Dubai offers a wide variety of pre-school and early childhood education opportunities for children aged 0 to 4 years. Currently more than 120 early childhood education centres are registered in Dubai. Whilst many of these are stand-alone centres, many schools also offer early childhood education.
We encourage you to gather as much information as possible about a centre before you apply to admit your child. Research suggests it is important to look at three major areas and below are some of the questions experts suggest you think about.
Curriculum and learning approach
What kind of curriculum or learning approach does the centre follow? Whatever the approach, there should be clear learning and development outcomes for your child and mechanisms for the teacher to report on your child’s progress on a regular basis. Depending on your first language, you will want to ask about the languages used in the centre - for example, will your child be given the opportunity to interact with adults speaking good Arabic and good English? Check that the daily programme will provide your child with different experiences within a clear routine and that the centre is committed to the importance of play for your child to learn. Some centres also enhance their curriculum with in-house programmes or visits by outside organisations.
Quality of provision
It is important to enquire about and, if possible, observe the teaching and learning. In general, are the teachers friendly, caring and qualified to provide care and nurturing for your child and do they make you feel welcome in the centre and answer your questions openly and fully? Ask about the nationality and qualifications of the staff and about the staff-to-child ratio – how many children will be under the care of each adult?
The Ministry of Social Affairs sets out a number of safety regulations which early childhood education centres must follow. In addition, it is a good idea to ask about the presence of a centre nurse, the number of staff who are qualified in first aid and the safety and security measures taken by the centre. Ask about the measures taken to ensure a clean environment and to prevent cross-contamination. You will also want to check that there are secure procedures to stop unauthorised people entering the building and for the drop-off and pick-up of children by authorised adults only.