Our team love a visit to sunny Sharjah, so when we were invited to go along and review the second branch of the British Rose group, we jumped at the opportunity.
Located in the Al Ramla area of Sharjah, off a service road on Sheikh Hamaid Bin Saqr Al Qassimi Street (E88), British Rose is housed in a striking modern villa. Parking is something of challenge in the vicinity, but the team were on hand to help and have strategies in place to help parents mitigate this during the busy morning drop off.
We are greeted by nursery owner Edie Rayson-Barsha and manager Yvonne Hall. Edie and Yvonne have a warm and very natural rapport and as our time with them progresses it is obvious that they have an ‘in sync’ attitude to Early Years education and good practice in nurseries. Edie has been running a nursery in Sharjah for nearly 20 years – to learn more about her story read our review of the other British Rose branch in Al Nekhilat. Yvonne joined the British Rose group three years ago.
Yvonne is from Scotland and has had a varied career as an Early Years educator. She has been a childminder, worked in nurseries and was an Early Years Advisor in both the charity and social care sectors in the UK. Yvonne was involved with the development of ‘Birth to 3 Matters’ - a pivotal Early Years framework in Scotland, created to facilitate and promote best practice in Scottish Early Years provision.
Yvonne clearly has an impressive depth of knowledge about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, which is delivered here and in many nurseries across the UAE. She believes that children learn best when their day is centred around the three core areas of the EYFS – personal, social and emotional development, communication and language and physical development and, most of all, when children are able to direct their own learning. No pre printed worksheets here!
Yvonne is especially keen for the nursery to play a significant part in the local community and to be a support network for parents. As she said ‘we are committed to friendliness and our doors always being open’. A regular nursery newsletter is circulated on a private facebook group (for parents only).
Learning activities at British Rose are child initiated and parent supported wherever possible. In the two year olds room, an interest in food, fruit and vegetables had led to a ‘café morning’, then a real fruit stall – all supported and by volunteer parents (aka customers)!
These ever evolving and child led schemes of learning are very much in line with Yvonne’s interest in a style of Early Years education named ‘The Curiosity Approach’. This approach sees teachers using a variety of influences – from Reggio to Steiner to Te Whariki (the much lauded Early Years curriculum from New Zealand). Practitioners using this approach focus on natural or recycled materials for classroom equipment and a free flowing, child led way of learning that is underpinned by the knowledge of highly skilled and qualified staff.
This discussion leads us to meet Alex, a Serbian teacher who has been with British Rose Nursery for more than four years. Alex has been encouraged to progress her career here and is now qualified with a Cache Level 3 diploma*. Alex tells us that the team are closely knit – relying on each other for support in the classroom and regularly socialising together outside of work. She loves what she does and feels that the whole team does too.
[*Cache qualifications are qualifications awarded by the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education - the UK's leading provider of vocational qualifications for those working in the care and education sectors. Cache qualifications are divided into five different levels, ranging from Level 1 (entry level) to Level 5 (for experienced professionals).]
Parking issues aside (although this is a repeated concern), parents here have very positive feedback about their experiences at British Rose. One parent commented that a real strength of the nursery was that you could feel part of a ‘caring community’ and that her son’s social skills had improved since joining. Cleanliness and hygiene were repeatedly praised and every parent who sent us feedback felt that communication was excellent and that the ‘open door policy’ was a real priority for teachers. Many parents had chosen this nursery to help their children acquire English skills before joining school and as one parent said ‘…it is incredible how he has developed up until today, for a child who never spoke English before’. High praise indeed!
During our tour of the nursery we saw bright, good sized rooms equipped with a range of toys, resources and equipment. Most rooms had at least one or two noticeable influences from The Curiosity Approach – be it art work dangling from a tree branch or huge recycled cable reels used as painting tables or chalk boards. We felt that these additions to the rooms gave the nursery personality and charm!
The children we met were engaged in a huge variety of activities and all seemed happy and relaxed in their environment. There is an outdoor play area and for the hot months, a large indoor gym, role play room and library.
Children wear simple uniforms - red polo shirts and brown shorts. Generally, parents were happy with the quality and fit. We thought the uniforms looked practical and smart.
From September 2018, the nursery will be offering a new range of extra-curricular activities including yoga and football.
We were impressed with this friendly and well run nursery. Transport is available and the fees are great value for money. Children can attend daily, 7am – 5pm (although a range of other timings are available).
If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.
Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information