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Faculty, curriculum ‘key to picking nursery’

DUBAI, June 3, 2015

UAE parents should look for well-thought-out under-5s’ curriculum or dedicated development professionals on staff when selecting a nursery, according to Dubai-based specialist training and capacity building consultancy Ebdaah.

The consultancy said too many parents are unknowingly holding their child’s development back by choosing nurseries more geared to ‘baby-sitting’ than planned learning.

“Knowing an individual toddler well is vital to care for it in the best way, and this is surely the desire of parents when looking for a start to their child’s education,” said Dr Madeleine Portwood, Ebdaah’s consultant psychologist.

“Parents should want to know that when they pay fees and hand over their precious child to an early years setting, they are getting value for money.  A nursery or school is not just a baby-sitting service. It ought to be a place where dedicated professionals provide developmental opportunities and prepare the child for formal education.”

Dr Portwood, also the spokesperson for the British Psychological Society on Child Development, added that all too often parents are attracted to nurseries that dazzle with over promises and that parents should stop for a moment and consider what their child really needs.

“Forcing a child to do something before they are ready is unhelpful, and some cases actually damaging to that child’s health and well-being. Even as an adult, imagine you’ve begun to learn a new language, and have mastered a few phrases.  Being handed a thick novel, no matter how good it might be, and told to read it will result in panic, despair and ultimately failure,” she explained.

Speaking ahead of Ebdaah’s one-day Dubai conference - Help Children Reach Their Potential: Accelerating Child Development In The Early Years – Dr Portwood said Under-5s should be exploring their fascinating world with guides who understand it and can take them safely from one experience to another in a way that builds the big picture.

The conference comes in the wake of UK evidence which shows that some pre-school children are lagging behind in the development stakes often because of a lack of specialised opportunity and activities.

“Children need to climb and run, and play and talk, sing and shout, developing their muscles, balance, language and thinking,” said Dr Portwood.

“Learning to write can come in its own time when there’s something to write about.  First they need to be able to tell stories, and for that they need to understand order and sequence, engage others and use exciting vocabulary.”

She said that for a child’s social skills need to keep pace, they must understand how to handle their emotions and realise that though they are not the centre of the universe, yet they are still loved.

“Force a child to write too soon and you can create a problem; give him the skills, encouragement and opportunities and he will learn much more quickly when the time is right.  A professional will know when that time has come because it varies from child to child. And timing is everything because it should be remembered that concentration is a skill that is acquired in the Early Years and the ability to focus attention affects learning throughout schooling.”

Dr Madeleine is the architect of the ground-breaking, UK government validated Child Development Programme (CDP), which will be the focus of the conference on June 13 in Dubai’s Knowledge Village Conference Center.

“The CDP provides a structured framework to understand each child’s needs and ‘next steps’ to help him or her on their way.  It gives schools and nurseries the means to understand what opportunities from their curriculum should be provided next and helps every child reach their potential,” she said.

During the Dubai conference, Dr Madeleine will outline how her proprietary CDP can assist under-fives on the path to improved social behaviour, motor and communication skills. UK studies have shown how, on average, youngsters on the programme made 13 months progress in just six months. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: curriculum | Nursery | faculty |

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