Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS) group is owned by Fortes Education, who own and run the popular Regent International and Sunmarke schools. There are eight nurseries in the group.
The Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS) group is owned by Fortes Education, who own and run the popular Regent International and Sunmarke schools. There are now eight nurseries in the group. We visited the Al Safa branch on a busy September morning to find out more about life at a JINS nursery.
JINS Al Safa is situated immediately behind Jumeirah Primary School, making it a convenient option for parents with older children at the school. It is also convenient for Jumeirah English Speaking School, Emirates English Speaking School and Safa British School.
The street is mostly residential with on street parking and an adjacent open sand parking area. The nursery is housed in a large former residential villa with very spacious grounds and several outbuildings which serve a variety of purposes.
The nursery feels calm and well organised on arrival and we are met by two friendly office staff. We are then introduced to Laura Partanen, Head of Early Years at JINS Al Safa.
Laura exudes passion for the nursery, and for the work of early childhood education and care more generally. As we walked around the setting with Laura, it was quickly apparent that she had a warm connection with every child, parent and staff member in the nursery. Laura's compassionate and very 'human' approach appeared to be present throughout JINS Al Safa; the setting had an aura of homeliness and gentleness, everything moving at the pace of the children.
What about the curriculum...
JINS Al Safa uses England’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, a popular choice in UAE nurseries, with principles of the Reggio Emilia approach, incorporating natural materials and using ‘real’ objects to support the developing independence of the children, as well as the Curiosity Approach.
Wherever possible, class topics will follow the interests of the children – fostering independence and self-awareness by allowing children lots of choices.
JINS is a project-based learning environment where children play a very important and active role in constructing their own learning. The projects which the children work on throughout the year are inspired by the questions which they ask their teachers, the thoughts and ideas they share with each other and the many interests that they display throughout their day at nursery. Long-term projects connect core academic areas in and out of the classrooms.
Additionally, the Positive Education™ philosophy which is embraced at the nurseries, emphasizes the development of the child’s personality, social skills, and self-image. This balanced curriculum allows for teachers to differentiate their instruction and encourage the individual child’s strengths and abilities.
To support the children to further develop their listening skills and encourage early development of phonics, following the Letters and Sounds Programme. This programme is divided into six phases, which focus on: Environmental Sounds, Instrumental Sounds, Body Percussion, Rhythm and Rhyme, Alliteration, Voice sounds, Oral Blending and Segmenting.
While the nursery uses the English language, children also receive Arabic and French language lessons weekly.
JINS Al Safa aims to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to engage in the curriculum and routines. As such, the nursery team develops practices to ensure that all children who have a special educational need are identified, assessed and the curriculum is differentiated to meet individual needs. This SEN provision is free of cost.
Children receive two language lessons per week – one Arabic and one French.
What about the facilities...
JINS Al Safa is simply one of those nurseries that somehow feels like home. Housed in a beautifully converted villa in a residential community, and far from being pristine and new, this is a setting for those seeking a nursery with a lot of heart, rather than the latest or flashiest facilities.
But this nursery is far from modest in size. With sprawling outdoor space, using natural materials, and inspiring attention to detail at a child's eye level, this setting has a lot of charm. The nursery even has its own swimming pool, which is manned by a qualified lifeguard when in use, by small groups of children at a time.
Classrooms are not vast, but sizable enough for a varied and nurturing early learning experience, and are beautifully presented with a range of curiosity approach inspired resources. They feel like havens of curiosity and exploration, rather than expansive learning spaces.
For the hotter months, there is a fantastic standalone area named ‘Zig Zag Zoom’ which houses a very large soft play area and role play/dress up area. We were really impressed with this facility and the equipment it housed.
What about the timings...
This support for working parents is reflected in the opening hours and annual schedule of the nursery, with care available from 7am to 6pm daily.
What about the staff and ratios...
Our reviewer observed teachers and assistants interact with the children with considerable care and compassion, their practice appeared truly child-centered and child-paced. Environments were meticulously prepared, with plenty to engage and inspire young children, allowing for exploration and play. Children were engaged, confident and happy, which is particularly impressive given the short time some of them had been in the setting, so early in the academic year.
Teachers here are qualified to a minimum of Cache Level 3, the requirement under Dubai's education authority, the KHDA, with many exceeding this requirement.
Staff to student ratios are low, with a ratio of 1 adult: 3 babies for children aged 45 days – 1 year, 1:4 for those aged 1 - 2 years and 1:5 for those of 2.1 – 3 years.
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