Patricia Mezu LL.M, M.Ed., AMI Montessori Diploma
Say Yes! To Quality-Led Preschools
Do you have a preschool project? How are you getting along with it?
You may be:
Thinking about the ideal project
In the process of a refurbishing your chosen location
Getting ready to open the doors to your new nursery within a few months; or
Leading a newly opened preschool, anticipating great things and focused on possibility.
Wherever you are in the process, I invite you to focus on quality.
Start and end with high standards and avoid the temptation to cut corners when it comes to quality. Having worked in early education and development in the UAE for over 15 years, I have, somewhat sadly, seen numerous nurseries close within a short time of opening their doors. The reason for this varies, but one of the reasons has been lack of foresight in quality provision.
Case Study (a composite of many nurseries).
‘X’ nursery started off a number of years ago with the hope and positivity of any normal ‘business’ owners. The main emphasis was to make as much money as possible within a short time. In my (humble) opinion, that is often a mistake. While I agree that money can be made if the main aim is profit, it’s entirely possible that there will be a compromise when it comes to quality.
And so this was represented first of all in the purchase of furniture and resources. Next it extended to leadership and subsequently to teaching staff. Within a year of opening its doors, the nursery was struggling, the owners were asking questions and getting ready to throw in the towel.
Hmmm.. what are three things the owners could have done to avoid the stress and utter waste of an investment in time, effort and money?
Hire a qualified, experienced leader with a proven success story in the UAE and/or beyond. A first-time newly qualified manager, while more economical to recruit, will need support and guidance. If you are not able to invest in a mentor/coach to enable such support, there will be a problem in running your nursery/early childhood centre successfully.
Hire qualified (in early childhood education) and experienced teaching staff. It’s possible to employ at least two skilled lead teachers who will set the tone for proficiency and mentor other less qualified staff.
Purchase premium furniture and resources. At a minimum, consider the medium range. Otherwise you will end-up replacing most cheap and cheerful items within 12-18 months.
Quality matters to parents when they are choosing the best place for their children. Admittedly some parents will only place a child in a preschool based on how much they can afford, but I am still an advocate of quality provision within nursery schools.
The UAE Preschool Landscape
Within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) there is significant competition within the preschool sector. There are a number of tiers and depending on who you choose to serve, pitch your plans accordingly. All young children deserve quality education.
You may be familiar with the research of Professor James Heckman, a Nobel Prize winner in Economics. His research in the USA shows that investing in the early and equal development of children in lower income communities has a proven and significant benefit. Namely, a more capable, productive and valuable workforce that pays dividends to America for generations to come.
Have a quick look at this infographic for further details. It shows the impact of high-quality education on disadvantaged children within early years. If it works amongst vulnerable communities, it is probably safe to assume that it works for all communities.
One of my clients is getting ready to start up a Dubai early childhood centre soon (2023). She said:
“ I am so excited to be starting the process for my new early childhood centre. My Education and Care Plan has been accepted by the KHDA. Thank you for everything!"
What's a new revelation for me is the impact of my work. Ultimately, it impacts young learners, but it also builds community and allows professionals to get new jobs with the potential to impact their own families. It is humbling to realise this and I wish all of my clients continued success!
Take advantage of my free 15-minute strategy call to discuss your next steps.
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I trust that this golden nugget of information will be helpful to you.
As always, Professional Minds is here to support and guide you through the early childhood education process.
Patricia Mezu, Director Professional Minds | M.A.Ed., AMI Montessori Dipl., LL.M