United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Dubai Sports City / IDEA Early Learning Centre

IDEA Early Learning Centre Q & A

IDEA Early Learning Center, located in Victory Heights inside Sports City, opened in September 2016. The school has come on in leaps and bounds since our first visit, and is new very well embedded into the community. It is currently also scoring a very high Parent Rating on the WSA School survey...
Parents' Rating
help
4.8 out of 5 based on 21 reviews
At a glance
School phase
Nursery
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
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Annual fee average
AED 35,000
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
2016
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Farheen Effandi
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
British
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LET'S GO

Welcome to the IDEA Early Learning Centre official Q and A page. Here we ask the questions, and the school answers directly. It is its chance to have its say on specific areas you have told us you want to know about. If you think there are additional questions we should be asking you may contact us here.

What qualities and characteristics would you say define your school?

At IDEA Early Learning Center, we provide a playful and high quality learning environment for children aged 1-6 years old. We instill a love of learning through the play based Creative Curriculum, which focusses on language and literacy development. Our skilled staff are dedicated to challenging your child so that they make sustained progress appropriate to their individual developmental needs.

What makes us different?
The Creative Curriculum is a program of study that supports active, hands on, collaborative, inquiry based learning which will promote your child’s progress in all developmental areas;
The Creative Curriculum has a strong literacy focus even with our youngest children;
We know that children learn best through play and risk-taking;
We want your child to love reading;
Our literacy-rich classrooms and various learning experiences provide early learning experiences to create a solid foundation on which your child will build their education;
We recruit staff that are professional, experienced and well qualified with expertise in a variety of areas;
We commit to providing your child with plentiful opportunities to explore their own interests, facilitated by our staff, so that they can develop at their own rate. Our staff will ensure that your child is challenged so that they progress quickly.

Our Vision and Values
At IDEA ELC we have an ambitious vision for the future because we want to give your child the best foundation for their future. We pride ourselves on our core values:

Respect- for children and families from a variety range of backgrounds, religions, heritages and cultures
Appreciation- of the individual needs of our children and the valuable support from successful partnerships with their parents
Responsibility- for our children’s progress and future
Innovation- continually developing so that our children can express their unique personalities and preferences

IDEA Early Learning Center offers the Creative Curriculum for ELC all the way through Kindergarten.

The Creative Curriculum for ELC is based on 75 years of childhood and learning studies and involves research-based developmentally appropriate practice which according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) “provides children with the opportunities to learn and practice newly acquired skills. It offers challenges just beyond the level of their present mastery and it takes place in the context of a community where children are safe and valued, where their physical needs are met, and where they feel psychologically secure.” (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997). Developed in the United States, at the heart of the Creative Curriculum is deep knowledge of child development theory and careful consideration of the latest research in the field of early childhood education to benefit early learners.

An appropriate curriculum for infants and toddlers focuses on what is most essential for their healthy growth and development – namely building responsive relationships between teachers, children, families and the community. The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers and Twos has enabled early childhood practitioners to apply developmentally appropriate, content-rich practice and create daily routines and meaningful experiences that respond to children’s strengths, interests and needs regardless of family background or skill levels. With the Creative Curriculum, throughout the early childhood learning experience children are being prepared in all the ways that matter for later success in school.

The creative curriculum for Preschool and Kindergarten is an award-winning curriculum based on 38 objectives for development and learning for preschool success. The curriculum is fully aligned with the United States Federal Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework as well as Common Core State Standards. The Creative Curriculum for Preschool enables children to develop confidence, creativity and lifelong critical thinking skills.

Each class has its own dedicated classroom used as a creative learning space. Our maximum class sizes will be 20. Children in a Caterpillars class will have a part time Teacher and Teaching Assistants (1:4). Children in a Honeybees class will have a Class Teacher and Teaching Assistants (1:6). Children in a Ladybugs class will have a Class Teacher and Teaching Assistants (1:8). Children in a Butterflies or an Owls class will have a Teacher and a Teaching Assistant per class (1:10).

At IDEA Early Learning Center it is paramount that all our children can access the curriculum in a way that is meaningful to their age and stage of development. In keeping with the ethos of the UAE, we are an inclusive setting (EAL, SEN and G&T). Every day, all of our children are encouraged to achieve their potential in both social and academic aspects.

How many nationalities are represented in your school?

British 38%, EmiratI 13%, Russian 6%, Australian 4%, Indian 4%, other 32%

Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?

British 38%, Emirates 13%, Russian 6%, Australian 4%, Indian 4%, other 32%

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?

Tadpoles (9-12months) 1:3
Caterpillars & Mini-Beasts (aged 1-2years) 1:4
Grasshoppers, Owls & Honeybees (aged 2-3years) 1:6
Ladybugs (aged 3-4years) 1:8
Butterflies (aged 4-5years) 1:10

Does your school have a waiting list?

Yes, mainly for 9month and Pre-K ages

Describe your school's approach to education and teaching?

At IDEA we provide children with the opportunities to learn and practice newly acquired skills. We offer challenges beyond the level of their present mastery and it takes place in the context of a community where children are safe and valued, where their physical needs are met, and where they feel psychologically secure.
We ensure that learning is fun, hands-on and develops the children's critical thinking skills.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?

At IDEA ELC we recognize the importance of an active lifestyle for children and we build in as many active opportunities as possible. We know that we play a role in laying the foundations for a healthy future. We are in a unique position because if we foster the development of physical activities at this early stage in children’s lives, we know that they are more likely to engage in such activities with a sustained approach throughout their lives.
Our skilled staff plan opportunities for structured and spontaneous activity. They also join in with the activities; it is best practice for children to see role models! Activities range from climbing, balancing, jumping, running and hopping to gymnastics, ball skills, parachute play and simple team games. We have the resources, equipment and expertise to facilitate a positive healthy lifestyle for children aged 1-6 years.

There are many benefits to an active lifestyle for children such as:
• good posture
• flexibility
• enabling healthy development
• maintaining and achieving a healthy weight
• developing fine and gross motor skills
• fostering good communications skills through speaking and listening
• boosting confidence
• teaching social skills and turn taking
• contributing to good sleeping patterns.

How does your school promote healthy lifestyles?

At IDEA ELC, we know that early years settings provide an ideal opportunity to encourage young children to eat well and learn about food. This not only helps protect their health while young but also sets the foundations for their future health and wellbeing.
IDEA ELC commits to being a Healthy learning environment. Our commitment promotes the personal development and wellbeing of the child, the health of the child and provides a foundation for healthy living in all its aspects. Our staff, parents and children to appreciate the importance of good nutrition for growing, developing and staying healthy. We will facilitate families in making wise food choices and adopting a healthy balanced diet.

A good balanced diet is vital for children to develop healthily along with fresh air and regular exercise. We encourage all children in our care to have healthy meals, snacks and drinks. When you supply food for your child for consumption on the premises, you must be aware of food hygiene when preparing packed lunches or snacks. This includes checking dates for consumption of both dried and perishable foods, and correct storage of food items when sent to school. We do not permit children to have fizzy drinks, unless it is a special occasion and parents have given permission. We do not encourage children to eat sweets on a regular basis; however we do sometimes allow sweets for special occasions such as a birthday.
The teaching staff at IDEA ELC will promote that healthy food is full of goodness like protein, vitamins and calcium and contains no added sugar, because too much sugar is bad for your teeth. We will promote that healthy food contains no coloring or additives, gives us strength and energy, makes us fit and healthy and helps our brain power.

Medical Team: A full time nurse and a visiting doctor are available for the promotion of health and prevention of illnesses. A yearly physical examination is an important part of the child’s health care.

Well-Being Program: A health awareness for children and adults, one-day health activities for children, health checks, health advice and fitness activities for adults. As the saying goes “a healthy happy parents make a healthy happy child”. To stay fit and healthy, staff have fitness program once a week.

Nutritional Program: Run by an accredited Dietitian once a week, it is an introduction of the simple concepts around food and healthy eating. Topics could include eat well plate, food groups, staying healthy and where food comes from.

Coffee Morning: A group discussion with mom with tots about child’s growth and development, health advice, health and safety issues, everyday health concerns.

Health Talks: Sourcing out health experts from different health topics (e.g. Dental Talks)

Our fulltime, experienced nurse has been approved by Dubai Health Authority and our facilities adhere to their strict regulations. Our team of cleaning professionals work throughout the day to ensure that we have an immaculate center.

How do you promote healthy eating?

At IDEA ELC, we know that early years settings provide an ideal opportunity to encourage young children to eat well and learn about food. This not only helps protect their health while young but also sets the foundations for their future health and wellbeing.
IDEA ELC commits to being a Healthy learning environment. Our commitment promotes the personal development and wellbeing of the child, the health of the child and provides a foundation for healthy living in all its aspects. Our staff, parents and children to appreciate the importance of good nutrition for growing, developing and staying healthy. We will facilitate families in making wise food choices and adopting a healthy balanced diet.
A good balanced diet is vital for children to develop healthily along with fresh air and regular exercise. We encourage all children in our care to have healthy meals, snacks and drinks. When you supply food for your child for consumption on the premises, you must be aware of food hygiene when preparing packed lunches or snacks. This includes checking dates for consumption of both dried and perishable foods, and correct storage of food items when sent to school. We do not permit children to have fizzy drinks, unless it is a special occasion and parents have given permission. We do not encourage children to eat sweets on a regular basis; however we do sometimes allow sweets for special occasions such as a birthday.
The teaching staff at IDEA ELC will promote that healthy food is full of goodness like protein, vitamins and calcium and contains no added sugar, because too much sugar is bad for your teeth. We will promote that healthy food contains no coloring or additives, gives us strength and energy, makes us fit and healthy and helps our brain power.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?

No, however we are partnered with a local company who provide individually tailored, healthy snacks and meals for children across all ages.

If yes, does it serve hot food?

Yes

What would be the amount spent by a student for their lunchtime meal?

Snack and Meal - 20 AED

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?

Early Bird Club: 7:30am to 8:00am
Curriculum Teaching for children aged 1-4 years: 8:00am to 1:00pm
Curriculum Teaching for children aged 4-6 years: 8:00am to 2:45pm
Afternoon Club: 1:00pm to 3:30pm
Late Afternoon Club: 3:30pm to 5:30pm

Is there a school uniform?

Children in all of classes except Tadpoles, Caterpillars and Mini-Beasts (aged 1-2 years) are requested to wear our uniform. We have a navy blue polo shirt, red skorts, shorts or trousers and a red cardigan or pullover.

Please advise on your discipline policy?

We are committed to providing a safe and positive learning environment for all children. The Center’s Behaviour and Attitudes Policy outlines in further details how we encourage children to develop social skills that reflect our values.
Staff model appropriate behavior and guide positive interactions among children and adults. Nurturing these social skills is a central component of Creative Curriculum and it helps children grow as successful, lifelong learners.
Our commitment to an age-appropriate and play-based curriculum ensures that activities are child centered and promote positive social interactions. Teachers carefully craft the environment, communicate and enforce clear boundaries and expectations for behavior and use non-verbal cues and/ or redirect a child’s behavior to foster success.
When a problem arises, the teacher relies on modeling appropriate behavior, teaching peacemaking skills and presenting stories and scenarios that reinforce the desired behavior. Children learn to make suitable choices and develop techniques for regaining self-control when they feel frustrated. Instructive and individually appropriate consequences help to strengthen the child’s self-control and self-esteem.
When a child experiences a particularly challenging time, the Center will encourage parents and teachers to work together and develop appropriate strategies. If a specific circumstance needs attention, the teacher will follow these procedures:
1. Observe and document a child’s behavior
2. Discuss the behavior with a parent and inform him or her of learning-based strategies that they will implement (discussed with the Director)
3. Follow up with the parent about how these strategies are influencing the behavior
4. If a concern persists, a meeting will be held with the teacher, parent and Director to discuss options to help the child further develop their social skills
5. Staff members will always make reasonable effort to work with the child and their family to resolve behavioral concerns. At any time, a Provision Map (sometimes referred to an IEP) may be implemented. If needed, teachers and the Director may seek support externally. The Map may involve the removal of a child from the situation and or calling the parent to take the child home. Repeated severe problems may result in IDEA ELC excluding a child.

It is not uncommon for biting to happen in an Early Years setting, especially with young children who do not have the verbal skills to express their feelings. Children’s feelings can be related to many environmental factors, as well as internal emotions, such as frustration, tiredness, overstimulation, seeking attention and so forth. In line with our overall Positive Behaviour and Attitudes Policy, we create a positive, peaceful and nurturing environment that encourages children to maintain self-control. You can view our Biting Policy at any time.

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?

We endeavor to communicate electronically to reduce paper, so use See Saw, an app where teachers can upload videos and photos of the children, as well as connect with the families collectively and individually. Parents are kept informed about the curriculum, school events, children’s achievements, diary dates and important school developments via our website and social media accounts. In addition we will regularly update our website with photographs of their activities.
In the Autumn and Spring terms, parent consultation meetings are held and in June all parents receive a written summary informing you about your child’s progress, achievements and targets. However, parents are welcome to make an appointment at any time to discuss your child’s progress with the Teacher and how home and school can work together to support your child’s next steps.
Newsletters are sent each month, with an update from each class and other important information and useful links and articles.

How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?

In the Autumn and Spring terms, parent consultation meetings are held and in June all parents receive a written summary informing you about your child’s progress, achievements and targets. However, parents are welcome to make an appointment at any time to discuss your child’s progress with the Teacher and how home and school can work together to support your child’s next steps.
We use the app see-saw where teachers post regular photos, videos and updates as well as announcements of events and other things of interest happening at the center.

What is your medium of instruction?

The Creative Curriculum which allows for transition to US, EYFS and IB curricula.

Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language in your school?

Yes, all children receive Arabic teaching twice a week.

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?

We understand English as an Additional Language as referring to children whose main language at home is a language other than English. These children bring cultural, linguistic and educational experiences to the Center that are highly valued. We support these children to use English to communicate but we also respect that they may, at times, use their home language.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

We understand Gifted and Talented as two different elements: ‘gifted’ as a child that has an untrained, natural ability in one or more area and this can be developed to further excel, ‘talented’ as a child that utilizes their ‘gift’ for exceptional academic performance in relation to the majority of their peers. We support these children in order to ensure that they make better than expected progress from their individual starting point.

Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?

We understand Special Educational Needs as when children need to have special education provision made for them due to a difficulty in accessing learning. This could be that in comparison to the majority of their peers they have a greater difficulty or that they have a disability which means they are hindered from accessing education facilities that are provided for the majority of children at the same age. We will always consider applications from children with Special Educational Needs but we are mindful that we want to provide children with the best educational experience possible and sometimes, we might not have the facilities, staff or environment to be able to do this. Each case is looked at on an individual basis. It is only fair to the family and the child that we accept them knowing that they can access our curriculum in way that will enable them to make enough progress.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?

Our Parent, Teacher and Friend Association (PTFA) meetings are open to all parents and you are warmly invited to join us as often or as little as you wish. We are always looking for volunteers to help out at our events so please feel free to contact us if you are available. Our PTFA endeavours to be a link between the school and parents whilst organising social events with a fund-raising dimension. PTFA funds are available for all sorts of projects and events throughout the school year.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?

Parents are always welcome at our many celebrations, curriculum days, workshops, events and reading mornings.

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?

Yes, we elect a representative per academic year.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?

Parents that are new to the area are welcome to visit our center for a stay and play session. In addition we have a Parent and Tots group that frequently meet for coffee and play opportunities in the center.

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