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Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery, Mankhool, Dubai -The Review
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Review

Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery, Mankhool, Dubai -The Review

by February 11, 2018
Details to consider
2016/17 Overall ADEC / KHDA Rating

Very Good with Outstanding features

2015/16 Overall KHDA / ADEC Rating

Good with Very Good features

Type of school

Private, for-profit

Full WSA Review
Average Cost Per Year

PRE-K1 (Nursery 1): 18,100
PRE-K2 (Nursery 2): 18,600
KG1: 20,700 (slipstream fees at the Ambassador Nursery and Kindergarten)
KG2: 20,700 (slipstream fees at the Ambassador Nursery and Kindergarten)
GRADE 1: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 19,976
GRADE 2: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 21,072
GRADE 3: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 22,169
GRADE 4: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 22,169
GRADE 5: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 23,268
GRADE 6: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 23,268
GRADE 7: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 27,658
GRADE 8: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 29,700
GRADE 9: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 33,800
GRADE 10: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 34,100
GRADE 11: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 36,450
GRADE 12: NA - See Ambassador school slipstream 36,550
YEAR 13: NA

Curriculum

Pre-ICSE

External Exam Boards

NA

Selective

Inclusive

Waiting list

Yes

Value Added

Not published

Number of Students

323
Notes:
(1) Emirati: 1
(2) SEND: 10

Teacher to Student Ratio

1:16

Largest nationality teachers

Indian

Teacher turnover

5%

Year opened

March 2012

Location

Al Mankhool, Dubai

Student composition

Indian (largest nationality)

Gender

Mixed, co-educational

School canteen

Yes

Owner

Ambassador Education
Notes:
(1) Hukumat Kalwani, Founder and Chairman
(2) Kamal Kalwani, Vice-Chairman

Admissions Telephone

+971 (0) 4 37 99 333

Web Address
Attainment Nur SEM

80%

Attainment Pri SEM

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Attainment Sec SEM

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Attainment Post-16 SEM

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Progress Pri SEM

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Progress Sec SEM

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Progress Post-16 SEM

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Arabic Native Primary Results (Native)

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Arabic Secondary Results (Native)

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Arabic Post-16 Results (Native)

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Arabic Primary Results (Add.)

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Arabic Secondary Results (Add.)

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Arabic Post-16 Results (Add.)

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Islamic St. Primary Results

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Islamic St. Secondary Results

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Islamic St. Post-16 Results

NA - See Ambassador school slipstream

Leadership

80%

Community

80%

Facilities

80%

Quality of teaching

80%

Student personal responsibility

86.6%

Quality of curriculum

80%

School Governance

80%

SEN Provision

80%

Strengths

• Class best, low teacher turnover of 5%
• ROI fee structure
• Integrated nursery slipstream
• Dedicated Slipstream to the ICSE Ambassador School Dubai with mooted parallel stream International Baccalaureate options when the school moves to its new campus in September 2018
• Rare, and richly deserved, "Very Good" overall school status from the KHDA - with Outstanding features
• Proven capacity for improvement
• Outstanding and inspirational school leadership
• Whole child educational framework with exceptional strength in nurturing and appreciation for global and local cultural context
• Strong investment in resources
• Committed, investing school ownership
• Happy, cared-for children
• Dedicated, independent pre-schooling protecting children from growing up too fast - and a clear focus on this specialized phase of education

Weaknesses

• The school has some way to go to secure Outstanding school status - but on current and historical performance we would expect it to gain this within two years

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

• The Ambassador School bravely re-writes the orthodoxy that states an Indian education depends on learning by rote. Instead we have a school that encourages individual child voices to experiment, investigate, question, explore and, in so doing, develop a love of learning for its own sake, not because it is imposed. The Ambassador Kindergarten is happy, very high performing school that, in our view, deserves shortlisting by parents seeking an ICSSE curriculum pre-school for their children. The fees offer exceptional value to boot. The Ambassador Kindergarten is a school that offers academic and whole child development at a very high level. Highly recommended.

A
Our Rating
A-
User Rating
You have rated this
Is this school on your shortlist?
Top of shortlist
36%
In my Top 5
9%
Shortlisted
27%
A possibility
27%
Pass
0%
No way
0%

February 2018 – The Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery KHDA “Very Good” rating and first SchoolsCompared.com review exclusive verdict

“I believe that education is more than imparting knowledge.

It is about building character, empowering each individual child to be an enthusiastic life-long learner and enlightening the great minds of our future generation.

Every individual child has the potential to contribute to society. All our children need to be nurtured in order for them to blossom.

A supportive family, combined with a stimulating learning environment, is essential for children to grow and establish his or her place in the world.

The curriculum in our schools is designed with the understanding that every child matters.”

Hukumat Kalwani, Founder and Chairman, Ambassador Schools

“At Ambassador Kindergarten, we recognize and respect each and every child’s unique gifts and challenges, and try our best to cater to their individual needs.

Every child’s achievements are celebrated – and challenges are viewed as opportunities.

We make a sincere attempt to create a positive environment where learning comes from experiences and creativity is embedded in their routine. We invest in vocabulary enrichment and the “real life” application of knowledge is a regular feature in our teaching.

Our little learners are given ample opportunities to think, explore, experiment, investigate and, most importantly, to question.

All these will, eventually, lead to the holistic development of each and every child at my school.”

Rashmi Nagendra, Principal, Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery

 

Background and location

The Ambassador Kindergarten educates 323 boys and girls between the ages of four and five years in Mankhool Dubai on a 35,000 Square feet campus located in Mankhool/Burr Dubai with a catchment extending to Zabeel Park and Karama.

Map showing directions to and the location of the Ambassador Nursery and Kindergarten in Dubai

The Ambassador Kindergarten provides slipstream KG provision to the ICSE Indian Curriculum Ambassador School Dubai and has its own slipstream nursery offering pre-K education to very young children between two and four years on the same site. The Ambassador School Dubai is reviewed here. The Ambassador school, in 2017-18, was the only school in the Indian and Pakistani schools sector to achieve and upgrading to KHDA “Very Good” school status and now stands as the only dedicated Kindergarten in this sector with Very Good school status – and is in the company of only 5 other schools in this sector to be awarded the coveted KHDA “Very Good” or “Outstanding” school status.  These schools are:

  • GEMS Modern Academy, rated KHDA “Outstanding”, reviewed here
  • The Indian High School, rated KHDA “Very Good”, reviewed here
  • GEMS Our Own English High School, rated KHDA “Very Good”,reviewed here
  • The Millennium School, rated KHDA “Very Good”,reviewed here

 

KHDA Inspection 2017

Children at the Ambassador Kindergarten in Dubai learning through water play

The Ambassador Kindergarten secured its first KHDA “Very Good” school rating in 2017-18 after five years of inspections, rising from a KHDA “Acceptable” rating for two years between 2013-14 and 2014-15 and “Good” school accreditation between 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The KHDA identified the core strengths of the Ambassador Kidergarten in its:

  • caring ethos and positive relationships, ensuring that children become confident learners with high levels of self-esteem
  • securing of the attainment and progress of children in English, Mathematics and Science to a Very Good standard
  • successful creation of a culture of learning that allows for experimentation, inquiry and investigation
  • Very Good school Governance and very strong partnerships with parents
  • bringing out the best in all children in their personal and social development – an identified “strength of the school.”

The School performs at an Outstanding school level in the ways it brings Emirati and broader Arabic and Islamic culture to life for children, together with its inspiring in them an appreciation of the local context of their study and the global context to education. This is an area that is particularly difficult for non-Arabic schools to score highly in and, we believe, the Ambassador Kindergarten desrves particular credit for its innovating curriculum in this area.

 

Curriculum

“The addition of sensory activities has enhanced children’s confidence and self-reliance along with their cognitive skills.”

KHDA Inspection, Ambassador Kindergarten, 2017-18

 

The school follows a pre-ICSE curriculum. Whilst subject to considerable debate, many argue the Indian ICSE curriculum evolves to be significantly more demanding on children than its CBSE counterpart and the importance of establishing strong academic and cross curricular linkages when children are KG and earlier phases is even more pressing. The Ambassador School it should be noted is, with GEMS Modern Academy, the only school option for parents seeking ICSE curriculum schooling in Dubai.

The school curriculum draws on a blend of Early Years approaches drawn from Reggio Emilia (for its high level of parental engagement and holistic approach to child-centred learning), Curriculum Guide here, British EYFS (for its strengths in on-going assessment), curriculum Guide here and the best of the holistic approaches found in tradition Indian Pre-K schooling.  Investment in sensory infrastructure and teaching began in 2017-18 with outstanding impacts.

Sensory facilities at the Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery in Dubai

Other areas woven into the core STEAM academic curriculum include a (fabulous) Yoga Programme; languages; Music; Dance; an extensive Trips and Excursion programme; and a defined emphasis on life-skills and moral education (rare at this age). Academicallt stand-out is the way the school forges cross-curricular transfer of knowledge between Mathematics and Science. The cross-curricular approach, however, is evident across the subject spectrum. This is telling given the ambitions of its sister slipstream Ambassador school to develop dual stream ICSE and International Baccalaureate provision, the latter defined by this sort of macro approach to pulling in, and relating between, learning from across the subject spectrum to answer and solve fundamental problems (often defined by children themselves.)

 

Facilities and Resources

Facilities at the Ambassador Kindergarten include 24 classrooms, some specially equipped and resourced sensory themed classrooms with a focus on the imagination and development of motoring skills; dedicated Dance Room; separate Book, Stationary and Uniform stores; a Music Studio;  Yoga Room; “Rumpus” Room ( an indoor play area with focused on physical activities); fabulous library; an Atelier Room for Art; Clinic; (warm Recepetion area; multiple (rubber-floored) shaded areas for break-out and play; and Splash Pool. All classrooms have washroom facilities, an interactive white board and “Light Table” and the safety of children is ensured through on-site CCTV.

Whilst the KHDA note a teacher:child ratio of 1:16, in practice the Ambassador School aims, in terms of the attention each child receives, to ensure that there is a 1:8 ratio with one class teacher, 1 Assistant teacher and one dedicated nanny per class/activity.

 

Transparency and School Communications

Happy children at the Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery in Dubai

We rate the transparency and quality of school information Outstanding. Its Facebook page is particularly impressive in celebrating children and bringing the Ambassador Kindergarten to life for parents. School transparency is equally impressive and, on the basis of our audit, in line with the best school in Dubai at this phase of education. School information presented on the web site again equals the best of any school in the Indian sector in Dubai, with information presented with exceptional clarity – but also inspirationally.

We recommend reading the introduction to the school by the Principal, Rashmi Nagendra, which puts to shame the introductions of many other Principals in its thoughtfulness, originality and perceptiveness. Mrs Rashmi Nagendra has an exceptionally good reputation within Dubai earned both at Ambassador Kindergarten and her previous role as Head of KG at JSS International School (reviewed here), where many credit her with playing a critical role in securing a seemingly impossible “Good” rating for the school. She is known for her progressive conviction that children learn from experience not learning by rote from books, a critique often thrown at Indian curriculum schools that simply does not apply at Ambassador Kindergarten. Our view, reflected in independent feedback from parents and teachers, is that she is an extremely impressive school Principal.

 

Fees and value

Photograph of children at the Ambassador Kindergarten and Nursery in Dubai engaged in art-based learning to develop creativity and fine motoring skills

Fees for KG1 to KG2 run between AED 18,630 and AED 20,700. This, however, tells you only so much. Where the value on offer here becomes clearer is looking at these fees in the context of later slipstream fees at The Ambassador School. These run from AED 20,695 in Grade 1 to just AED 41,440 in Grade 12. Even adding in the compulsory extra STEM fee payable by parents for each child of AED 1260 between Grades 1 and 8 in the skipstream school, the value offer is, in our view, very high. This fee level only just rises above the value fee segment into mid-tier territory. It is also worth recognizing that the Ambassador Schools  also offer Nursery slipstream provision prior to KG with fees running in N1 to N2 between AED 18,100 and 18,600 (on the same site as the Kindergarten).

If, as we expect, these fees are carried over into the the main school’s new campus, with its promise of parallel stream ICSE and International Baccalaureate provision, Ambassador School provision as a whole will compete for some of the best value fees in the Emirates – particularly if it can push later school provision to KHDA “Very Good” or “Outstanding” status – neither impossible given the proven capacity of the schools to improve – and the clear (and creditable) investment of the owners.

 

FEE STRUCTURE AMBASSADOR NURSERY
TUITION FEE FOR ACADEMIC YEAR 2018 – 2019
TERM FEE NURSERY 1 NURSERY 2
TERM I (April to June) 5,430 5,580
TERM II (September to December) 7,240 7,440
TERM III (January to March) 5,430 5,580
TOTAL TUITION FEE* 18,100 18,600

 

FEE STRUCTURE AMBASSADOR KINDERGARTEN
TUITION FEE FOR ACADEMIC YEAR 2018 – 2019
TERM FEE KINDERGARTEN 1 KINDERGARTEN 2
TERM I (April to June) 5,590 6,210
TERM II (September to December) 7,450 8,280
TERM III (January to March) 5,590 6,210
TOTAL TUITION FEE* 18,630 20,700
KHDA APPROVED TUITION FEE FOR ACADEMIC YEAR 2017-18 26,264 26,264

 

Parents should note that the KHDA do not audit Pre-K provsion for younger children and should not worry that the nursery is not referenced in the KHDA inspection.

 

Bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com view 2018-19

A child at the Ambassador Kindergarten in Dubai celebrating his achievements in reading

The Ambassador Kindergarten (and Nursery) is a fabulous school going from strength to strength. With outstanding school leadership, a culture of care and teaching innovation, genuine child-centred learning, investment in facilities (including, this year, sensory play) – and exceptionally good feedback from parents and teachers, it’s very hard to find fault. But the bigger picture here is a school focused, at this critical stage in education, of building all the foundations the children will need to move onto later schooling at the ICSE curriculum Ambassador School slipstream. The KHDA does not award Very Good school status lightly and this year’s award is an exceptional achievement that parents, teachers, school leadership and owners deserve to celebrate. The future is bright too – the owners have shown themselves willing to invest to deliver the very best for children under their care. With a potential IB/ICSE parallel curriculum school slipstream in sight, there is so much to recommend. It is so telling that teacher turnover, running at 5%, is competing for the lowest in Dubai. The Ambassador Kindergarten is clearly a school that engages all its stakeholders in what matters most – its children. Highly recommended.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers from our sister site WhichSchoolAdvisor.

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

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