Being the oldest nursery school in Dubai established in 1994, First Step Nursery Montessori (FSNM) is a state-of-the-art nursery school. The school follows the British National early Years guidelines which already have integrated the Montessori way of learning. The First Steps Nursery Montessori School believes that the first 5 years of a child’s life are the most significant years and pledge to profane a good foundation for a secure and successful life.
The nursery is conveniently located in the heart of Jumeirah, right opposite the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. It is easily accessible and situated in a specially designed villa which gives it a homely and comfortable feel. The schools infrastructure includes a fully equipped clinic, learning style diagnostic/assessment program, vibrant classrooms, indoor and outdoor play area with equipment, nap room for kids, sensory room, splash pool & water play, books and toys library, music & movement, professional kids gym & yoga sessions, equipped kitchen.
Curriculum in lieu of Aim
With the aim to provide the children with environment and opportunities for their overall development, the schools focus on delivering dynamic education practices and philosophy, that will ultimately foster the natural curiosity of each child into a lifelong love for learning, independence and passion for excellence.
Children from 1 to 2 years of age are provided with an environment that aids language acquisition, develops their understanding of self and the world around them. The main academic sessions are dedicated to reading and structured playtime with an adult carefully modeling their expected behavior. Personal development at this stage is also crucial where they need to learn to follow rules and adhere to social manners.
From 2 to 3 years of age, the structure is raised from, into learning independence, making appropriate choices, developing fine and gross age appropriate motor skills. The children are fostered with early literacy, early numeracy, creative expression and learning about the environment. The child’s emotional well-being, personal and physical development are also focused upon along-side as the child ventures into the world of holistic education.
In the foundation years, the children are already equipped with the reading skills and identifying the belongings around them. Literacy Skills and language development, both in English and Arabic, is focused upon. There are also weekly gym and physical development programmes for the child’s health and physical well-being conducted by experts in the field.
Embraces Socio-Emotional Behavior
The school main objective is to surrogate the child’s psychological and emotional intelligence with in-depth knowledge and reasoning in their foundation years. The children are taught how to take pride in their work and actions, eventually developing a positive attitude towards life and its development.
Social responsibility is also introduced during this year The school formulates to increase comfort in social situations, understanding of social rules, what is expected in certain situations, and how to communicate and connect with others. Groups employ speech interventions to encourage in practicing the skills needed to accomplish positive social exchanges that support peer relationships, family interactions, recreation, and academic achievement. These groups are exclusively planned to allow each learner to practice their social communication in an orchestrated environment while focusing on each child’s individual language challenges. These programs are essentially based on peer interaction framework that teaches perspective distinction and develops social cognition.
Flag-holder of the School
First Steps Nursery Montessori (FSNM) combines the utmost care children get from home with a well-structured learning program found in a small school in which individuality and uniqueness are embraced with respect. Monika Agrawal with a degree in MBA and a recently acquired degree in MA (Special and Additional Learning Needs), also a mother of two boys, quit her full time job to raise her two children hands-on approach. She was motivated to fill the gap of early education set-up for determined ones. Keen interest in her children’s education led her to do lots of volunteer work in their school, leading to full-time employment with the school in the SEN (Special Educational Need) department. Having all that time at hand, she researched different ways in which children learn supporting the gifted and talented segment. she took over operations of the nursery a couple of years ago even though this nursery has been operational for over 19 years, The nursery was overtaken simply because of its special needs license. As she puts it “Just to explore what it could be, we went for a visit and it was love at first sight!”
Core Focus on SEN
The school supports education for determined ones from financially challenged families, fulfilling their corporate social responsibility. Special needs are and will always be the core of their existence.
Then there are group interventions that are more productive for kids who are not developing age appropriate social skills. This typically includes kids with Speech Delay, Language Delays, ADHD, Autism & also children with a lot of spare energy (typically called hyper kids). It may include kids with non-verbal learning disabilities, who may have trouble picking up on social cues, like body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. It may also embrace kids with social communication challenges and other forms of learning or behavior issues. Children have a natural ability to express themselves and resolve conflict. So, these groups will incorporate spontaneous or structured play which may include role play, drawing, board games, using the play equipment.
Early detection is the key to intervention and provision, resulting in better progression. The gift of technological advancement assisting in learning for children has helped the schools to detect learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyscalculia with the support of learning aids. There is a wide choice of resources to be used from, which can support children with different levels of intellectual challenges.
Knights of the Castle
The school pride in having the best professionals to support Speech delays and Special Educational Needs Program (SEN). The principles and educational philosophies identified by Maria Montessori continue to underpin the methods used at First Steps Nursery Montessori to produce well-rounded individuals. The EYFS embodies these principles to support the teachers and assistant-teachers as the child’s link to the world. They ignite the curiosity while assisting in learning then step back to allow the child to work, explore, observe and create.
Emphasis on Parents Participation
The school also promotes mutual trust and respect with parents to become effective for the education of the child. Maintaining this trust requires clear continuous communication between staff and parents. It involves parents understanding and applying the same pedagogical approach that the school uses in interactions with their child. The parents are encouraged to start treating their child like mini adults, so the learning enhances instinctively. To develop a mutually supportive relationship, FSNM provides opportunities for parent participation and partnership in multiple ways.
The school also conducts free workshops and coffee mornings to educate new mothers about international expectations of developmental milestones, nutrition, and well-being. She believes that ‘educating a mother is like elevating the quality of life for the entire family’. Apart from that, the school also has an open-door policy for any family looking for suggestions/advice/information about education and well-being related questions for their child in any institution.
The school engages and retains students, families, teaching faculty and staff because of its commitment to diversity and development. The school admits students of any race, color, nationality, and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. We aim to maximize every student’s learning opportunity to be able to adapt, explore on their own, create and contribute to society.
Philosophy of Innocent Curiosity
The school believes in the philosophy of creating a strong foundation of underrated human interaction and unconditional belief rather than one way screen communication. Even though the technological advancements had made easy to teach some learning aids with the help of technology such as YouTube but had also killed the carefree childhood curiosity and independent thought process. Innocent curiosity has been given too much information to process, it has enabled for the children’s brain to respond in a different, non-independent way. Therefore, the school tries to employ the knowledge through face to face contact by the teachers with the children and family members.
The school believes that they have achieved their goals set in their nursery schools with an extent and with a large family of happy parents, the school is set to expand into a primary school with a holistic integrated curriculum. Its vision is to have a school with a conventional learning approach and motivated teaching staff, who will share their philosophy of providing a nurturing and safe environment that conflagrate the physical, emotional, social and academic development of each child.