Where did the idea for L’arc en ciel Dubai come from?
The ‘centres de loisirs’ in France gave us the idea to develop the concept in Dubai, with the aim of providing the multilingual community with an after school place where children could cultivate self-confidence, self-motivation, social and linguistic abilities all accompanied with language tutoring.
It’s a concept not only for children but one that also focuses on adults’ development with specially tailored classes and workshops.
How long has the centre been open and what has the feedback been like?
The official opening of the centre was in March 2013 and the feedback has been great. During our first Summer Camp in 2013 we received so much positive feedback and encouragement from parents who were extremely pleased with the progress and development of their children.
What exactly are the services you provide?
L’arc en ciel offers different discovery and expression workshops and classes for children in the chosen language – either French, English, Arabic or Spanish. Theatre, cooking, painting, singing and physical activities are just some of the types of classes we provide. We also offer language courses and coaching support dedicated to children and teens from grade one to 12 as well as intensive sessions and kids camps on Saturdays and school holidays.
We also offer fast track, active conversation courses for adults while their children are attending workshops. All the classes and tutoring that take place in the centre can also be done at home for people who prefer this approach.
Do you cater for children from multi–lingual families and families who want their children to become multi-lingual?
Yes, we welcome kids from different nationalities and those born of bilingual families. They come to our centre to reinforce their mother tongue, their second and even their third language. This is really not unusual in Dubai!
How does L’arc en ciel differ to other after school clubs and facilities?
L’arc en ciel offers bespoke programs dependent on individual needs. It’s the child who indicates to us the education they need and this varies for everyone. We focus on providing a trusting environment so that each child has the best possible opportunity for improvement and development of their skills and talents. What is most important for us is that we are able to get deeper into their linguistic, creative and expressive learning while repeating activities, but each time in a new or different way. To us, the real victory is when we can see that our students have become more focused on the learning process, on improving communication and as a result their growing self- confidence and cultural awareness becomes clear.
Can you describe what a typical session at the centre involves?
Well, there isn’t necessarily a typical session as we have so many different activities, but if we look at a theatre session as an example, we start with some vocal and body exercises in order to prepare for the activity and to focus on us all being together and working together. Then we explain the scenes that will be performed – through our experience we know that visualisation is important as it helps people remember things more easily and to understand what is happening. When it comes to the acting it’s the moment to be experimental. We encourage students to show what they feel with enthusiasm and without the fear of getting it wrong or feeling silly. Finally, we go into feedback and each child expresses themselves about their individual and group performances while the teacher guides the children and encourages self correction.
How can parents stay involved with what their kids are doing every day and get updates on their progress?
We create what we call ‘un cahier de vie’ which means ‘a book of life’. It’s a link between the students and their families so parents always know what is happening. We also welcome parents to the centre and take time to discuss their child’s progress with them.
Are you only open after school?
Adults are welcome in our centre all day, every day, the whole year through. Children are welcome on a regular or occasional basis as you like, after school, on Saturdays and for holiday camps.
Some parents want their kid to learn another language but are concerned that it might confuse them too much. How can they be sure this is right for them?
Children are well equipped to develop and learn skills early on so they show great ability when exposed to one or more languages – even starting from birth! This is where our unique learning specialists and our tailored programmes come in though as it cannot be accomplished without specific and individual attention. Learning a foreign language is a fantastic life skill and a chance to understand different cultures at any age!
Suitable for kids age four and up. Sat-Thur, 9.30am-7pm, including school holidays.. Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 1. www.larcenciel.ae (04 385 4605).