Our team love a visit to sunny Sharjah, so when we were invited to go along and review Pristine Rose Nursery (formerly British Rose Nursery), we jumped at the opportunity.
Located in the Al Ramla area of Sharjah, off a service road on Sheikh Hamaid Bin Saqr Al Qassimi Street (E88), Pristine Rose is housed in a striking modern villa. Parking is something of challenge in the vicinity, but the team were on hand to help and have strategies in place to help parents mitigate this during the busy morning drop off.
Pristine Rose Nursery in Al Ramla Sharjah is now part of the Pristine Network of Schools and is managed by Omnispire Education who have a 30 year track record of supporting schools. We are greeted by the nursery manager Yvonne Hall who has a warm and very natural rapport and as our time with her progresses it is obvious that she have an ‘in sync’ attitude to Early Years education and good practice in nurseries.
Yvonne is from Scotland and has had a varied career as an Early Years educator. She has been a childminder, worked in nurseries and was an Early Years Advisor in both the charity and social care sectors in the UK. Yvonne was involved with the development of ‘Birth to 3 Matters’ - a pivotal Early Years framework in Scotland, created to facilitate and promote best practice in Scottish Early Years provision.
Yvonne clearly has an impressive depth of knowledge about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, which is delivered here and in many nurseries across the UAE. She believes that children learn best when their day is centred around the three core areas of the EYFS – personal, social and emotional development, communication and language and physical development and, most of all, when children are able to direct their own learning. No pre printed worksheets here!
Yvonne is especially keen for the nursery to play a significant part in the local community and to be a support network for parents. As she said ‘we are committed to friendliness and our doors always being open’. A regular nursery newsletter is circulated on a private facebook group (for parents only).
Learning activities at Pristine Rose are child initiated and parent supported wherever possible. In the two year olds' room, an interest in food, fruit and vegetables had led to a ‘café morning’, then a real fruit stall – all supported and by volunteer parents (aka customers)!
These ever evolving and child led schemes of learning are very much in line with Yvonne’s interest in a style of Early Years education named ‘The Curiosity Approach’. This approach sees teachers using a variety of influences – from Reggio to Steiner to Te Whariki (the much lauded Early Years curriculum from New Zealand). Practitioners using this approach focus on natural or recycled materials for classroom equipment and a free flowing, child led way of learning that is underpinned by the knowledge of highly skilled and qualified staff.
This discussion leads us to meet Alex, a Serbian teacher who has been with Pristine Rose Nursery for more than four years. Alex has been encouraged to progress her career here and is now qualified with a Cache Level 3 diploma*. Alex tells us that the team are closely knit – relying on each other for support in the classroom and regularly socialising together outside of work. She loves what she does and feels that the whole team does too.
[*Cache qualifications are qualifications awarded by the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education - the UK's leading provider of vocational qualifications for those working in the care and education sectors. Cache qualifications are divided into five different levels, ranging from Level 1 (entry level) to Level 5 (for experienced professionals).]
Parking issues aside (although this is a repeated concern), parents here have very positive feedback about their experiences at Pristine Rose. One parent commented that a real strength of the nursery was that you could feel part of a ‘caring community’ and that her son’s social skills had improved since joining. Cleanliness and hygiene were repeatedly praised and every parent who sent us feedback felt that communication was excellent and that the ‘open door policy’ was a real priority for teachers. Many parents had chosen this nursery to help their children acquire English skills before joining school and as one parent said ‘…it is incredible how he has developed up until today, for a child who never spoke English before’. High praise indeed!
During our tour of the nursery we saw bright, good sized rooms equipped with a range of toys, resources and equipment. Most rooms had at least one or two noticeable influences from The Curiosity Approach – be it art work dangling from a tree branch or huge recycled cable reels used as painting tables or chalk boards. We felt that these additions to the rooms gave the nursery personality and charm!
The children we met were engaged in a huge variety of activities and all seemed happy and relaxed in their environment. There is an outdoor play area and for the hot months, a large indoor gym, role play room and library.
Children wear simple uniforms - red polo shirts and brown shorts. Generally, parents were happy with the quality and fit. We thought the uniforms looked practical and smart.
From September 2018, the nursery has been offering a range of extra-curricular activities including yoga and football.
We were impressed with this friendly and well run nursery. Transport is available and the fees are great value for money. Children can attend daily, 7am – 5pm (although a range of other timings are available).
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