Mini and Junior Dukes

We all hope that our children succeed in school, achieve good results and go on to do great things with their lives. However, their general wellbeing and happiness plays a huge part in his or her future success. For this reason, working on helping our children to develop their self-confidence and independence from an early age is crucial.

The Mini and Junior Duke is there to help with that by giving children the opportunity to participate in a variety of new experiences. It teaches them that it is good to 'have a go' and challenges them to learn new and varied skills from an early age. By enrolling in the award, children will learn that you may not always succeed first time and that is okay. This helps them to develop the resilience they will need throughout their lives.

This Award has been running in schools since 2007 and has helped thousands of children aged 6 to 12 to realise their abilities and, for some, to discover new talents and passions. The concept was created by Dawn Waugh, a Scottish Primary School Teacher from Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow. She began teaching in 1994 and had noticed that the children depended on their teachers and parents for simple tasks they could have done for themselves. She felt they needed to be encouraged to learn to do things on their own and wanted to develop an award scheme to help children to become independent learners.

Having loved earning badges as a Brownie then later as a Guide and completing her Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Dawn started thinking about simple life skills children should be able to do and began to make up lists. By the end of the summer holiday of 2007, she had 40 challenges and created four progressive booklets. Each year she has adapted and expanded the booklets, the awards and its reach. HIS is fully supportive of this initiative and are proud to be one of the first schools in Dubai to join this journey.

We all know life can be hectic and we as parents are often too busy to allow our children to learn to do things for themselves as it's much quicker, as an adult, to do things ourselves. Many six year olds ARE capable of making toast for their breakfast, they CAN tie their shoelaces and they CAN make it up a hill. Many parents have begun expecting more from their children as they now know their youngsters are so capable! Children love to do things without help. They simply need the time and space to explore, learn from their mistakes and to learn to be safe.

Within the HIS Primary School we already offer many great opportunities like this to develop student's ability to lead themselves and others, while encouraging them to use a range of learning skills to help strengthen their character. The mini and junior dukes programme helps to formalise this and provides the children with the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification from successfully completing the award.

Here is some of the Dukes feedback gained from the students who have taken part in the programme:

  • Children love the feeling of achievement when they have been out in the hills for an adventure.
  • They feel a sense of being 'grown up' when they have successfully built a safe fire and toasted a marshmallow.
  • They like to show they can recite a long mobile phone number.
  • They are likely to be more careful with their buttons if they have learned how tricky it is to sew them back on!
  • They LIKE rules, and games like Chess are a great way to instil calm and discipline as well as learning good sportsmanship.
  • Everyone gets nervous making presentations but if you do it regularly from a very early age, it becomes easier each time.
  • They like having a purpose to each of the presentations.
  • They like being able to surprise their parents by cooking and baking.
  • It's really nice to feel you have done something kind or thoughtful for other people or to organise to get something fixed in their local area.
  • They like talking to the teachers whom they didn't really know so well about the things they have done.
  • They know their parents are proud of them when they have completed each level.

Horizon International School recognise the benefits this award can have on the children and are pleased to have started our Dukes journey. We look forward to sharing the many positive Dukes stories, photos and highlights throughout the year. For more information about the Mini and Junior Dukes programme at HIS please contact Mr Tate

Mini Duke

P2 – P3

  • # Silver
  • # Gold

Junior Duke

P4 – P7

  • # Bronze
  • # Silver
  • # Gold
  • # Platinum