At the tender age of four-years-old, many children are not quite ready to make the giant leap up to “big school”.
Until recently, only a handful of early childhood centres in Dubai were licensed to cater for this age group, but with the change in nursery regulator to the KHDA, and updated guidelines provided, more and more nurseries are permitted to open FS2 classes for those who prefer an early childhood setting to a primary school.
Here we select our top picks of Dubai nurseries offering FS2 to help kick start your short list.
Little Land Nursery and Montessori Centre
This award-winning Montessori treasure of a nursery in Umm Suqeim is now offering FS2 for the first time. For parents choosing not to send their children into an intimidating “big school” set up just yet, Little Land is perhaps as far from this as you could hope for. For Montessori fans, this intimate setting, full of warmth and character, is an FS2 option worth exploring. This is a nursery with a lot of heart, but also has the pedagogical excellence and facilities to make it a truly outstanding nursery.
Children’s Oasis Nursery
Another long-time family favourite in the Umm-Suqeim area, Children’s Oasis will offer FS2 for the first time from September 2022. Some families just cannot tear their children from this ‘secret garden’ setting, which prides itself on a nature-based and child-led approach to early childhood education. For parents hoping to treasure their little one’s childhood for as long as they can, this tree-climbing, confidence-nurturing nursery may be what the’re seeking for FS2.
Raffles Starters is an early childhood setting dedicated to children aged between three to six-years-old (FS1 – Year 1), located in the Springs. With focused expertise on supporting the education and development of children in this age bracket, while still retaining the gentleness and warmth of a small nursery setting, Raffles Starters is a good option for parents seeking something ‘in between’ school and nursery. The group’s community nurseries in Springs, Lakes, Meadows, Arabian Ranches and Dubai Marina also have FS2 classes available.
Redwood Nursery Garhoud
As the only Montessori nursery in Dubai accredited by the UK Montessori Schools Association’s MEAB, Redwood Nursery Garhoud will be a top pick for parents who are fans of this approach. The nursery runs an ‘Advanced Montessori Class’ for children aged four to six-years-old and boasts charming facilities and an enthusiastic team of Montessori educators. The newly opened Redwood Montessori Nursery Jumeirah Park, as well as Redwood Center of Excellence in Al Barsha, also offer FS2 classes.
IDEA Early Learning Center
This purpose-built community early learning center has a nice “in between” nursery and school feel to it. More school-like than a villa style nursery, but much cosier than a school, IDEA ELC provides a nice balance for four-and-five-year-olds. This setting follows the US Creative Curriculum, providing an alternative to the more commonly utilised EYFS. It boasts a variety of play areas available to the children, with an indoor soft play area, outdoor climbing frames and slides, an outdoor bike and tricycle space and a planting area.
Willow Children’s Nursery
Now in its 12th year, this much-loved nursery, hidden away in an Umm Suqeim residential street, is now offering FS2 classes. Known for its Reggio Emilia approach, which is underpinned by the UK EYFS framework, this setting is all about children exploring through enquiry and learning through play, in a rustic natural setting. For those seeking a homely child-focused option, with a warm community atmosphere, Willow is well worth checking out.
Ladybird Early Learning Centre JVC
This modern purpose-built Montessori early learning centre, located in the Jumeirah Village Circle residential area, has been offering FS2 since it opened in 2016. The impressive eco-friendly building is LEED Gold Certified, and these green credentials are evident in the children’s activities also. Ladybird ELC shares the same ethos and values as its original sister nursery in Jumeirah, which has been one of Dubai’s most popular Montessori settings for more than 25 years, and has recently opened another nursery in Al Barsha 2.
Creative Nest Nursery
This beautiful early years setting in Al Mizhar has been offering FS2 classes since September 2021. The facilities at Creative Nest are really quite exceptional, with beautifully designed, spacious classrooms and engaging indoor play spaces as well as n expansive outdoor offering including a splash pad and mud kitchen. In addition to strong facilities, Creative Nest also goes to great lengths to ensure that the nursery’s Arabic speaking community is well catered for, providing a language-rich environment of both English and Arabic. This setting’s FS2 option may be the nursery to school transition that many parents are looking for.
Future International Nursery
This Al Warqaa nursery, which has been offering FS2 since September 2021, is a wonderful mix of good old fashioned nature-based play and impressive primary school-like facilities. The nursery takes a child-led approach, using each child’s individual interests to influence the activities on offer, which is very much an appropriate approach for this age group that positively contributes to the confidence and wellbeing of the children. There is a strong focus on bilingualism (English and Arabic are the focus here) with educators working in partnership to deliver learning experiences with both languages used.