14 September 2022
As the memories of summer adventures linger, students around the Cayman Islands are back in class.
Though back-to-school time marks the end of summer break, it also marks the beginning of something new — a new school, classes, teachers, activities and friendships, to name a few.
For those living, working and visiting Camana Bay, it may also mean changes to routine or the sight of students becoming familiar once again.
For Cayman International School (CIS) and Village Montessori – the two private schools located in Camana Bay – the start of this school year includes changes and additions aimed at improving the academic experience for students, faculty and families alike.
A new look
Some of Cayman’s littlest learners are looking sharply dressed as Village Montessori introduces uniforms.
Jeifrene Small, director and owner of Village Montessori, says the school wants to promote a sense of pride and harmony for its students.
“As a recently licensed primary school on the island, we want to be sure when our students participate in external activities and events that they are recognised. Introducing a uniform helps to easily identify them and creates a sense of school pride,” she said.
“Uniforms also equal the playing field and provide a sense of harmony and unity for our students.”
The new uniform combinations include dresses, skorts, shorts and polo shirts in either emerald or light pink colours.
New faces and learning opportunities
The CIS administration this year welcomed a new high school principal, Claire McQuillan, and a new assistant principal, Manouchka Pierre, Ph. D.
As the new head of the high school division, McQuillan joins CIS after most recently completing six years as secondary principal at another international school based in Sri Lanka. She moved to the Cayman Islands with her husband and daughter.
“Everyone has been so friendly and kind to us – I’ve heard so much about 'Caymankind,' and it’s certainly been the theme since we’ve arrived on the island,” she said.
“Cayman is very much as I expected and hoped it to be. It’s a beautiful place and CIS is just as amazing; the facilities are outstanding."
McQuillan said the high school is introducing additional electives this year as it continues expanding the curriculum.
“The high school is growing, which is a lovely situation for us to be in. We have a new drama course, which is an elective, and we are hoping in years to come to move it into the diploma programme to offer theatre,” she said. “Another course offered this year is app development within the STEAM programme as an elective technology course.”
A new psychology course is being offered as well.
CIS has welcomed 45 new faculty members to keep up with the expanding curriculum and fill the vacancies for the school year.
Growth all around
Village Montessori also has new faces joining its team as its growth requires additional faculty to support its goal of providing inclusive learning opportunities for its students.
“We’ve welcomed two new specialised teachers for our toddlers division and filled two other vacancies for this school year,” said Small. “Our continued efforts to support all children in an inclusive environment as best as we can, given our resources, is our major initiative.”
As the school is currently at capacity, with an extensive wait list, it hopes to continue expanding to help fill the growing need for available school placement on the island.
Beyond the classroom, the school is increasing extracurriculars and student events following previous changes in school activities due to the pandemic.
“After-school clubs for our students are being resumed and additional ones planned and offered, including music. For example, we have a teacher who plays the ukulele, so we are looking forward to starting a ukulele club for the students to learn to play as well,” said Small.
Village Montessori plans to reintroduce the school’s annual concerts this year, especially the Christmas concert, which has been a welcomed event in the heart of the Town Centre.
This article will also be featured in the September/October print edition of Camana Bay Times.