Kidzink is an organization for whom the connection to great Italian furniture and design runs deep. Having part British, part Italian ownership and with a longstanding and highly successful partnership with Tuscan manufacturing partner GonzagArredi Montessori now in its fourth year, Kidzink can definitely put claim to a very Italian sense of style!
This summer, the Kidzink team are hard at work on a project which will showcase their Italian heritage, the UAE’s very first Italian School, the Italian International School of Abu Dhabi.
For this latest Kidzinkdesign.com blog post, we spoke with the Italian International School’s newly appointed Principal, Janet DesJardins.
Janet, who has been a school Principal for 13 years (in seven different countries!) was pleased to have the opportunity to talk about this super stylish new Bella Scuola [beautiful school], a place she describes as “a magnificent architectural structure for education”.
Janet, you describe your new school as “a magnificent architectural structure for education”. Can you tell our readers why?
Well, firstly – the outside of our building is really something outstanding! Rendered in white and flanked with large columns running the length of the exterior, this is a school that makes a dramatic first impression. The campus buildings are loosely formed into an “E” shape, and whether inside or out, the Italian School will be crammed full of special architectural and design features. It is going to be a beautiful, inspiring place for children, staff and the local community alike.
Italy is an incredible country, one that many people are naturally curious about. There’s so many things to love and celebrate when it comes to Italy…in terms of the land, the geography, the food, the celebrations and (of course!) the beautiful language. As the first Italian school in the UAE, we are going to celebrate all these things here, with language being the ‘golden thread’ that ties the whole thing together. My team and I can’t wait to welcome our first students.
Kidzink has a whole host of Italian connections. How has working with Kidzink helped bring the UAE’s first Italian school to fruition?
From the moment that I became aware of Kidzink’s furniture and products, it was the superb quality that really struck me. Our school is united with everything Italian, so we have all appreciated the fact that the owners of Kidzink are Italian and that we are importing our furniture from Italy. It’s also a bonus that Kidzink and GAM have roots that very much are based in Montessori education, which was born in Italy.
It just was natural to our team that we would work with Kidzink. They made it very easy for me to envision the feeling, environment and atmosphere that our pupils experience each and every day. We wanted furniture that would be minimalistic, high quality…overall just beautiful, beautiful products. Working with Kidzink has not left me disappointed, not once!
What elements of the school’s design are you most excited about?
I’m confident that the whole school will be fabulous, but I am particularly excited to see the Kindergarten rooms in action.
The furniture from Kidzink is flexible, minimalistic, very modern and made with natural materials. We will be using the Reggio Emilia philosophy in our Kindergarten phase, where everything is based on natural things and bringing the outside in. Kidzink and the products that they offer go very well with what we envision for the school.
Using flexible furniture allows children a much more natural way to learn than just sitting in rows. Children can choose to sit on their knees, stand, sit – whatever suits them as an individual. Throughout the Italian International School learning will be active and participatory and Kidzink have made sure we have the right spaces for that to happen.
The Italian International School will open in September 2022. What will life at the school be like for students and staff?
All our teachers will be highly qualified, native English speakers. Our recruitment is at an advanced stage, and I am just delighted with the team we have been able to put together. As to curriculum, parents will find an exciting blend of IB along with Italian education principles.
Over and above great teaching and learning, we are making sure that there will be a huge number co-curricular activities for students to choose from. We have a famous football academy partnering with us, plus we have padel tennis courts, a sports hall, gymnasium and a swimming pool. Our students will also learn about one very important cornerstone of Italian life – food – in our specialist culinary arts centre.
All in all, students at the Italian International School will have so much to choose from and everything they need for academic success.
With thanks to Janet DesJardins at the Italian International School. Visit us on Instagram for more images and video of this very special school!