activities collectively underscored the commitment of the Repton Family of Schools in the UAE to the holistic wellbeing of students, and the nurturing of a vibrant and caring community.