White Dove Nursery is a beautifully presented nursery tucked away on a quiet leafy corner in Al Mamzar.
White Dove Nursery has been in operation since January 2018. For such a young nursery, we were impressed by the sense of calm and organisation throughout. The nursery makes a beautiful first impression, with pretty signage outside and cheerful murals adorning the walls of the villa.
We are met by registrar Nouf, who guides us through the nursery tour. Lead teacher Emilia is also on hand to guide us through the curriculum and the wide variety of activities on offer.
On a day to day basis, the nursery is run by Colette Affaya, who was on vacation on the day of our summer visit. Colette is from the UK and has worked with the EYFS in many settings there for many years. Colette has also lived in America, gaining experience in a US based curriculum. In total she has more than 20 years of experience in the world of childcare, having been a Nursery Consultant, owner and manager both here. Colette holds a Diploma in Early Years, a Diplomain Business Administration and the International PreSchool Curriculum Leadership and Management Award.
This is a large villa with plenty of space. The garden/outdoor play area has been well thought out, with up to date play equipment and variety of challenge for all age groups (the nursery is Ministry of Education (MOE) licensed, meaning that they are able to accommodate children age 45 days to 4 months). Staff to child ratios are as follows:
Teachers must have a minimum of Cache* Level 3, in line with MOE regulations. Emilia, is the holder of a Post Graduate degree in Education from her native Zimbabwe.
[*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).]
Emilia tells us that she has had lots of training since joining White Dove and that her planning and classroom practice has really improved as a result. The nursery uses the well regarded Early Years Education Services for teacher training and continuous professional development. There are two ‘floating’ members of staff who cover any staff absences.
White Dove Nursery offers a blend of two Early Years curricula. The well-known EYFS from the UK and the American High Scope approach. Emilia felt that the two work well together and that High Scope ‘strengthens the EYFS’.
Although there is some natural overlap between these two child-led systems, High Scope offers a degree of difference to the EYFS in that:
Both curricula fundamentally focus on the key area of personal, social and emotional growth, communication and language and physical development. We asked Emilia to talk us through their approaches to all three.
Personal, Social and Emotional Growth
All children are encourage to actively participate wherever possible. Circle Time is key, and teachers try to ensure each session is exciting and involving to maximise confidence and leanring. Children are encouraged to explore mindfulness with simple daily meditations. Teachers use a ‘quiet corner’ to calm children who are upset or displaying negative behaviours.
Communication and Language
White Dove Nursery has a very well equipped central role play area that all classes share. This is somewhere where Emilia sees language flourish. The nursery uses the Jolly Phonics system with older children to help them learn letter sounds ahead of school. Arabic and French tuition is offered to all children on alternate days.
Dance and yoga are daily activities and a ball skills coach visits once per week. Classrooms are equipped with a wide variety of resources designed to build fine motor skills.
We were very impressed with the classrooms and both indoor and outdoor play areas at White Dove Nursery. Classrooms are light, bright and cheerful without being too busy or cluttered and all are adjacent to beautifully equipped bathrooms.
Most rooms have lovely murals on the walls which, Nouf tells our reviewer, have been designed and painted by a talented member of the teaching team!
Parent feedback also praised the cleanliness, facilities, CCTV monitoring and beautiful presentation of the nursery.
Most rooms are in the main villa, but a small separate block houses the offices, a well-equipped clinic and a spacious kitchen area that they children use for cooking activities. Outside, there is plentiful, free parking. As yet the team do not have security personnel at the gate, but are planning to hire a guard for the start of September 2018.
Parent feedback was similarly positive about other areas of provision. The nursery and team were praised as being ‘caring, creative and innovative’ and the teaching staff as ‘always reachable’.
Another parent told us that the nursery environment was ‘extremely warm, friendly and loving’ and that she was delighted with the improvements in her son’s language and confidence. All parents felt that the team took great care creating a wide variety of interesting themes and activities for the children.
This is a new nursery that has not yet seen many children leave for school. Nouf has however seen many parents express an interest in the nearby Star International School, Al Twar.
We enjoyed our time at White Dove Nursery. This is a beautiful environment with a well thought out curriculum that should appeal to many parents.
As Manager Colette told us, "when the nursery was being set up, I wanted it to have a community feel. The children are so young, I wanted to have a home from home feeling and structure, I feel that we have achieved that goal!"
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