Featured Principle: Isabelle Amatoury from Kid’s Island Nursery
Isabelle Amatoury, the principle at Kid’s Island Nursery takes centre stage as the Mother, Baby & Child featured principle this September.
Kid’s Island Nursery has been open for over 26 years. How has the physical and educational landscape changed during that period and what are you most proud of?
When Kid’s Island Nursery first opened, Sheikh Zayed Road was a dual highway and we were surrounded by desert. There were very few nursery options for families in Dubai. Twenty six years later, we’re now surrounded by a vibrant city with many Education choices.
My aim when I first started Kid’s Island Nursery was to ensure that my own children were receiving quality education while we were living abroad. I’m most proud of the fact that I could raise my children in a stimulating environment, while following my own dream of creating a home away from home for families within our community.
Kid’s Island & Cocoon Nursery is a family-owned and operated business. How do you feel it affects dynamics within your Nursery?
The nursery has been open for 26 years and my family has grown up with many of our Nursery families. Today, my daughter and I work alongside each other and see our Nursery family as being a part of our extended one. We care about what’s happening to our children and their families and enjoy finding ways to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their Nursery experience.
Brain Gym! What is it and how do you use it within your nursery?
I believe that learning involves the whole body which is why I was so drawn to Brain Gym. It prepares the brain for optimal learning through movement in a series of simple, yet specific exercises. The movements are fun and our children enjoy having the opportunity to move around. The routines have been incorporated into everyday learning to ensure their minds are ready for the learning experience.
Your facilities are designed to inspire the inquiring minds of younger children. What unique facilities have you set up for this purpose?
Many of our families have limited exposure to the outdoors. The increased use of technology is creating generations of children who’ve been denied the opportunity for sensory learning in a natural environment.
We’ve created a nursery environment surrounded by abundant, bright indoor resources, coupled with interactive outdoor facilities and fabulous gardens to provide endless opportunities for tactile, spontaneous learning experiences. Uniquely, these are set up so they can be used by our children throughout the year.
‘Positive’ and ‘Education’ are new buzz words increasingly being used together in the UAE. Tell us about your Positive Behaviour strategy.
As children grow in independence, it’s natural that they learn and explore how to socially interact with adults and their classmates. At times, they may need to be reminded of the boundaries within the classroom.
Positive reframing enables us to gently support children while maintaining their positive self-image. By connecting to our little ones at an emotional level through eye contact, words and tone of voice and maintaining consistency, we ensure that they’re provided with a framework to ensure they can handle similar situations in future.
How have you managed to create a happy learning environment for the children? Do you have any special tricks?
We don’t need to use any special tricks to create an environment that inspires. However, we do allow our love of learning to seep through into all the decisions we make for the Nursery. The beautiful gardens, creative studios and engaging activities complement the progressive curriculum we have in place and offer an experiential environment for our children to learn, while having fun!