Ambassador Kindergarten in Dubai is one of the few independent nursery/kindergartens that is large enough and offers a full KG section to warrant registration with the KHDA. The Kindergarten also has a pre-KG/Nursery section for younger children.
The Story so Far
Located in one of the more traditional areas of Bur Dubai, Ambassador Nursery and Kindergarten provides schooling to KG1 and KG2 students (aged between 4 and 6 years). Its nursery section admits children from the age of 1 year and 8 months (based on the KHDA cut off date of 31st July). It is the feeder for the Ambassador School which is located in close proximity.
Home to 429 pupils, Ambassador Kindergarten employs 21 teachers and 14 teaching assistants. The majority of the students come from India. A very small percentage have SEN requirements. Teacher turnover has reduced significantly in recent years with 8% in 2016-17, 5% in 2017-18 and 6% in 2018 -19. Stability among teaching staff is often a key feature of high-performing schools.
Although the KHDA report states a staff:student ratio of 1:12, in reality this is 1:8, comprising of one Class Teacher and Assistant Teacher per classroom. In addition Specialist staff for Music, Dance and Yoga are provided and there is a dedicated Nanny for each classroom.
The Kindergarten and Nursery's Vision states that:
Ambassador Kindergarten is dedicated to creating responsible universal citizens who would be bright leaders of the 21st century by laying a superior foundation through quality education.
Its Mission is to:
Inspire our children to be passionate lifelong learners through a curriculum with pedagogical integrity, which allows them to always Inquire, Innovate, and contribute in meaningful ways to the society.
What about the curriculum?
The Ambassador School to which children at Ambassador KG have preferential entry follows the CICSE framework. The Kindergarten and Nursery incorporates the UK curriculum-based Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) programme. This is complemented with Kindergarten and Montessori methodologies that touch on a child’s physical, emotional, cognitive and social development. Children are provided with age appropriate toys, books, learning materials, digital learning and visual cues towards language learning, numeracy and understanding the world - lesson plans explore the world around them and also helps with their cognitive development.
Mastering both fine and gross motor skills are important parameters of learning for children’s growth and independence, while expressive arts and design instill creativity in children.
The Kindergarten's website notes:
"What is now undeniably clear in the 21st century is that play is essential, vital, critical, and fundamental to a child’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development. Without adequate, healthy play, children run the risk of entering school unprepared, growing into teens and adults without needed skills, and failing to meet their potential".
A thematic approach to teaching involves integrating all subject areas together under one theme. It crosses over subject lines and helps children relate basic academic skills to real-world ideas. These themed units incorporate reading, Maths and Science as well as the Arts for a well-balanced curriculum.
What about the facilities?
The Kindergarten is purpose-built and offers a wide range of facilities - a number of which will be hard to find elsewhere.
It is built over a 35000 sq feet area with 24 classrooms and includes a Dance Room, a Music Studio and a Yoga Room. In addition, there is a Rumpus Room (for indoor play with indoor equipment) and an Atelier Room for Art, a Splash Pool and other purpose-built educational facilities which are specially designed for young children. Each class room has a built-in washroom. Every class room is equipped with an interactive white board and a "light table".
Outdoors, shaded play areas are equipped with soft furniture and play equipment that is specially designed for kindergarten students. The shaded play area floor is covered with soft rubber flooring and a splash pool provides the opportunity for play activities for younger children which can improve motor skills; increasing their chances of being more physically active in later life. The school notes that research conducted in Norway suggests that water play is good for developing balance and movement in infants and young children. It also helps in the co-ordination of motor skills.
The Kindergarten also offers a specially designed yoga program for children from 3+ to 5 years. It includes poses to increase strength, flexibility, concentration and coordination. Activities incorporate yoga poses, games, breathing techniques and music for relaxation. Emotional benefits are said to include greater optimism and a less reactive nature. Other benefits include increased focus; concentration and academic performance has been noted to improve along with confidence in physical abilities. Yoga is used for treatment of children with special needs.
The Kindergarten has purpose built premises with child safe interiors, child friendly furniture and amenities, together with a well-equipped library which is used by all children as an integral part of their learning. It houses books and other resource material, and is designed to resemble a comfy, traditional library complete with child friendly chairs and tables.
What the Inspectors Say
Ambassador Kindergarten has now been inspected six times by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, and after 2 years of achieving a Good rating, was the only school to be uprated to Very Good in the 2017/18 inspection round. It is one of the few independently located Kindergarten/Early Learning Centre facilities to be inspected separately by the DSIB as a result of its individual registration with the KHDA, together with the Ambassador School which is located close by. The inspection in 2018-19 delivered the same Very Good rating.
The inspection team looked only at the Kindergarten provision (not at the Nursery). All key measures in relation to Students's Achievement - the attainment and progress for English, Maths and Science at Ambassador Kindergarten were found to be Very Good by the inspection team. The ratings for children's personal development and their understanding of Islamic values were deemed to have improved to Outstanding in the most recent inspection.
These were not the only improvements. Whilst Teaching and Assessment remained rated at Very Good, as did Curriculum Adaptation, the Curriculum itself was rated Outstanding, as was Health and Safety, including Safeguarding and Child Protection. Care and support was rated Very Good. The majority of measures for Leadership and Management were also rated Very Good, though the relationship between the school and its community was also rated Outstanding.
If you would like to read the full report from the DSIB inspection team - and we strongly advise that you do - please go here.
The strengths of Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery, as defined by the inspection team, are:
Areas of improvement recommended by the DSIB team were to:
Close to 230 parents responded to the KHDA pre-inspection survey. The school community itself is a happy one. 97% of parents who responded to the survey are happy with the quality of education provided by Ambassador KG and Nursery. Almost all parents agreed that their children enjoy and look forward to going to school and that they are safe whether within the school environment or on school buses.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent Survey has received a limited number of responses. Those parents who have provided their opinions also agreed that their children enjoyed going to the school. 75% of parents felt that the fees are value for money, and the remaining 25% partially agreed with this statement. Despite this high praise, 50% of parents had considered moving their child to a different school at some stage. Three out of four parents would definitely recommend Ambassador KG and Nursery to other parents, and the remaining 25% would also largely recommend it.
If you are a parent or teacher at Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery and would like to share your experience, please complete our survey here.
For parents seeking access for their children to the Ambassador School in Dubai, sending their children to the Nursery and Kindergarten makes good sense - particularly since they will have priority access to the school. Add to that the very high standards and inspection rating from the KHDA, and there is not much doubt that this is an obvious choice.
What about Fees?
The school's fees are high given its demographic target market, currently at AED 19,213 for pre-KG/Nursery per annum, AED 19,454 for KG1 and AED 21,293 for KG2. These are significantly below the KHDA approved fees, however.
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