Connector September 2023

CONNECTOR.AE 36 CONNECTOR.AE 37 Kids And Education Kids And Education Damien Marshall, Vice Principal at Primo and Junior School at Bloom World Academy Early Excellency Centre said, “Try to meet with key staff including the nursery manager, asking questions such as, how do you professionally develop your teachers and assistants, what experience and qualifications do your teachers have, and how do you recruit your teachers.” Additionally, teachers at the nursery need to have a welcoming feel, to ensure the child is comfortable and able to grow. Another key aspect to consider is the staff-to-children ratio, where the number of children are assigned to one teacher. During formative years, children require more care and attention, and the nursery needs to provide the right amount of staff to ensure their child is taken care of. Roshi Tandon, CEO of Chubby Cheeks Nursery and Deira Private School added, “Staff should be qualified and trained in early-year education, child care and first aid. Do not hesitate to ask questions about staff qualifications, training, and very importantly, staff to children ratio. Whilst nurseries in the UAE are regulated to hire qualified staff, make sure there is a welcoming culture. Do the staff look happy, friendly and welcoming? Do they give you a listening ear and show empathy for your concerns? Do staff go down to the child’s level when talking to a child and speak in a gentle, reassuring voice? These are essential cues. Children need to feel safe and loved, check that the staff are able to respond to individual children’s needs, comfort and encourage them and keep them safe.” Inclusive learning: Nurseries are the first educational facilities that a child is enroled in. Here, children are taught important life skills on how to learn from challenges, and use them as a learning curb, to develop holistically. Lessons taught during these formative years, can be used throughout a child’s life to make better decisions in the future, as well as learn how to process their emotions. in learning to interact, share, and collaborate with peers. Trained teachers provide tailored guidance and stimulate curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving abilities in young children, promoting their emotional and intellectual growth which is highly crucial for holistic development. Additionally, nurturing independence and routine adaptation instil essential life skills.” When is the right time to enrol my child in a nursery? In the UAE, children can be enroled in a nursery, anytime from the time they turn 45 days old to four years old. The right time to enrol a child in a nursery entirely depends on the parents. For some, it can be due to busy schedules where they need to find care for their child while at work, and for others, it is to make their child more independent, and learn how to better interact with peers. Zulekha Khan, Nursery Manager at Dibber Al Barsha South said, “The appropriate age to enrol a child in a nursery can vary based on cultural norms, country-specific regulations, including parent leave length and the child’s individual development. Children can start at nursery, as long as the setting and the educators come together to make every child feel valuable and become the best version of themselves.” What are some things to look out for when choosing a nursery? After deciding to send a child to nursery, finding the right one is key to ensuring they are able to thrive in the environment and develop in all aspects. Some of the things to consider are: Finding the right curriculum: Each child enroled at a nursery has varying interests and rates of development. The first thing to consider is if the nursery matches with the values of the family, and if they are able to provide the right care and nurturing to develop the child in various aspects. Zulekha Khan of Dibber Al Barsha South said, “It is essential to thoroughly assess the nursery’s curriculum and teaching approach to ensure it aligns with your child’s unique needs and your family’s values. The ideal nursery should foster cognitive, emotional, and physical development.” Additionally, as children enroled at nurseries are young, a curriculum that focuses on development through interactive activities and play, can help in expanding their creativity, learning how to share with other children, increasing their physical capabilities, and retaining their attention. Dr Vandana Gandhi of British Orchard Group added, “Opt for a qualified preschool that offers a balanced curriculum combining playbased learning and structured activities. A well-designed curriculum encourages social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development, fostering creativity, problemsolving, and teamwork skills in children.” Enquire about the staff: As children at the nursery will be cared for by the staff, enquiring about their roles is essential in noting if the child will be able to thrive in the set environment. While visiting a nursery, try to meet with the teachers and see whether their qualifications and roles, match with the requirements of the child.