Redwood Nursery Al Garhoud is a part of the well regarded Kids First Group.
Redwood Montessori Nursery can be found in Al Garhoud, within striking distance of both Dubai International Airport and Dubai Festival City, making it a convenient choice for parents working or living in the local areas. The nursery is managed by Montessori specialist and experienced nursery manager, Mirna Bdeir, who joined the organisation when the setting was known as Gulf Montessori and under private ownership.
The nursery is now owned and operated by the Kids First Group, which also owns the well regarded Willow Children’s Nursery, Odyssey Nursery, Ladybird Nursery and Tots Corner Nursery brands. There is another branch of Redwood Montessori Nursery on the Palm Jumeirah (read our REVIEW HERE) as well as three branches in Abu Dhabi.
The nursery is housed in a converted residential villa, surrounded by high white walls. The street was quiet on arrival at 8.30am and we were able to find a parking space with ease. The exterior of the nursery is dominated by a large poster proclaiming that the team have achieved accreditation from the Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board (an organisation formed in partnership with the British Accreditation Council to ensure that Montessori standards are applied consistently wherever the term ‘Montessori’ is used) Mirna will later tell our reviewers that is the third successive time the nursery has achieved such accreditation.
Mirna begins our visit by describing life inside the Redwood classrooms. This branch caters for children aged 18 months to 3 years, all of whom are cared for in ‘mixed age’ classrooms, a hallmark of the Montessori philosophy. Mirna describes the Redwood classrooms as “very dynamic classrooms, where we let the children work as individuals and in a group. The children have the freedom to explore and learn at their own pace. When they struggle with something, we don’t rush to help, we let them seek out the answers for themselves”.
This gentle, child centric approach is also evident in the Redwood approach to the acquisition of language and communication skills. “We give the children time and freedom” said Mirna, “Each child needs to reveal who they are, when they are ready. We believe in ‘multi intelligences’ [another common theme in Montessori education] so we try to fulfil each individual child’s needs and interests in order to develop their communication”.
When it comes to the physical development of the child, Mirna tells us that “This is really the most important thing. We believe that the hands are the tools of the mind!”
Children are given activities of everyday living such as serving their own ‘buffet breakfast’ (including laying the table with mats, serving the food with tongs and washing their own plates after they have finished) in order to develop those all-important fine motor and pre writing skills.
All of the classrooms have easy access to the outdoors and children are encouraged to be outside wherever possible during good weather season. When we later tour the nursery, we note the peaceful, grassy garden as a real strength of the nursery. The children are encouraged to grow plants and the garden is a hub for lots of different sensory activities. There is a range of high quality wooden climbing and play equipment and several shaded areas. On the day of our visit, one of the shaded areas was arranged with tumble mats and blocks for what looked like a fun, active session!
The classrooms are simply furnished and carefully organised, as we would expect from a Montessori setting. Every room was extremely clean and well ordered. We notice typical Montessori resources, activities and wooden play equipment.
When it comes to working with children with additional needs, Mirna finds that being part of the large Kids First Group has benefits, as her team can draw upon the expertise of colleagues across the group, plus the group has working contracts with a number of special needs providers. She also feels that the Montessori curriculum work very well for children with additional needs “as we can really focus on their strengths, what they are good at” she told our Reviewer.
This is a small setting, which can cater to a maximum of 75 children. At the time of our visit, 65 children were enrolled. The nursery opens from 7.30am to 5.00pm each day, although many children attend for the morning session only. At present, there are no extra-curricular activities, however the team plan to add these next year.
The nursery uses the Educore app to communicate with parents and to share photos.
We felt that for parents looking for Montessori nursery, Redwood Nursery Garhoud represents a strong option. The nursery is clean, well-organised, equipped with good quality resources and is staffed by caring, qualified staff.
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