School or a Nursery for Your Three-Year-Old: the Practical Considerations
At GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa, our new nursery opening in August will offer a home-away-from-home feel with British-qualified and experienced teachers. Staff will work in partnership with parents, together with our flexible nursery timings, to ensure all children are thriving at an individual pace. Our bespoke delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum will allow children to develop with confidence and grow with independence, ready for FS1.
Our nursery is located within the school’s Foundation Stage Department, rated Outstanding by British Schools Overseas. It’s a secure, safe and nurturing environment designed to allow children and parents to settle quickly. Being part of a larger school, we have the facilities to provide specialist music lessons and swimming lessons for our youngest learners in our Foundation Stage pool. Also, the transition into FS1 will be seamless thanks to children being already familiar with the space, the teachers and their friends as they move on through the year groups.
What are the main differences between a school Early Year’s provision and a standalone nursery Early Year’s provision?
As a parent you get a feel of a nursery as soon as you walk in. You should be looking for happy and engaged children who look and feel settled and secure. The teachers should be engaging with the children to make learning fun and exciting. Parents are encouraged to speak to the teachers, so they can feel the passion that the staff have for working in the Early Years.
Parents put a lot of trust in those looking after their children – possibly for the very first time – so it’s important they feel relaxed and secure, too. It’s a good idea to ask how the nursery communicates with parents; at FirstPoint, we use an online learning journey which makes the important link between nursery and home, sharing all the adventures the children experience via regular photo and video updates.
Timings also have to work for families, so ask if there’s flexibility around drop-off and pickup times. At FirstPoint Nursery, we offer a variety of flexible times to allow parents who have older children to have one drop-off and one pickup. There’s also a bus service should that be more convenient.
Ultimately, your child will often be the best judge of a setting, so if they are happy, you will be happy!
Change to How should parents assess which Early Years option is the right one for their child?
Schools are often able to offer more opportunities due to the onsite facilities. At FirstPoint, we have a qualified swimming teacher who will lead swimming lessons in the Foundation Stage pool. They will be joined in the water by the Teaching Assistants to make sure we always have the right teacher-child ratio. We also have a music teacher who will deliver weekly music lessons, in which the children will explore instruments and learn new songs. We have a range of animals in our Desert School, which children can visit so they learn to take care of the animals.
We are proud of our high-quality British-trained teachers, all of whom have experience of working in both the UK and UAE. Offering a smooth transition into FS1 is especially important, so all children feel settled and happy moving into their next phase of learning.