Choose the best education for your child


Karen McCord, Executive Principal, Australian International School Dubai
Karen McCord, Executive Principal, Australian International School Dubai

Published: Mon 9 May 2022, 3:54 PM

Karen McCord, Executive Principal, Australian International School Dubai, talks about what to look out for when selecting a school for your child

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The first five years of a child’s life are critical and we are lucky in Dubai to have a variety of services available for the care and education of our youngest children. This choice however can be overwhelming. As a parent it can be difficult to know what is important and what is unnecessary or undesirable when selecting an Early Learning Centre for your child. We have compiled a quick list of things you should look for and ask as a parent when selecting the best Early Learning Centre for your child.

1. A university qualified teacher with a bachelor of education, specialising in early childhood education, holds a wealth of specialist knowledge which will support the growth and development of your child. At Australian International School Dubai, we pride ourselves on recruiting university trained teachers to teach even the youngest of children. While cache qualifications are considered the standard across many Early Learning Centres, we seek excellence for our children and this is possible through the recruitment of highly qualified teachers.

2. At Australian International School Dubai, not only will you be welcomed by our friendly receptionists, Karen our executive principal will spend time explaining in detail our curriculum. As she walks you through the corridors and classrooms, you will notice that we welcome visitors to our community of learners.

3. A tour offered during school hours, so you can see the children and teachers ‘in action’. Ask yourself if they are happy, engaged and moving around freely? Alternatively, do they look bored or required to sit passively following a teacher’s instructions for long periods of time. Quality early childhood programmes offer children the space and freedom to move and choose where they wish to play throughout the day.

4. An environment that is tidy, uncluttered and home like. Children need environments that look more like a home and less like an institution. Avoid busy, cluttered classrooms over decorated in bright colours.

5. Materials and resources available should be open-ended and provide opportunities for exploration and discovery. At Australian International School Dubai, children in the early years are engaged in meaningful play throughout the day. They have the choice to move across play stations and are supported by the teaching team to engage in sustained play, which fosters social and cognitive development, as well as language development.

6. Consider the curriculum carefully. On tours you may hear the terms 'Reggio', 'Montessori' or 'Play-based' used often. Read up on what these truly mean, before your tour so you can actively observe if this is visible in the Early Learning Centre.

7. Research has repeatedly shown that one of the best indicators of a quality Early Learning centre is small group sizes. Are there more than 20 children in each room? If so, consider whether your child is able to get the individualised attention they require.

8. Be sure to ask how teachers plan for learning. Consider both opportunities for your child to learn as part of a whole group and as an individual with their unique likes and dislikes. Does your child have a voice in the planning and what their learning looks like or is it decided solely by the teacher?

We hope this list helps guide your decision making as you plan for the next academic year. At Australian International School, Dubai we foster the holistic development of children, creating happy and active learners.

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