I have spent many years interacting with Education on various different levels both professionally and personally, however, nothing has challenged me like finding the right setting for my own children.
As a parent I set out on my ‘school’ journey well in advance of my now 3 year old needing to enter the system, searching for somewhere that met my criteria which with each place I visited grew and grew.
I wanted Faris to be part of a community, to grow and develop from interactions with children of various different cultures and backgrounds, people of different ages and interests, and also to understand how to interact within various environments and with children of different ages. I wanted him to learn about boundries and rules yet have the confidence and stability to be creative and feel a freedom to learn without too many constraints. I wanted somewhere he could explore and investigate his world inside and outside without timescales and walls that prevented or blocked his flow and I wanted somewhere that would help him to establish appropriate working boundries in a way that made him feel encouraged not small.
I don’t ask for much really!
The day I first visited IDEA I fell in love with the space, airy, light, BIG! I knew at once that this was a learning centre where children would have choices, that they would have the room to enquire without a timetable that told them maths questions needed to be asked between 10 and 11am, and creativity time would be at 9am on Thursday mornings. This was a learning centre designed to allow children to be creative when they FELT creative, to do maths regardless of time or day and to use whatever toys they found interesting to do that maths with, Faris probably chooses cars every day but if he likes to count cars, I am happy he has that choice.
The passion felt by speaking to the staff allowed me to trust that Faris would grow to love learning, passion is infectious! They knew their stuff, they met my challenging questions and they calmed my fears as a mother letting her son into the care of strangers for the first time, they spoke to him and most importantly they took time to listen. They engaged him from the first moment.
The centre is becoming a multi cultural hub and IDEA have taken the opportunities to learn from each other, I was so excited to be part of the centre, to give back, help out, have my voice heard. I joined the PTFA at the first opportunity and have really enjoyed being part of the team and also helping to welcome the larger community through the doors be that for free play mornings or to help us celebrate National day, its great that people want to share. That’s something I know Faris is picking up from his role models here.
Speaking of National Day my final priority was Literacy, my son is Emirati, I am a Primary Years Education Professional, Literacy is SO important to me, not just English, and not limited to reading, but emotional litearcy, billingual literacy, a passion for reading for pleasure and the fluency with which to expres ones self. IDEA has embraced His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashids Year of Literacy and implemented the core thread of the initiative into everything they do. I have a child who can’t sleep without reading, who loves to help his Arabic teacher teach his class, who is confident to discuss his inner most fears and who asks the 500 questions an average 3 year old asks in a day before he has finished his breakfast. They have imbedded a passion that goes beyond his Early Learning years and will be ingrained within his character. For this I am most grateful.
‘Parent of Faris- Ladybugs Class’