Nurseries in Dubai: A guide
Signing up your beloved little one for a nursery is a huge step and a big decision, so good magazine asked their readers to recommend their favourite Dubai places for fun and education. From waiting lists to philosophies, plus how to choose, read on to learn more about nurseries in Dubai.
Emerald City Nursery
Locations: Jumeirah 2, Opposite Box Park.
Curriculum: Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
Suitable for ages: Babies from 6 weeks to 3+ years.
Hours: 7am until 6pm.
Cost of full-time: Dhs9,500 per term.
Additional fees: Dhs500 registration fee (one time only), and Dhs500 annual medical fee.
Are holiday camps offered? Winter, spring and summer programmes are available.
Are meals included? Breakfast and lunch is provided and included in term fees. The nursery office and the child’s teacher must be informed of child’s allergies to food or medication.
How and when can parents apply? Registrations are ongoing.
Any stand-out facilities? Kung fu, ballet, drumming, music lessons, music and movement sessions, swimming, Arabic lessons, and organic vegetable gardens.
Statement from the head: “All children are born with beautiful minds and it is the responsibility of the adults in the children’s lives to nurture their full potential. We are here to serve our children with the upmost respect, integrity and love. Our vision is to lead with professional nursery education and continue providing quality and love filled early years care through our commended best practice.”
21st Street, Jumeirah 2, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3490848. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Locations: Business Bay and Al Manara.
Languages: English with French and Arabic Options.
Suitable for ages: Maple Bear Business Bay is for ages 18 months to 6 years (includes KG1 and KG2), and Maple Bear Al Manara is for 12 months to 4 years.
Hours: 8am to 5pm with before and after care available upon request.
Cost of full-time: Annual fees start at Dhs40,000 with flexible payment options and discounts for siblings.
Additional fees: Application fees are Dhs1,000 with an annual medical fee of Dhs500. Uniforms can be purchased from the receptionist.
Are holiday camps offered? Winter, spring and summer camps are available.
Are meals included? Meals can be ordered (at an additional cost) or provided from home by the parents. The nurseries are free from nuts and pork. Parents must let the reception know what allergies the child has during enrolment. If a certain child is allergic to a certain food extra care is taken in the classroom with that particular food.
How and when can parents apply? Parents can apply online, or by visiting the nurseries to register.
Any stand-out facilities? The Canadian curriculum. It ranks one of the best in the world.
Statement from the head: “Canadian education is ranked one of the top education systems in the world. With 200 centres across the world, Maple Bear offers a curriculum that was created by a group of experts and professionals. It is an immersion curriculum with one hour of French or Arabic each day for our morning programme alongside other entertaining educational activities throughout the day.”
Business Bay and Al Manara, Dubai. Tel: (050) 4215485. email@example.com.
Locations: The Palm Jumeirah.
Languages: English (with French and Arabic lessons twice weekly).
Curriculum: Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (EYFS).
Suitable for ages: From 7 weeks to 4 years.
Hours: 8am to 1pm, 8am to 3pm, 8am to 6pm. Afternoon session: 1.30pm to 6pm.
Cost of full-time: 8am to 1pm Dhs14,700 per term, 8am to 3pm Dhs18,100 per tem, 8am to 6pm Dhs20,100 per term, 1.30pm to 6pm, Dhs8,300 per term.
Additional fees: Registration, refundable deposit and medical fee Dhs3,050 combined.
Are holiday camps offered? Yes.
Are meals included? Right Bite catering service provided. The nursery is nut-free, and Right Bite cater to all dietary requirements requested by a child’s family.
How and when can parents apply? Apply via the online registration form, or visit the nursery and pick up a registration pack. The waiting list can vary as some classes are full already.
Any stand-out facilities? Patio, playground, reading area, imaginative play area, dress up area, two bathroom/changing areas (one for children below the age of 18 months, the other for children from 18 to 30 months).
Statement from the head: “Our vision at Asya’s Nursery is “helping little people become great people”. Our motto is “where every day is another perfect day.”
Palm Jumeirah, Shoreline Building, The Palm. Tel: (04) 4356627. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings Early Learning Centre
Locations: Knowledge Village and Al Manzil, Downtown.
Curriculum: British Early Years Foundation Stage.
Suitable for ages: 4 months to 5 years (classes up to FS1).
Hours: 7am to 6pm.
Cost of full-time: Dhs13,500 per term.
Additional fees: Registration fee Dhs700, medical fee Dhs800 and 10% deposit required to register for the following year refundable against the first term fees.
Are holiday camps offered? Winter camp, spring camp and summer camp available.
Are meals included? Meals are not included, and parents must bring their own meals and snacks for the day. Nuts and nut butters are not allowed and there is a healthy eating policy.
How and when can parents apply? Registration is always open subject to availability and children can be added to the waiting list at any time.
Any stand-out facilities? The Downtown branch has a swimming pool and gym.
Statement from the head: “We believe that every child is unique and we treat little ones as individuals. We offer a boutique service where all staff know the children inside out – we offer a home away from home where they can feel loved as they learn.”
Tel: (04) 4489267. email@example.com.
Willow Children’s Nursery
Locations: Um Suqueim 2 and Dubai Marina.
Languages: English, French and Arabic.
Curriculum: UK Birth To Three Matters & EYFS delivered through the approach of Reggio Emilia.
Suitable for ages: 45 days old to 4 years.
Hours: Early Bird from 7am, morning session 8am to 12.30pm, full-time sessions up to 6pm.
Cost of full-time: Five days a week from 8am to 12.30pm is Dhs11,250 per term.
Additional fees: Registration fee Dhs1,500, medical fee Dhs600, uniform Dhs120.
Are holiday camps offered? Summer, spring and winter camps are available.
Are meals included? Meals are not provided but Willow does offer parents the option to use Nombox, a nutritionally balanced children’s meal provider. The nursery is a nut-free zone. A UK Registered Nurse ensures that any child with allergies is known to staff and allergy alerts are posted in the classrooms.
How and when can parents apply? Parents can apply at any time. If spaces are available a child can start at Willow at any time during the year. If Willow has no place free they can place the child’s name on the wait list. There is no fee until they are able to offer a space.
Any stand-out facilities? Eco friendly, natural play areas, The Atelier, (a creative studio, unique to Reggio) with specialist Atelierista.
Statement from the head: “Willow Children’s Nursery was created from a passion to provide quality care and early years education in Dubai. The nursery uses the creative approach of Reggio Emilia to allow every child to realise and expand their potential. Our practitioners see each child as full of potential, competent and very capable of building and developing their own theories.”
Tel: (04) 3214433. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golden Gate Nursery
Location: Umm Al Sheif.
Languages: English and Arabic.
Curriculum: EYFS – British Curriculum.
Suitable for ages: 3 months to 3 years.
Hours: Core hours 8am to 1pm. Extended hours from 7.30am to 6pm.
Cost of full-time: Five days from 8am until 1pm is Dhs12,900 per term however, there is currently am opening promotion where parents get the first term free.
Additional fees: Annual registration is Dhs500 and medical Dhs500 this is non-refundable. Termly fees of Dhs250 for communication and Dhs150 for arts and crafts. Uniform is Dhs90 per set.
Are holiday camps offered? Yes.
Are meals included? Meals are an added extra; they can provide breakfast, snacks and a hot lunch. Allergies and intolerances are catered for. It is a nut-free nursery.
How and when can parents apply? They suggest that parents visit the nursery and submit an application. As it is a brand new nursery there is availability in most age groups.
Any stand-out facilities? Well-stocked library, indoor gym, state of the art sensory room, large outdoor covered play areas, and light and well-equipped classrooms. Golden Gate says, “What really sets us apart though, we believe, is our highly trained, native English speaking, very engaged staff who are experts in the EYFS curriculum and truly care and work to build bonds with each of our children.”
Statement from the head: “Our vision is to create a better society for tomorrow by helping today’s children grow up as well-rounded, mature individuals who will go on to become tomorrow’s leaders. With our professional and experienced staff who all have the children’s individual needs at heart Golden Gate Nursery truly offers something very special. We want our ‘Little Minds to have Big Dreams’.”
Villa 27, 6B Street, Umm Al Sheif, Dubai. Tel: (055) 3799487. email@example.com.
Safari Kid Nursery
Location: Behind Four Points Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road.
Languages: English, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese.
Curriculum: Safari Kid Early Years Program (EYP), and emergent and accelerated learning curriculum that combines EYFS, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf methods.
Suitable for ages: From 4 months to 5 years.
Hours: Full day 8am to 5pm, with half day, and extended day available, plus early and late drop of options.
Cost of full-time: Dhs12,000 per term.
Additional fees: Non-refundable application fee Dhs1,000, annual medical fee Dhs500, refundable deposit Dhs1,000, uniform pack Dhs500.
Are holiday camps offered? Winter, spring, and summer holiday programmes available.
Are meals included? Meals are provided by Nombox and Right Bite. NomBox caters to mainstream dietary requirements and Right Bite can cater to diverse dietary needs and children with allergies.
How and when can parents apply? Open for registrations all year, with a waiting list for age groups that are full. The non-refundable waiting list fee is Dhs500, which will be credited towards registration fee after a spot is available.
Any stand-out facilities? Safari Kid Nursery offers an accelerated learning programme and an emergent curriculum that takes from the best practices in Early Childhood Education.
The facility has well designed and equipped large outdoor and indoor play areas, swimming pool, interactive whiteboards in higher level classes, tech-corner with LEGO robotics, a creative lab, and specially designed art studio for their Young Artists Creative Program (YACP).
Statement from the head: “Our nursery has a caring, nurturing, and welcoming atmosphere, a true extension of the home environment. At the same time it is also a structured learning setting where we customise the curriculum to fit the individual needs of each child. At Safari Kid we aim for the all-around development of every child, therefore our programme is designed to accomplish specific developmental goals in key developmental areas.”
Street 61, Behind Four Points Sheraton, Before 1st Interchange, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (050) 4548879 or (04) 3597398. firstname.lastname@example.org
Blossom Children’s Nursery and Blossom Early Learning Center
Locations: Five Locations in Dubai: Blossom Village (Um Suqeim), Blossom Burj, (Um al Sheif), Blossom Early Learning Center (Dubai International Academic City), Blossom Downtown (Yansoon 7 Al Manzil District) and Blossom Mudon opening November 2015 (Al Salam Town Centre, near Arabian Ranches).
Languages: English (with French/Arabic classes).
Curriculum: British EYFS, influences of Reggio Emilia, Steiner and Montessori.
Suitable for ages: 0 to 4.5 years (Nursery) and 0-6 (Early Learning Centre).
Hours: 7.30am to 6pm.
Cost of full-time: Five days 8am to 1pm academic programme Dhs16,200 per term (including meals, language and music classes and swimming/waterplay).
Additional fees: Dhs500 registration fee, Dhs1,000 medical fee and Dhs1,000 refundable deposit.
Are holiday camps offered? Yes, spring and summer camp offered as well as Academic half term breaks.
Are meals included? Healthy snacks, lunch and dinner express included. Blossom caters to children with allergies
How and when can parents apply? Apply via theblossomnursery.com/admission or call 055 NURSERY.
Any stand-out facilities? Swimming pool and waterplay, large outdoor space, gym, ICT facilities, music/dance room.
Statement from the head: “The Blossom mantra is believe, achieve, become and we use this as the framework for learning. By believing in ourselves we work to achieve our goals and become all that we can be. Our award winning “space that impacts learning” and linked teacher training academy (beeacademy.org) ensure children are given a secure and stimulating environment second only to mum!”
Various locations. Tel: (055) NURSERY.
Locations: Unit 5, Cluster P (Armada Towers), Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai.
Curriculum: EFYS and Development Matters.
Suitable for ages: From 6 months to 4 years old.
Hours: From 8am to 6pm, Sunday to Thursday.
Cost of full-time: Dhs38,000 per year.
Additional fees: Dhs1,000 deposit, Dhs500 registration fee and Dhs500 medical fee.
Are holiday camps offered? Holiday camps are run during all term breaks and over the summer.
Are meals included? Meals are not included and they also ask that no nuts or food containing nuts be brought to the nursery.
How and when can parents apply? Parents can apply by calling the nursery and completing the application form online at paddingtonnursery.com. Parents are encouraged to visit the nursery for a tour and discussion on placement.
Is the waiting list always open? As the nursery has just opened there were still places available for this year at the time of publishing, but they are filling up fast.
Any stand-out facilities? All furniture is handmade from wood and imported from the UK. There is an indoor play area, which consists of a bamboo teepee, a wooden cottage, mud kitchen and natural wood climbing equipment. Teachers are qualified and ratios are based on UK standards.
Statement from the head: “We are an open-door nursery that provides a community feel for all our families. All staff at Paddington are welcoming, and have many years of experience in nursery settings both here and in the UK.”
Paddington Nursery, JLT, Cluster P, Armada Towers, Dubai. Tel: (056) 1422339. email@example.com.
Home Grown Children’s Eco Nursery
Locations: Umm Suqeim and Al Safa 2.
Languages: English speaking. French and Arabic taught.
Curriculum: EYFS with its own Green Engagement Programme.
Suitable for ages: 12 months to 4 years.
Hours: 7.30am to 5pm.
Cost of full-time: 8am to 12.30pm, Dhs12,140, 8am to 2pm, Dhs13,500, 8am to 3.30pm, Dhs15,650 and 8am to 5pm, Dhs17,000 per term.
Additional fees: Dhs500 registration fee (payable once), Dhs500 medical fee (annual), and uniforms optional.
Are holiday camps offered? Spring and summer camps offered.
Are meals included? Meals are not included. Individual allergy plans for each child are created by the onsite nurse.
How and when can parents apply? Enrollment forms available at homegrownnursery.ae. The waiting list is always open, however classes are filled in September each year.
Any stand-out facilities? Both Home Grown locations have large outdoor garden areas and each classroom has a maximum of 16 children each day.
They support Harmony House, a day-shelter in India, an initiative wholly-owned by the one of the nursery’s founders. Each child in Home Grown is paired with a child in the shelter and a portion of the fees provide the ‘sponsor friend’ with free education, food, medication, hygiene facilities and social services.
Statement from the head: “Using eco-friendly and sustainable resources, we adopt a progressive approach to reducing our environmental impact; green initiatives permeate all that we do, from the infrastructure of the initial foundations to the activities that our children engage in. Not only do we work to create greener, brighter futures, but we embed this knowledge from an impressionable age, so that the wider community and the future generations are beneficiaries of the philosophy of our unique establishment.”
Umm Suqueim 2 and Safa 2, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3307008. firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to choose a nursery
Chantal Ariens, Blossom Nursery’s Director of Growth, shares her advice for parents look for a trusted place for their children
Starting nursery is a big deal for you and your little ones. There are new friends to make, new ideas to share and new things to learn! When you find the right nursery, you will be amazed to see your child grow more social, independent and responsible.
However the task of finding a nursery can be overwhelming at times since there are so many things to consider when leaving your little one. The best advice is to ask a lot of questions! After all, this is a place you are trusting to keep your child safe and secure while they are not in your care. Here are some questions to start with.
The safety and security of your child is the number one priority as your child will be spending much of their day there.
– How many staff members are paediatric first aid and CPR trained? How often are these certificates renewed?
– Do children and staff practice emergency evacuation? How often?
– What are safeguarding policies for children: allergies, health policies, cleanliness, cleaning materials used, risk assessments, etc?
– What is the ratio of staff to children in the classroom?
– Is there an open door policy for parents?
– Are CCTV cameras installed in each classroom?
– Is there a food programme? What are the policies on allergies?
– Throughout the tour, look out for hazards, such as gates left open, children unattended, scissors left out etc.
Be sure you are confident in the curriculum used in nursery. A strong programme will provide a solid foundation for your child when they go to big school. Keep in mind that you as parents should be communicated to on a regular basis so you can extend the learning themes done at nursery to your child at home.
– Which curriculum is used? What is the daily schedule for your child’s class?
– What evidence of learning is shared with parents? How often?
– Are teachers confident in applying curriculum to learning?
– Are staff members trained? Are they required to complete additional annual training hours?
– Are extra activities included to extend the learning beyond the classroom? Ie. music, languages, ICT, fitness, outdoor play, indoor play, art, cooking, etc.
– Is there an accredited programme for FS1 and FS2?
Observe the environment and the children
– Are children happy and engaged?
– Does the nursery have an open door policy?
– How are staff interacting with children? Are they smiling, child focused and approachable?
– Are there various areas for children to explore and learn through play? Libraries, water play areas, art zones, tech stations, green outdoor space, etc?
The Dubai Nursery Show
Want to see all of Dubai’s nurseries in one place? On October 30 and 31 the bi-annual Dubai Nursery Show will be held at Dubai International Marine Club (next to Barasti), allowing you to meet the staff and get a feel – and hopefully shorten your list of places to tour.