I am a Nursery Principal here in Dubai. I spend at least 12 hours every day caring and supporting families with small children and I have been doing that for 25 years. Working with children and their Mums and Dads is a passion of mine. However, sometimes I feel families here in Dubai are under a great deal of pressure trying to raise a young families, perhaps more so than when I raised my own three children.
Many parents express worry about school, it’s often like a big looming burden in the distance. Fear that their child will be rejected, fear there will be no spaces left, fear they have chosen the wrong place, fear it won’t be right for their child and more… Can I just say, I feel for you mamas.
I am frequently asked what the next step should be after a child graduates from our nursery. Parents are keen to know which school to choose and at times seem overwhelmed by choice.
I always answer the same way.
It is my personal belief and experience that most schools are good and want to do their best for children and I try to reassure parents that all will be well. I have seen so many children over the years make the transition to “big school”. It’s a part of life and the natural step. I encourage parents to find a school that listens, understands and communicates effectively. I would like to see all children have the chance to have a rich early education which equips them for life; but also fills their lives with very happy and relaxed memories.
I passionately hope for all the children at our nursery that their next school will consider them unique children able to be an active participator in their own learning. Over the years I have seen schools become popular and it seems a safe bet for parents as you see waiting lists to join them spring up. I sometimes encourage parents to consider less fashionable choice schools if they meet the needs of their child. A waiting list to enter a school doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for your child. It is my firm belief that education for under 5’s is very specialist and should be fun, playful, and interactive and messy and exploratory. There are some wonderful schools in Dubai. However all children are different and as the British EYFS states… children are unique.
As an educator I was lucky enough to bring my own children up understanding how education works and that learning is everywhere, I think that enabled me to feel less pressure.
My children rarely did homework, I am that Mum. Homework was in the apple pies we made, the shells we collected, the signs we read on journeys, the stories we created after school.
I forgot lunches, I was late sometimes, I swore occasionally, I burnt dinners, and I forgot dinners and made beans on toast. We did have a great deal of fun though.
If I could go back and talk to my younger Mummy self, I would sit her down and enjoy a cup of tea with her. I would say as many reassuring things as I could… I would mostly tell her that her grown up children won’t remember all her little failings and that all three children will go to university and to just enjoy their childhood years as it will soon pass…
I miss those apple pie, shell collecting afternoons and their squidgy little hands.
Lisa has been teaching/caring for other people’s children and raising her own three for over 27 years. She’s got the wrinkles (laughter lines) and a big bag of tricks ‘n’ tips learnt along the way on how to support children and their families to show for it! Her journey started as a Private British Nanny, Registered Child Minder, Teacher and now as Principal of Kangaroo Kids Nursery in Al Safa 2. Lisa loves her job and the children she cares for each day.