The Kindergarten Starters is a long-established GEMS Education school following the CBSE curriculum, that educates 5,330 boys and girls age 4 to 11 years of age.
The Story so Far
The Kindergarten Starters is a private school operated by GEMS Education. It is certainly not a Kindergarten in the traditional sense, but rather a Primary school located in Al Garhoud that was established in 1990 and is soon to celebrate 30 years in Dubai. The largest nationality group of students is Indian. There are no Emirati students and a sizeable 18 percent of the students have been identified with SEND requirements. The school, rightly, prides itself on its highly inclusive environment.
In the Principal's opening comments, she notes that "The school has chosen to place itself at the forefront of educational development, the focus on developing learning environments and a commitment for Kindergarten Starters to be inclusive, with unique ways to help all students continue their learning. We want to continue to create the opportunities for all to succeed."
KGS is one of the largest schools operated by GEMS, with a total student roll of close to 5,350. There are 229 teachers, the majority of whom are Indian passport holders. There are 72 teaching assistants. and three guidance counsellors. With a teacher to student ratio of 1:25, this is a surprisingly high ratio; and particularly so in a school with a relatively high proportion of students with additional learning requirements. Despite the demands that must be made on the teaching staff as a result, teacher turnover is at a low 9 percent.
What about the curriculum?
The curriculum at KGS is founded on the CBSE curriculum. The learning approach has evolved from traditional text book learning to a more blended approach towards e-learning, with exploration and interactive learning through e-resources. Online interactive learning platforms have been implemented as a means of extending learning beyond the physical boundaries of the text book and the classroom.
In the Kindergarten, the focus is on skills commonly found in the UK EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) such as Personal, Social, Emotional, Physical, Language, Mathematical, Creative and Enquiry skills, underpinned by the Reggio Emilia approach. Students make choices from a range of provided activities, whilst the role of the teacher is as a facilitator who observes, probes students’ thinking with questions, listens to their comments and stories, finds what interests them and provides them with a range of materials and opportunities to explore these interests further.
The KGS primary curriculum aims to provide a broad learning experience and encourages a rich variety of approaches to teaching and learning that cater to the different needs of individual children. The primary curriculum is designed to nurture the child in all dimensions of his or her life - spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional, imaginative, aesthetic, social and physical. The entire KGS Curriculum has been redesigned and enriched beyond the CBSE expectations to match International standards. A thematic approach with meaningful cross curricular connections makes learning at KGS more interesting and long lasting, enabling students to build links across subjects and to develop their learning skills.
KGS also offers a wide range of extra curricular activities.
What about facilities?
KGS has a well-equipped range of facilities and resources for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 to help them achieve a well-rounded education in a child-friendly atmosphere.
Facilities at the school include an ICT and Media Centre where students are exposed to Information and Communication Technology using PowerPoint presentations and overhead projectors are used as teaching aids; Lego labs, a Robotics lab, a science resource centre, a maths resource centre and a life skills centre which are spacious and equipped with promethean boards where students are encouraged to use their analytical skills, activity rooms for learning through play, a music and art room, a dance room where students communicate ideas through movement and expression, a library and reading rooms for Grade 1 and 2 students, a book store and a canteen.
Sand and water play areas are provided for KG students, and the newly designed traffic park is aimed at children learning through purposeful play. It enables the students to learn the traffic rules in a safe and friendly environment and not only improves awareness of traffic safety, but also helps develop gross and fine motor skills.
Sports facilities include Astro-turf football pitch, Cricket pitch and badminton and basketball grounds.
What the Inspectors Say
The 2018-19 KHDA report ranks the school for the fourth year in the row as Good and, overall, the report shows continued improvement in many aspects of the school.
Key strengths identified by the inspection team include:
Areas of improvement defined by the DSIB team require that KGS should:
The KHDA reports does note, however, that the school's class sizes are too large in some instances, resulting in resources for learning being insufficient to provide equal opportunities for effective practical work. This has been an ongoing issue at the school, although improvements in terms of furniture, lifts and ramps have been made.
If you would like to read the full KHDA report - and we strongly advise that you do - you may find it here.
What do Parents Say?
Almost all 723 parents who responded to the KHDA pre-inspection survey, are positive about the school, believing that it provides a safe environment for their children, and they value the information provided about their children. Some parents are concerned about a relatively short single break period during the school day, and the move towards electronic learning devices in place of hard copy books.
Parents, older students and teachers at KGS have not previously been able to participate in the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey. We would very much encourage you to do so now and to share your experience with other families and readers. If you would like to take the survey, you will find it here.
Fees for The Kindergarten Starters start at AED 7,711 for KG1 and rise to AED 10,292 for Grade 5. Additional fees of AED 350 in KG and AED 500 in Grades 1-5 are payable for E-resources.
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