With vast swathes of new housing in the locality as well as close proximity to Dubai Science Park and the new “My City Centre” mall, Smart Start promises to be a convenient location for many Dubai families.
Smart Start Kindergarten – Hard Hat Tour
Tuesday 17th August at 11am
With so many of Dubai’s nurseries housed in refurbished villas, it is unusual to have the opportunity to see a purpose built early learning centre whilst still under construction. We were therefore very excited to take a “Hard Hat Tour” of the new Smart Start Kindergarten, situated in the rapidly developing Al Barsha South area.
With vast swathes of new housing in the locality as well as close proximity to Dubai Science Park and the new “My City Centre” mall, Smart Start promises to be a convenient location for many Dubai families. With a firm focus on physical development and healthy living and delivering the American Curriculum (specifically aligned with the Colorado State Academic Standards), Smart Start is likely to be a unique establishment for the area.
We met with Smart Start Principal, Trish King, who gave us a tour of the premises and an overview of her vision for the kindergarten. Trish is a British teacher who has been in Dubai for 10 years, her career progressing from teaching into management in an American school in DIP. Trish joined the Smart Start team at the very earliest stages of design and planning and her commitment to the project is evident. Trish has a teaching specialism in Physical Education and hopes to be the driving force behind Smart Start’s focus on health and well-being.
A one storey building, Smart Start will eventually cater to 10 classes for children aged between 3-6 years (pre K – KG2 in the American system). When full, the centre will cater to around 230 children in total. Staff to child ratios will be as follows:
All of the classes have been built to allow easy access in to a shaded central garden courtyard area. Teachers will be encouraged to offer “free flow” activities in this space, allowing the program which is delivered to be child initiated wherever possible.
Additional outdoor space will be used for a bikes and trikes area as well as for a vegetable garden. Classes are spacious and have very large windows allowing lots of natural light. The building will have dedicated parking and will be secured by a perimeter wall. Parents and caregivers will be issued with access cards and attendance records/absence notifications will come via Smart Start’s own app.
Smart Start aims to offer a wide ranging curriculum, with topics and activities such as Gardening, Robotics, Early Programming, Yoga, Mindfulness and Arts and Crafts. PE lessons will be daily for all ages and delivered by qualified sports teachers. All class teachers are degree qualified and have supplementary training in English as an Additional Language. Along with physical education, Smart Start will have a focus on EAL wherever possible. Trish was delighted to report that they have recruited an Arabic and Islamic teacher who received a KHDA outstanding rating at her last school. Whilst Muslim children will have Islamic studies, non-Muslim children will receive an interesting “Cultural Awareness and Heritage” program.
Smart Start’s standard hours will be 8.30 am – 1.00 pm, although wraparound day care will be available from 8.00 am – 8.30 am and 1.00 pm - 3.00pm. Fees are 37,000 AED per annum, with a founder rate of 29,600 AED for children joining in the 2017-2018 academic year. This lower rate will be offered for the duration of the child’s time at Smart Start. There are also discounts for Emirati families and a ‘refer a friend’ initiative. Afternoon classes are priced at 3,000 AED for the entire academic year.
We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com are delighted to see an early-years facility placing such heavy emphasis on physical education and healthy living. We look forward to returning soon to see lots of busy and active children enjoying this super purpose built kindergarten.
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