Which Pre-school is Right for My Child?

Not sure which school to send your little one to for pre-school or kindergarten? As well as location, cost and facilities, one of the key considerations has to be curriculum. Whether you’re interested in play-based learning or a more academic focus, Saudi Arabia’s wide choice of pre-schools offers a variety of different learning approaches. Here are some of the most popular pre-school programmes – and how they differ.
Which Pre-school is Right for My Child?
By Carli Allan
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It may seem like only yesterday you were swaddling your little one – and now they’re taking their first steps towards big school (gulp!). While there’s no hard-and-fast rule about what age a child should start pre-school, pre-prep, nursery, or kindergarten, there is a wide choice of international and private schools in Saudi Arabia offering places to children as young as three years.

There’s a large and growing early years sector in Saudi Arabia including both government-run (public) and private pre-schools/kindergartens, and it is diverse in both pedagogy and curriculum. So, how do you make the right choice? As well as deciding between a standalone nursery or a pre-school attached to a school, you need to consider which pre-school curriculum is right for your child – the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Montessori, the IB’s Primary Years Programme, or the International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC).

Which pre-school do I choose?

Many of Saudi Arabia’s most popular international schools offer nursery and kindergarten classes in a self-contained early-years’ centre with its own community of classrooms, learning pods and recreational areas.

Children can benefit from being part of a larger school environment with all the opportunities that an all-through school can offer. These can range from access to sports and arts facilities to after-school activities and bilingual programmes. They often have lessons from specialist subject teams, such as Arabic, swimming, music, dance and PE, and have access to outstanding facilities that smaller nurseries simply cannot offer.

Parents also have the choice of a standalone pre-school, where it can be easier for children to have that feeling of belonging – this can be harder to deliver in a school that has hundreds of students as old as 18 years. Pre-schools within international schools cannot always match the small class sizes, low teacher:student ratios, and intimacy of a standalone nursery – and they will often only offer pre-school childcare during term-time. Also, parents may simply prefer the charm and warmth of a small nursery that has a genuine village feel.

Which pre-school curriculum is right for my child?

One of the many joys of living in Saudi Arabia is having such a wide choice of curricula. But the more options you have, the more difficult it can be to settle on one. WhichSchoolAdvisor.com guides you through the different pre-school curricula offered in Saudi Arabia to help you take that big step for your little one.

Read on to learn more about the following curricula offered to students aged three to five years:

Next: Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

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