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The Children’s Garden, Dubai Investments Park, Jumeirah 2, Al Barsha 2
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Review

The Children’s Garden, Dubai Investments Park, Jumeirah 2, Al Barsha 2

by September 18, 2016
Strengths

• Unique curriculum which builds the best of progressive approaches to teaching on top of the core academic British EYFS curriculum
• High qualified, inspired teaching staff
• Outstanding school leadership
• Taaleem backing an ongoing investment in schools and professional development
• Outstanding facilities
• Outstanding parental engagement and support – with a genuine, structural recognition that early years education is as much a journey for parents as it is for children
• Inclusive schooling – with no child left behind
• Dedicated independent early years learning build ground-up to nurture and protect childhood
• Happy, school environment with genuine warmth
• Outstanding unique approaches to the teaching of core academic subjects – particularly literacy and Mathematics
• Multi-lingual environment built into the DNA of provision
• Seamless, guaranteed, shock-less transition to Taaleem all through schooling with a choice of IB or British alternatives
• Outstanding transparency and provision of information for parents

Weaknesses

• We would like to see all schools have a pool and investment in water-based facilities
• Fees are premium and will be out of reach for many parents
• Lack of bursary and scholarship provision, particularly for disadvantaged children
• Less specialist SEN provision than we would have hoped for

Rating
Our Rating
User Rating
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Academic
B
Value
B+
ExtraCurricula
B+
Languages
A-
Sports
B+
Arts & Drama
A-
Teaching
B+
Communications
B+
Warmth
A
Differentiation
A-
SEND Provision
B+
Scl Community
B+
Scl Facilities
B+
Opportunities

These are very special schools that we believe are worthy of a parent’s shortlist and visit. It is very hard not to be impressed, and actually quite moved. There are so many features that stand-out, but, in particular, the sensitive focus on genuine parental engagement is one that we wish more schools would adopt. Parents, quite rightly, too need support at this young age. Highly recommended.

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‘Childhood should be a journey, not a race’ Mission Statement. Taaleem's The Children's Garden. Dubai.

Taaleem’s The Children’s Garden [TCG] offers for its children both a childhood and education.  There are three nurseries. The first opened in the Green Community in 2005, this followed by the Jumeirah 2 pre-school in 2012. The latest, The Children’s Garden, opened in Al Barsha 2 in 2012.

Updated November 2016

The Children’s Garden has a curriculum, developed within Taaleem in-house that we think is deeply thoughtful and unique. It is founded on the EYFS English National Curriculum but enriched with languages and a deep-seated conviction that education must be brought alive for each individual child (The International Curiculum for Language and the Creative Arts (ICLCA)).

Taaleem has sought to answer the fundamental and competing demands that education at such an age must be child focused, and must nurture and protect childhood, whilst also meeting the demands of later all-through provision by to equipping children with an academic framework to excel and move seamlessly from childhood to being young people.

These complex and competing demands place untold pressures on parents in seeking to choose a school that will provide the best educational start for their child(ren), whilst protecting the childhood of young children that all too soon loses itself in the heightening demands of later education.

To understand the sheer scale of the problem our Pre-school Curriculum Guides can be found here:

British Traditional EYFS Curriculum Guide

Montessori Curriculum Guide

Reggio Emilia Curriculum Guide

The Children’s Gardens pre-schools share an approach that seeks to deliver on the traditional academic demands to equip children with the building blocks of knowledge across Mathematics, Literacy, Culture, Language and the Arts, whilst taking a steadfastly progressive line that “standardized tests that measure only the traditional academic skills are no longer adequate …” that “childhood must be a journey not a race” and that each child should not be robbed of the “life skills and holistic development” that comes with an education focussed on children’s individual gifts and ways of looking at the world.

Pre-school education, for Taaleem, can be found in a play-based process of self-discovery, rather than text books, but, unlike with progressive curricular, teachers act as guides to each child on his or her journey.

More on the curriculum can be found below. It is worth noting, however, that to work, Taaleem is passionate that children should be given their own space, in their own schools, separate from the all-through schooling that has very different ambitions, pressures and demands. The UAE is dominated by schools that integrate Early Years provision which, for Taleem, inevitably risks losing the self-contained, protected and nurturing environments of schools that are dedicated only to the very specific needs of children between 2 and 6 years.

The International Curriculum for Languages and Creative Arts

 

The new Principal of The Children’s Garden, Helen Black, is an exceptional educationalist, taking on her new role for Taaleem this year (2016). She oversees and guides all three branches in Jumeira, Al Barsha and the Green Community in Dubai Investments Park.

Helen first joined Taaleem in 2015, joining Dubai British School Jumeirah Park as Head of the Primary School (our review can be found here) from Dubai’s Horizon School (review here), a dedicated FS-Primary, where she was Vice Principal and Headteacher for almost five years. Mrs Black was Instrumental in securing for Horizons School KHDA Outstanding school over a three-year period between 2013 and 2015.

Known for her passion for early years and primary education, Ms Black also has a stated commitment to open door access for parents. Her appreciation for the challenges faced by both parents and young children starting school can be found here. The school itself clearly places parental relationships highly – as you can see from the school’s internal notes below…

There is simply not the space here to detail the intricacies of The Children’s Garden approach in full. These are schools that deserve a visit from prospective parents. The unannounced and independent walk-in test conducted by our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, is suggestive of the welcome parents should anticipate, the schools scoring its highest ‘A’ grade across the board for theirfriendliness and warmth”; “ability to provide information”, the “availability of the Registrarand theoverall quality of schooling across teaching, facilities, care of children and level of parental engagement.”

Key features, however, include:

A multi-lingual curriculum.

The Children’s Garden schools in Jumeira and Al Barsha offer English, French and Arabic whilst the Green Community school offers English, German, French and Arabic. All children are taught in English. Pre-K, KG 1 and 2 children are taught English and German at the Green Community, and French and English at the Al Barsha and Jumeirah schools, with equal emphasis given to both. Critically, Arabic is also delivered as a second language. There is a particularly inspiring rationale on the web site for why Arabic is so important – and building the blocks of all languages at such an early age is a very special, and impressive feature of the Taaleem approach.

A guaranteed place at any Taaleem school

For all children who complete the full year in KG 2, Taaleem offers a guaranteed and very broad choice of schools for later all-through provision.  In practice this is likely to mean children at TCG Green Community pre-school graduating to Taaleem’s International Baccalaureate founded Greenfield Community School (GCS). For children in Al Barsha, the obvious through-school will be the Dubai British School Jumeira Park (DBSJP). For children at the Jumeirah Children’s Garden, seamless transition to Taaleem’s Jumeirah Baccalaureate School (JBS) is guaranteed.

Our review of the Greenfield Community School can be found here.

Our review of the Dubai British School can be found here.

Our review of the Jumeirah Baccalaureate School can be found here.

All are at least good schools – and Dubai British School is on the cusp of being an Outstanding one.

Progressive additions to core EYFS

The delivery of the EYFS curriculum is individual child-focussed and unique

“Above all, we make time to talk to children and listen to what they have to say, we value their opinions, thoughts, feelings and desires. We understand that shared conversations are among the most powerful interactions adults can have with children, especially when they are talking about their own ideas and interests.”

Every part of the EYFS curriculum has been deconstructed and re-built around ways of delivering its core academic requirements, but in ways that children can individually engage across the ability range.

This is particularly clever in the delivery of Mathematics, a subject that is often de-prioritised in progressive schools or blurred into general areas of play. The Children’s Garden, instead, recognises that developing mathematical ability at this age is critical, but also that it presents many children with difficulties when taught conventionally. It is a subject that if not taught sensitively can have the opposite effect to that intended driving children away from an appreciation of Mathematics and at worst creating blocks that will last throughout a child’s later education.

For the Children’s Garden, Mathematics must be taught separately given its complexity, bur rather than developing each child’s understanding through a traditional classroom, children use a “Maths Garden” which mobilises all the senses to bring mathematics to life. There is a particularly focus on patterns to do this and we really like the way that the school makes abstraction real by relating it to the beauty of Arabic architecture, art and design.

There are numerous other examples of how the Children’s Garden innovates around the core British EYFS curriculum but the key point here is that over the course of two decade’s Taaleem believes, very genuinely, it has found a way of delivering a very demanding curriculum, that both works for children academically – and as a means to develop the whole child. Independent feedback to our sister site from parents and teachers, uniformly positive and sometimes celebratory, suggests that the ambition meets the reality. We have particular feedback that children are happy too at the Children’s Garden pre-schools.

Bottom line?

Hopefully the above will give parents enough to inspire a visit to one or more of the schools. Each has its own character and facilities – but the core curriculum and obvious Taaleem commitment to very carefully recruiting its teaching staff shine through each of the pre-schools.

These are genuinely impressive schools. We do have a a frustration with UAE law that does not permit male teachers within Early Years learning. There is an issue with children, particularly boys, not having contact with male role models. This issue is more pronounced in self-contained pre-schools where the environment is entirely female. This is, however, a small price to pay for what is otherwise a quite extraordinary offer. The children’s Garden are pre-schools worth visiting. We would venture that they are likely to make a significant impact on parents who do. Highly Recommended.

Go to the FULL REVIEW on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to JUMEIRAH Q&A  on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to  GREEN COMMUNITY Q&A  on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Go to WALK-IN TEST CGJ2 on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com

 

Details to consider
Type of school

Private, for-profit

WSA Good School

Under review 2016-17

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

Nursery: 40,000 - 42,000 (5 Full Days (8.30 am to 2.00 pm) per week)
Pre-KG: 43,050 - 46,000 (5 Full Days (8.30 am to 2.00 pm) per week)
FS/KG1: 46,000 - 50,000 (5 Full Days (8.30 am to 2.30 pm) per week)
FS/KG2: 46,000 - 50,000 (5 Full Days (8.30 am to 2.30 pm) per week)
YEAR 1: NA
YEAR 2: NA
YEAR 3: NA
YEAR 4: NA
YEAR 5: NA
YEAR 6: NA
YEAR 7: NA
YEAR 8: NA
YEAR 9: NA
YEAR 10: NA
YEAR 11: NA
YEAR 12: NA
YEAR 13: NA

Curriculum

Hybrid National Curriculum for England (EYFS) / International Curriculum for Languages and Creative Arts (ICLCA)

External Exam Boards

NA (Curriculum defined by UK DoE)
Notes
(1) Schools are accredited by the KHDA

Selective

Inclusive

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published
Note
(1) It would be possible to publish flightpath data mapping Year 2 attainment against progress to Year 5 but this data is not currently provided across the sector.

Number of Students

Varies by school
Note:
(1) >40 nationalities

Teacher to Student Ratio

<1:10 Notes (1)Maximum class sizes range from 16 (Nursery) to 24 children (KG2)

Largest nationality teachers

European (largest nationality)

Teacher turnover

Not published

Year opened

TCG, Green Community, DIP: 2005
TCG, Jumeira: 2009
TCG Al Barsha: 2012

Location

Jumeirah 2, Dubai
Al Barsha 2, Dubai
The Green Community, Dubai Investments Park, Dubai

Student composition

40 different countries with the majority coming from the UK, Germany, Canada,, US, France, India, Jordan, Italy and Austria

Gender

Mixed, Co-educational

School canteen

No

Owner

Taaleem

Admissions Telephone

The Children's Garden Jumeirah: +971 (0) 4 349 2985
The Children's Garden - Al Barsha: +971 (0 )4 399 0160
The Children's Garden - Green Community: +971 (0) 4 885 3484

Web Address
KHDA/ADEC Rating

No ratings are currently published for stand-alone pre-schools

Leadership

100%

Community

100%

Facilities

100%

Quality of teaching

100%

Student personal responsibility

100%

Quality of curriculum

100%

School Governance

100%

About The Author
Profile photo of Jon Westley
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Acting Editor of SchoolsCompared.com and the International Editor of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at] schoolscompared.com

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Academic
Value
ExtraCurricula
Languages
Sports
Arts & Drama
Teaching
Communications
Warmth
Differentiation
SEND Provision
Scl Community
Scl Facilities