Could This Be Abu Dhabi's Happiest Nursery? enjoyed a morning at Jigsaw Nursery Abu Dhabi to experience this unassuming little setting first hand. Could this unassuming, cosy converted villa be Abu Dhabi's most nurturing early childhood setting?
Could This Be Abu Dhabi's Happiest Nursery?
By Susan Roberts
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LET'S GO enjoyed a morning at Jigsaw Nursery Abu Dhabi to experience this unassuming little setting first hand. Could this cosy, converted villa be Abu Dhabi's most nurturing early childhood setting? Read the full experience feature here or for a taste of our findings, continue reading...

What the nursery tells you from the outside?

In all honestly, not a whole lot. This humble little nursery doesn't do a huge amount of marketing, nor does it shout about its achievements. However, Jigsaw Nursery has been open since January 2007 and has been owned and operated by Al Najah Education since 2015. Al Najah Education are an international education group, currently operating schools and nurseries in the UAE, Singapore, Oman and Malaysia. Nursery Manager, Ms Leanne Bell, has led the nursery since 2017.

The nursery received the highest possible rating of 'Outstanding' from ADEK in 2022, confirming its high standard of early childhood practice and care.

Arriving at the Nursery...

Our reviewer visited on a regular Thursday morning, arriving at around 8:30am. Parking outside the nursery was easy at this time, although Nursery Manager, Ms Leanne Bell, explained that most children arrive before 8:00am, and parking can indeed get a little tight. It’s no problem though, Ms Bell gently explained, as the staff will happily come outside to meet families at their cars, and take the child in. This is a nursery that works around the child and family. 

Observing Leadership in Action

What we found particularly impressive, was the warm and personal relationships that Ms Bell appears to have with each parent. She is clearly an authority on early childhood, however it is perhaps her approachability and willingness to listen to how parents are feeling and what they think that has the greatest impact on the trust this community has in the nursery. 

'Real', and not flashy

The building itself is a little worn, with creaky doors and a few scuff marks on walls, but the facilities and the space are more than sufficient to provide a supportive and homely environment. Classrooms are decorated and arranged with children in mind, showcasing the children’s work and providing corners for group and individual activities. This is definitely not an ‘image-conscious’ nursery with Instagram-able décor. It is very much a space for children to feel uninhibited and at home. We liked the setting’s approach in this regard. 

A shared play space at Jigsaw Nursery

Inside the Classrooms...

While the activities the children were taking part in were not unusual (a group story time, music and movement session, sensory play opportunities), the warmth and genuine connection between the adults and children was truly outstanding. It is clear that in both of classes we attended, the nursery teachers and assistants had meaningful relationships with each child. Every one of the children our reviewer came across appeared comfortable and confident, and engaged in the activities they chose to participate in.

Our View in a Nutshell...

Jigsaw Nursery is not the biggest or the flashiest nursery, and it does not have the most stylish décor. It does, however, have a whole lot of heart and that feeds a truly nurturing environment for children to learn and grow. In terms of child wellbeing, this nursery is one of the best we’ve seen in a long time.

Partnerships with parents are excellent, with staff and families working together in the best interests of the child and communicating daily. There is a feeling of children being dropped off to be cared for by a trusted family member, not a service provider, although the nursery can still boast having a great standard of early learning materials and play facilities. We can see why families love this little diamond of a nursery, It offers something truly special indeed.

Interested to find out more? Read the full Jigsaw Nursery experience feature here.

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