FS1, Pre KG, the Early Years, Foundation – call it what you will, if you are a parent to a toddler, there’s a fair chance you’ve been mulling over the big question of whether your child is ready for ‘Big School.’

Dubai is fairly unique in the fact that many schools open their doors to children as young as three.  For some parents, it’s confusing to work out when their child needs to start school and the idea of sending their child into a school environment at such an early age can appear a bit daunting.

The debate becomes more complicated as the apparent ‘competition’ to secure a place in the Early Years at ‘big school’ can be intense if there are only limited spaces available at the school.  Some schools strongly advise you to join in FS1 if you want to secure your child’s place for further years up the school. There are so many schools and nurseries in Dubai that it can appear a bit of a minefield and this can put parents under enormous pressure to make the right decision for their child. This really is the crux of the problem, so what’s the answer?

If it’s your first child, the nurturing environment of a nursery may be the best option to ease both you and your toddler into the world of education. Nurseries are known to be cosy, caring and generally smaller than schools. This feeling of comfort and security is paramount for any parent and that’s generally why toddlers end up settling in well and are able to cope with their surroundings there. On top of this, normally there’s no sense of academic competitiveness and children are encouraged to develop at their own pace.

Nursery schools do, however, offer various different educational approaches that are dedicated to this particular age group, and popular choices that you may have heard of include Montessori or the Reggio Emilia approach. If you aren’t sure of what these are exactly, then read on.

For working parents, nurseries can be somewhat of a blessing as they offer much more flexibility than most schools, typically offering longer hours and a choice of days too. Whilst starting ‘big school’ at the age of three can seem like a very big commitment to formal education, rest assured that schools do take every care to ensure their youngest pupils are looked after age appropriately.

For some families it makes absolute sense to start their youngest off in FS1, especially if their older siblings are already at that school. Some children, especially those who have been in a nursery environment before the age of two, could benefit from a change of environment, as they may have outgrown their surroundings and be ready for a new challenge.

What’s important to note is that children develop at different times and at very different paces, and some are just readier than others for that big leap. In mummy circles, it’s easy to get hooked on which child’s achieving what and when, and who’s going to be at nursery and who’s going to FS1, but comparisons shouldn’t be made as there is no right or wrong.

The best thing to do is to visit the nurseries or schools that take your interest and to ask yourself if you can imagine them in the surroundings of this nursery or school? Do you feel they’re ready for big school? Will they be treated age appropriately there? Ultimately, follow your instinct and try not to feel under pressure from anyone.

To help you make the right decisions for your family, British Mums are hosting a super informative event held on the fabulous Terrace of the Al Samar Lounge, at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam resort in conjunction with Holborn Assets and Gabbitas Education, who work very closely together to provide information on the best educational opportunities.

Education planning, just like any sort of Financial Planning is preparing for our future and of course, the future for our children. In both cases, financial and education consultants can help us with wade through the tons of information that’s out there to make informed decisions for our children.

This is a free event for British Mums members and there’s absolutely no commitment required. Put simply, this event will be a great way to ask all your burning questions to experts Sam Ebbs, a fellow Brit and friendly Financial Consultant at Holborn Assets who is also a Dad to 3 young children. Sam knows only too well how many decisions we as parents have to address living in Dubai.



Joining him will be Sophie Oakes, a fellow British mum and specialist Early Years Consultant at Gabbitas Education. Together they will explore all the options of education in Dubai for you and answer your many burning questions.

So if you want to know more about the different curriculae available and understand what exactly the Montessori or the Reggio Emilia approach is, or the difference between the British Curriculum or PYP, what schools are looking for in the admissions and assessment process or if you have questions about how easy is it to switch curriculae if you end up moving countries, then this event is for you!

When: Monday 16th October 2017 9.30am-12pm
Where: The beautiful terrace of Al Samar Lounge at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam resort.

Complimentary light refreshments will be served and valet parking is available. Click here to RSVP:

To schedule a private consultation with either Gabbitas Education please contact admin@gabbitas.ae or for Holborn Assets please contact Sam Ebbs at sam@holbornassets.com