At a glance
WSA School Visit Review - Mosaic Nursery - JLT 20th June 2017 -8.30am
Mosaic Nursery is situated in the Fortune Executive Tower (Cluster T) in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. This is a convenient location for a short walk from many of the local residential towers. For public transport the nursery is directly opposite to Marina Mall Station. Mosaic is served by a school bus which covers Dubai Marina, Barsha Heights, Discovery Gardens and The Springs. There are a few parking spaces for parents coming by car.
The nursery is located on the first floor of this multi storey building and access is via the main entrance and a lift. The building has security on reception and Mosaic employ their own security guard, Vinod. Vinod is the first person to welcome us to Mosaic and is clearly very popular with all the children – we saw many giving a happy wave or high five on their way in to class.
Vinod directs us to the office of Vicky Duggan the Director of Mosaic Nursery. Vicky is an Early Years Teacher with experience from several high quality Dubai schools, including Latifa Girls School, Kings Dubai and DESS. Vicky joined Mosaic in April of this year and is keen on implementing several new strategies and improvements.
Mosaic caters for children from 18months to 4 years old and staff to child ratios are as follows:
- 18 months to 24 months and 23 months to 26/7 months – 1:4, with a maximum class size of 12
- 2 to 3 years – 1:3, with a maximum class size of 18
- 3 to 4 years – 1:8, with a maximum class size of 24
The nursery is not full at present so most classes are running with lower staff to child ratios than above, and also with smaller classes. Vicky told us that a large percentage of the current children where younger siblings of previous Mosaic attendees. Children can attend for a variety of timings, the nursery day starting at 7.30am and ending at 6pm.
Staff turnover here is low, with many teachers having been with the nursery since it opened 5 years ago. Teachers spoke highly of the nursery, praising the strong relationships between staff, children and parents, the spacious classrooms and the “truly child initiated” curriculum.
There is a one qualified DHA registered nurse on site at all times, with two Teaching Assistants also being qualified nurses. In addition, six members of staff have paediatric first aid training, with six more planning to take the course in September 2017. Staff absences are covered by a qualified supply teacher.
Mosaic offers the Creative Curriculum (see our recent guide) which hails from the US and is based upon the latest child development research and guidelines. At Mosaic, they aim to interpret this curriculum and offer a style of learning that is highly child centric, relaxed and yet purposeful. As Vicky told us “Nursery is a not a little school!”.
As such, there is a simple, loose timetable at Mosaic which allows teachers to adapt the day to the needs of the children in their class. There is no “lining up” to transition between rooms or activities, no uniform, very little pressure to conform and an emphasis on children choosing their own pursuits. The nursery has a calm and unhurried feel. Studies (or topics) are chosen based upon the interests of the children – we witnessed this in action in one class where they were learning about “Animals who hatch from eggs”. The class teacher told us that this was a natural progression (and suggested by the children) from the last topic “Dinosaurs”. The children certainly seemed engaged and had produced some lovely art work to complement their learning.
Vicky guided us around the nursery and we were impressed by the very large and bright classrooms throughout. In fact, classes are so big that many have slides or climbing frames inside. At present, Mosaic does not have an outside space or garden, but discussions are in place with the building management to utilise a large balcony area. It will be a fantastic bonus if these plans come to fruition.
At present, children have a very spacious gym for physical play and for letting out some steam! The gym has lots of different play equipment to cater for the very youngest to oldest children. This area is used in the afternoons for extra-curricular sports activities, provided by the sports company Ready, Steady, Go! There is also a music and free play/role play room –Vicky tells the WSA Team how the teachers love music and dance here and that music is always an integral part of the children’s day.
Inside the classrooms were also impressed by the quantity and quality of toys, puzzles and arts and crafts resources. Each class has a clean, well maintained bathroom and nappy change area.
Mosaic aims to be a very inclusive nursery and to offer a high level of support to children with special needs and to their parents and families too. Vicky is passionate about this area of Early Years teaching and gives us several examples of children who have made huge progress since joining Mosaic. She feels that the relaxed, low pressure environment is a key element of this success and is very proud of her teaching team’s efforts in this important work.
We were able to meet two Mosaic parents, Ekaterina and Fabienne, who have two year old daughters in the same class. Both were very happy with their choice, using words such as “fantastic”, “calm” and “warm” to describe the nursery. Fabienne felt that one small improvement would be for the nursery to offer a food delivery service, as this was something she had been used to in her child’s previous nursery.
Mosaic has partnerships with several good schools, such as Clarion School , Sunmarke School, Swiss International Scientific School, Regent International School, Dovecote Green Primary School and more.
Overall we were impressed by this small nursery which we feel offers a good value for money option for parents in and around JLT. Parking and access by car are the biggest challenges for Mosaic, but for parents able to walk, use public transport or the school bus, this is a very good option.
Research based Early Years best practice the world over is focussed on “child centric” learning. The fundamental principle being that children learn best when they are free to pursue their own interests and passions. Many nurseries claim to be child centric, but only a few truly are. We were impressed to find that Mosaic Nursery bucks this trend and we commend them for placing child centric learning at the heart of everything they do.
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