Parents, nursery workers and nursery leaders all rejoiced when it was finally announced that nurseries could begin reopening from today, Sunday 4th October. In reality, only a handful have been able to open today.
Those that have successfully reopened and welcomed children are, in the main, licensed by the KHDA (such as IDEA Early Learning Centre in Sports City). For those licensed by the Ministry of Education, there remains a further wait for a pre-opening inspection and the subsequent issuing of no objection certificates (NOCs) before children can restart their Early Years education.
We have only been able to find one MOE licensed nursery has the needed NOC to reopen this week - Creative Nest Nursery in Al Mizhar. It is, naturally, delighted to have its permissions in place.
The reopening process for nurseries been a long and arduous one. Issued with a strict set of reopening protocols by the Ministry of Education, nursery managers have been hard at work helping their staff to prepare classrooms, create safe ways of working and undergo stringent health and safety training. Once approved, the next step towards reopening is an in person inspection, followed by the issuance of the long awaited NOC.
At Kangaroo Kids Nursery in Al Safa, the Principal, Laura Barton-Toyne, remains upbeat and determined to look at the positives:
“Here at Kangaroo Kids we have been excitedly crossing our 'T's and dotting our 'I's in preparation for our much-anticipated reopening! These last few months have been tricky for all of us, but being back in the nursery and working towards our goal as a family has been an incredibly happy experience. We have had a wonderful time ensuring our setting is the happiest possible place for your children to be, and have been partaking in engaging health and safety training to ensure each and every staff member is ready for reopening. We are ready and waiting with our arms spread wide to welcome the little Kangaroos back with love, play and education!”
In nearby Umm Suqeim, Susan Foot, Nursery Director at Children's Oasis Nursery tells us that preparations for reopening have been a 'huge undertaking'.
"The nursery reopening preparation process has been a huge undertaking, studying best practice from other countries and understanding what processes will be of the highest safety standards while also providing a positive and engaging experience for our children. We are confident we have reached this balance and are ready to open our doors again at Children's Oasis Nursery".
Even once the doors are open, nurseries will still have an uphill battle. Many have lost huge numbers of their children to schools, as school preK/FS1 classes are now permitted to admit children as young as 2 years 8 months. One Nursery Manager, who preferred to remain anonymous, told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com:
"It's really been hard watching the schools reopen under the KHDA. For us, the disparity between different authorities is unfathomable. Many of our children have left us to go to school, before their parents would really have liked them too. My numbers are still workable, but as an experienced early years professional, losing 2-year-olds to school is just so very sad".
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