Maple Bear, a Canadian curriculum Preschool in Business Bay, is situated on the ground floor of the Burlington Tower, adjacent to the Dubai Water Canal.
Nursery Visit - Maple Bear, Business Bay
Wednesday 20th September 2017 - 8.50am
With Dubai’s nursery and preschool industry dominated by the centres offering English Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, we are always interested to learn about Early Years facilities which offer an alternative. In our diverse and predominately expat city it is important that parents have access to curricula that will not only offer high quality education but also translate to their homeland education system. We were therefore very excited to visit Maple Bear, a Canadian curriculum Preschool and KHDA licensed Early Learning Centre in Business Bay.
Situated on the ground floor of the Burlington Tower on Al Abraj Street, Maple Bear can confidently claim to be a “waterside” centre being adjacent to the Dubai Water Canal. Parents have a choice of two entrances, one a drop off area accessed via the building’s parking and another which is on the canal path – a beautiful walk for those lucky enough to live close by.
Our reviewers did find the parking a little confusing, but the Maple Bear team were very aware of this and gave us lots of very helpful guidance until we found them! The Centre Manager, Ohood, was waiting in the building lobby when we arrived. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes allowing parents plenty of time for drop off and pick up.
Core academic hours are 8am to 1pm, although an early drop off is available by arrangement. Afternoons can be extended up until a latest of 5.30pm.
Maple Bear is defined as an 'Early Learning Centre' and able to cater from children from 18 months old to 6 years (up to KG2). Ratios are in line with recommendations, being:
Ohood, the Centre Manager, is a Danish national of Palestinian descent and speaks fluent English and Arabic. Ohood has recently been promoted to Manager, having previously been Head Teacher. Ohood is joined by Janel, who is Regional Academic Director for Maple Bear in the UAE. Janel is from the US and worked with the well thought of British Orchard group before joining Maple Bear 2.5 years ago.
Maple Bear is a large organisation with preschools and schools in diverse locations such as Brazil, Singapore, Nepal, Turkey and Morocco. The group headquarters are in Vancouver, Canada.
At present Canada does not have one unified Early Years curriculum as in the UK and other countries. For this reason the Maple Bear group have created their own curriculum, based upon best practice from across the regions of Canada and the rest of the world. A few of the key elements of this curriculum are:
These and other key aspects of the curriculum are delivered via the incorporation of eight learning areas in each classroom and as part of the plans for each days. These are:
As we tour the centre, Ohood and Janel are keen to point out how these areas of the curriculum are embedded into daily life. Each teacher displays their planning on the exterior of the classroom so that parents are able to see what will be covered each week. Language teachers do the same and plan in tandem with the class teachers. This ensures that they cover the same learning goals in Arabic and French.
Languages are a key element of life at Maple Bear. Janel tells our reviewer that they have a high proportion of children who do not have English as a first language. English is therefore considered the ‘immersion’ language at the preschool level in this branch (this varies in branches across the world). Maple Bear aim to bring all their children up to a good level of English fluency before they transition to school. In additional French and Arabic tuition is given daily. The language coordinators are key to this centre with even Field Trips being delivered in completely in one of the additional languages.
Literacy is also a key focus here. Janel tells us that the children are encourage to have lots of dramatic play (role play) and that there is a continual focus upon improving vocabularies. Music is important and often overlaps with literacy time.
Teachers use the two soft play areas and outdoor space in order to focus on gross motor development. The outdoor space is well equipped, but fairly small in size. The staff have done their best to make this a fun filled area and use it daily when the weather allows. There are great views over the Dubai Water Canal.
The teachers we meet all have a good standard of English and are from countries as diverse as the children enrolled. The centre has teachers from Norway, Denmark, Egypt, Pakistan, UK and the Philippines. We meet Areeba, a young teacher from Pakistan. Areeba really impressed us with her relaxed and engaging manner and is clearly very at home at Maple Bear. Areeba began her career with Maple Bear as a TA four years ago, before being sponsored to complete her Cache Level 3 Diploma. She considers Maple Bear to be a ‘second home’.
Areeba feels that all the teachers at Maple Bear really prioritise relationships with children and families and make sure that they understand thoroughly any issues in a child’s home life that may affect their behaviour at school (e.g. a new sibling at home). Her goals for the coming academic year are to improve the centre’s eco curriculum and to plant a garden outdoors.
After our visit we receive some written parent feedback. This was very positive and cited the following strengths:
On the day we visited the Maple Bear children were trialling a food delivery service from Leela’s Lunches. If successful, this will be rolled out and offered to all children. It looked delicious!
Maple Bear is situated in retail unit of a commercial buildings and for this reason space is a little limited. That said, there is considerably more space than first impressions would indicate and what they have, they have used well. At the time of writing there are around 50 children enrolled at Maple Bear. Janel tells us that they are licensed for 110 children, but (for reasons of space and safety) have decided that there will only ever have a maximum of 90. There are six classrooms and two play areas – one equipped with some great soft play and climbing equipment and one left more open for activities such as dance and for the delivery of extra-curricular activities. ECA’s currently include ballet, Zumba and hip hop dancing.
What we loved and where we felt improvements could be made
What we loved
What could be improved
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