The first day at nursery can be emotional – for parents and children alike. For mums and dads, peace of mind comes from knowing that their little tots are in the hands of caring and experienced professionals. At the Aga Khan Early Learning Centre (AKELC) in Dubai, these professionals are raising the bar in terms of local nursery care, if the number of international awards, accreditations and ratings of excellence is any indication.
On 7 March 2019, at the SchoolsCompared.com Education Awards ceremony in Dubai, AKELC was announced the winner of the Best Nursery UAE 2019 award. Past awards have included:
- the 2018 UK National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) International Nursery of the Year Award;
- the 2017 Edarabia's Parent Choice Award;
- a Level 3 Exemplary (highest level) international accreditation with the NDNA in 2016.The Centre has the distinction of being the only nursery outside the UK with this high level; and
- a 5-star exemplary rating in 2015 by the UAE Jawda Quality Assurance Programme in six critical areas of programme quality, including staff-child interaction, partnerships with parents and the community, learning facilities and health and safety policies.
The Centre’s focus on active participatory learning encourages children to develop knowledge, confidence and skills through interactions with the world and the people around them. The staff work closely with parents to help them better understand how important the early years (12 months to 4 years) are in terms of brain development, and the link to effective language skills and bilingual proficiency. These are skills that are clearly linked to later academic success and because of this evidence the AKELC offers bilingual English/Arabic programmes even to its youngest learners.
For ongoing support, guidance and oversight, the Centre draws on the extensive experience of the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), one of several AKDN agencies that lead the Network’s activities in Education.