The fourth branch in the Fortes Education owned Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS) group, JINS JVT is on the same campus as Sunmarke school in Jumeirah Village Triangle. There are now nine nurseries in the group
Although located within the Sunmarke School campus, Jumeirah International Nursery JVT is easily distinguished from the school by visible exterior signage. Situated within the popular JVT residential area on an otherwise quiet street, the nursery accessible with dedicated parking facilities. Entrance to the nursery is provided via a CCTV monitored automatic gate.
Philippa Wallace is the Head of Early Years at Jumeirah International Nursery, JVT. Mrs Wallace informed our reviewer that she has over 15 years experience in Early Years Education. Previously in the role of Curriculum Coordinator, she has been part of the Fortes Education Leadership team for 6 years. She holds the required qualifications in early years and education and care required for her role: the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Cache Level 5 Diploma in Early Years Leadership.
Mrs Wallace expressed considerable passion for her role, telling us she loves “watching children grow holistically in experiential environments” and equally expressed enthusiasm for building strong parent partnerships.
All of the classrooms had natural light, were well equipped and spacious. Each room we visited had a range of different activities going on and we observed that children were choosing what they wanted to do. Classrooms environments are clearly strongly influenced by Reggio Emilia and the Curiosity Approach, with natural materials present, plentiful resources for loose parts play available and real attention to detail applied in creating these curiosity-inspiring spaces.
Classrooms are situated around a central courtyard area. Although outdoors, the courtyard is enclosed and well shaded, with some areas having ceiling fans to help during the hotter months. We noted that the nursery had developed its outdoor space since our last visit, with the addition of a mud kitchen area and organic garden, where children grow and harvest vegetables.
The play equipment was good quality and mostly wooden and we noted that the nursery staff were skilled in creatively transforming key areas, such as the playhouse, to inspire imaginative play based on observed interests of the children. In addition, there are two indoor soft play areas, one for older and one for younger children, which can be used when the weather is hot.
In the baby room there is a gated, carpeted area for crawlers and a separate area had been created for the two very youngest babies. All of the babies in the room were being played with, fed or cuddled. Next door is a sleeping room with labelled cots and there is a kitchen area for bottle and food prep. Parents send in bedding from home which is returned weekly for laundering.
Mrs Wallace was keen to tell us about how the links to Sunmarke work and how she views the benefits of an ‘all through’ education. She highlighted that a child could attend the Sunmarke campus from 45 days old to 18 years.
While it could be viewed as a double-edged sword in that some parents desire a small intimate setting for younger children, there is a clear benefit to children in having the nursery within the school campus, in that they simply see the school and students every day. When we visited the nursery’s indoor soft play area, we saw toddlers watching a group of FS1 students head to the school swimming pool for their PE lesson. It is highly unlikely that a child attending JINS JVT could feel unfamiliar with the school, making the transition to FS1 much easier for many. Indeed, in their final term of nursery, children are taken regularly to visit the FS department of the school.
On a practical note, families moving their children from the nursery to the school can take advantage of a number of discounts and benefits. We can see how this approach makes the nursery and school a real cornerstone of the JVT community.
JINS Sunmarke utilises England’s EYFS framework. In addition, the team use ‘In the Moment Planning’ – an approach in which practitioners follow the interests of the children as and when they arise, allowing for an increased sense of child agency and engagement. This approach requires highly skilled early years practitioners for it to be carried out successfully we saw considerable evidence of this during our visit.
In an effort to meet the needs and reflect the demographic of the local community, one of the classrooms here has been allocated as a Russian language class. This is optional for parents who want their child to learn Russian and children are taught using a very specific method which links touch and sound to simplify acquisition of what can be quite a challenging language. The room is incredibly well equipped and has lots of Russian language books. All children receive regular Arabic and French lessons.
Teachers at JINS JVT have either a Cache Level 3 Diploma or a university degree in early childhood education or similar. Each class has a teacher and a minimum of two teaching assistants. In the baby room, one teaching assistant is also a qualified nurse. All staff who come into contact with children at the nursery have paediatric first aid training.
Staff to child ratios are as follows:
• 45 days to 2 years – 1:3
• 1 – 2 years – 1:4
• 2 – 3 years – 1:6
Overall, we were really impressed by this setting, in particular the high standard of early years practice and enthusiasm from the team. This is a nursery that appears to have a clear approach and ethos, with high professional standards. The links to Sunmarke are evidently a big positive for parents, children and indeed staff, who benefit from the professional development opportunities and expertise the school has to offer.
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