International Mindedness

International- Mindedness

GEMS American Academy (GAA) we are blessed with a very diverse community of students, teachers and parents. Over 94 nationalities are represented by our students and as an IB World school, we promote international-mindedness in all aspects of the education we provide. This concept revolves around celebrating diversity and understanding the people from around the world bring languages and cultures that are rich contributions to humanity. We are “Not Different but Distinct”. Ultimately, at our school we strive to develop students who see themselves connected to a global community and have a sense of responsibility to its members.

•At GAA we live the school’s philosophy, values and mission statement. This encourages all community members to be principled and caring, to strive for peace and to accept a shared responsibility for the planet.

•At GAA we celebrate the school community exploring, incorporating and recognizing the cultural diversity within our classrooms. We aim to build a collaborative school culture that understands that cultural diversity is the norm.

•At GAA we recognize our children are global citizens and value the cultural contributions they bring with them from their own unique backgrounds, experiences and knowledge.

•At GAA, an internationally minded person is a student, teacher or parent who demonstrates the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. A GAA student will be proud of their own nationality and culture while appreciating the value of all people across a colorful, vibrant, diverse world.

Mindfulness at GAA


Grounded in a field of scientific research, the practice of Mindfulness and its applications are widespread. Increasingly, in our fast-paced, digital world, adults and children alike are in need of techniques and strategies to find balance. The fruition of Mindfulness is an overall increased feeling of well-being; giving us tools to manage our stress, as well as enhance our innate human qualities that promote a feeling of genuine contentment.

Ted Talk: Why Aren’t We Teaching Mindfulness To You?


Mindfulness has become a very popular term and is growing it’s reach in various sectors around the globe; most notably in the fields of medicine and education. It is a research-based practice that entered the medical field in the 1970’s (pioneered by a man named Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn). Since then it has continued to spread because of it’s many benefits and contributions to well-being.

Mindfulness is what is referred to as a mind and heart training that cultivates an optimal balance between alertness and relaxation in the mind, whilst also facilitating an attitude of curiosity and friendliness in the heart. This aligns directly with our first School Priority of fostering a culture of kindness at GAA. Practicing Mindfulness techniques, enhances our already-present capacity for awareness and allows us to respond to situations with more creativity instead of reactivity.


At GAA we follow a whole-school approach to integrate Mindfulness that weaves the threads of: Being Mindful, Teaching Mindfully, and Teaching Mindfulness. As such, teachers and administrators have the opportunity to participate in practices and professional development to learn about and cultivate Mindfulness, translating this into classroom applications, whilst also teaching students strategies that are relevant and age-appropriate. Students in grade 5, undertake an entire unit of study under the transdisciplinary theme: Who We Are that inquires into the central idea: Mindfulness is an active process that allows us to grow. Parents also are given the opportunity to learn about Mindfulness within our Parental Engagement outreach.

It is groundbreaking work here at GAA! An integrated approach to teaching mindfulness is unique. And we are excited to see how it continues to evolve and holistically support our entire community.


 Mrs Elissa Ballard

Mindfulness Coordinator

Grade 4 PYP Teacher