Choosing the ideal nursery

We spoke with Shamim Kassibawi, founder and CEO of Play:Date app, about what to consider when selecting the right nursery for your child.

Finding your little one’s new home away from home is no easy task for any parent. The process of finding the ideal nursery can be overwhelming, due to the abundance of options and factors, and the confusion they bring. As a working mother, Shamim Kassibawi is aware of the hurdles parents face, which is why she has shared the five invaluable tips that she has learned along the way, with the hope of assisting other parents in their own quest.


Venturing into the big world alone can be a daunting experience for both parents and their little ones. As we embarked on this journey, our primary concern was ensuring proximity to our home, allowing us to swiftly respond whenever our child needed us. Does this apply to you?


Discovering accredited institutions catering to children under six may present challenges, but I was determined to conduct thorough research, leaving no stone unturned. Our preference leaned towards an International Baccalaureate (IB) program, as we believe in its global recognition and the ease of transition it offers, should the need arise. What learning styles appeal to you?


We wanted our little one to embrace not only our mother tongue, Arabic, but also English and French. While it may seem like a tall order, we remained confident that we could fulfil this aspiration in none other than Dubai! What languages are important to your family?


Having spent most of my life in New Zealand, I really wanted the outdoor option, along with an eco-conscious early childhood learning experience, meaning that the environment would be inspired by nature wherever possible. Is this something you feel strongly about?


Anticipating the emotional rollercoaster during the initial weeks, I prioritised selecting a nursery that would provide understanding and support, both for me and my little one, as we navigated this transitional period. It was crucial for me to find a nurturing environment that would help with the preliminary challenges and adjustments. Is this a big consideration for you and your child?


We ultimately chose the Redwood Center of Excellence, an early childhood learning centre nestled in Al Barsha 2, which exceeded our expectations on all fronts. Welcoming children aged 45 days to 6 years old, the centre recognises the immense importance of the first five years in a child’s life, as supported by modern neurological research. Parents have described it as a “mini university,” offering a unique teaching approach that combines best practices from Montessori, Reggio Emilia, STEM and the arts.

During this process, we also discovered how important it is to get genuine feedback from other parents. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask others about their experiences as this will help you get a realistic picture of life at different nurseries. There is no right or wrong choice, only the one that works for your household and your child’s unique personality, and meets all your most important needs.


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