Choosing a good nursery is probably one of the most important decisions a parent would make during the first few years of their child’s life. It is the start of his or her formal learning journey and although a lot less structured than primary school, it is here that the foundation is set. Away from the familiar setting of home and family for a couple of hours, the child gets exposed to numbers, letters and shapes. But more importantly they develop their social and emotional skills. They learn how to follow instructions, take turns, get along with peers and in the right setting, they develop self-confidence and become curious learners - qualities that lay a robust foundation for more formal education in the years ahead.
Though the benefits of a nursery are many, this could be a huge transition for the child, and hence it is important to be choose the right nursery for your child.
With so many options available in Dubai, how does one decide?
Lisa Bruce, Nursery Head, Tadpoles British Nursery, lists down a few things to look out for when selecting a pre-school for your child in Dubai.
- Nursery Tour
When visiting a prospective nursery, take your time, ask lots of questions and make sure that you are able to observe the day-to-day life of the nursery as well as talk with the Nursery Manager. To make the best observation of the facility, go down on your knees (to your child’s range of vision). Are the classrooms airy and bright with lots of natural light and expanding views of the outdoors? Is the furniture child sized? Are the walls of the classrooms adorned with children’s art, writings, their creations and their pictures? Does the space look like it belongs to the children? Do the children look relaxed and engaged in different activities that they are doing?
Do not limit your inspection to the indoor space alone. Outdoor spaces though harder to find, remain of vital significance to your child’s holistic development. Make sure your nursery provides ample time and opportunity for outdoor play and interaction with nature.
- Smooth Transitions
What is the nursery’s “Settling in policy”? Some nurseries (like ours) have designed spaces exclusively for parents to sit and work, in close proximity to their child (but away from the child’s line of vision). We realise that the settlement period is as hard on parents (if not harder) as it is on the child. We work closely with the parents to make this transition as easy and smooth as possible.
This space also provides parents with the opportunity to meet and engage with each other, thereby building and growing our Tadpoles Community.
- A Focus on Play
Young children learn best through play-based approaches rather than through formal teaching. Play supports children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development, and helps them learn to co-operate, negotiate and overcome challenges. A (supervised) free-flow format is vital for young children to be able to explore their creativity. It is always a good idea to ask how the teachers would support a child’s individual interests and learning through play. Will the teachers use your inputs on your child, to develop and plan activities for him or her?
It is important to see how the teachers communicate with the child. Children begin communicating in their first year of life, and adult support is critical in promoting this development in the use and understanding of language.
Also important is how the nursery communicates with parents. At Tadpoles British Nursery, we use a mobile application by which parents get regular updates in the form of pictures of their children doing various activities at the nursery and messages from their teachers.
- Licensed and Compliant Nursery
A number of new parents may miss this important factor, but it is vital to check if the nursery is licensed and compliant. The Ministry of Education has stipulated stringent standards that every early childhood education provider is required to meet. All establishments across Dubai are required to shape up or shut down. This factor is commonly overlooked but is a vital check. A compliant nursery is not only a reflection of quality, but also ensures continuity.
The most important factor is to feel confident in your choice. We know from research that the quality of a child’s nursery is critical in supporting their development and affects how successful they are as learners throughout their school life. A well-informed decision may take time and effort, but the reward is a happy, healthy and curious child.
For a nursery tour or to get more details, please contact 04 345 1470 or visit tadpolesbritishnursery.com