Dr Vandana Gandhi, founder, British Orchard Nursery Image Credit: Supplied

With the new term in full swing, could you brief us on British Orchard Nursery (BON), its infrastructure and curriculum?

BON is the only nursery chain with national and international awards. It has the largest nursery space within the community and is ISO 9001-, 14001- and OHSAS 18001- certified to Quality, Environment, and Health and Safety. Every classroom has been set up keeping the seven areas of development in mind as well as age appropriateness. BON follows British UK EYFS curriculum, which has a dedicated department where planning and assessment are discussed and implemented.

Teachers plan daily activities based on a three-year rolling plan to ensure that every child achieves 680 assessment goals, which are checked through an award-winning baseline assessment book. BON has introduced the Ages and Stages questionnaire ASQ3 that is used as a developmental screening tool for every child at BON.
 
With steady growth in the early childhood education sector in the UAE, how do you maintain an edge over other nurseries?

BON is known to be a strong brand in the preschool segment. Within a span of 12 years, BON has spread to 20 locations in the UAE and UK. It has a strong and robust early years curriculum based on the UK national curriculum and incorporates the best practices from around the world. BON has its nursery at Oxford, UK and it ensures the highest quality of childcare and curriculum is brought to the UAE by experts. BON takes pride in linking planning to assessment of every child so that each child can achieve the 680 objectives during the three years at the nursery. This ensures 100 per cent child development year-on-year and makes the nursery curriculum and quality of care the best in the region.
 
What are the key trends transforming preschool education in the UAE? How do teachers at British Orchard stay up to date with new trends?

BON takes pride in being a nursery that also has a KHDA- and UK-certified teacher training centre that is recognised worldwide. We not only give in-house training but also encourage our staff to take any 10-hour CPD courses to enhance their career in education. To win an award, one of the key criteria is the quality and expertise of our teachers.
 
What initiatives have you undertaken to make learning more interactive?

BON is trilingual and offers robust English, Arabic and French curricula and has just started with the Chinese language. BON has after-school activities, field trips, football, ballet, yoga and multicultural festivals.
We also engage our children with weekly topics and break them down to make them more fun and interesting. BON also offers an extensive gym curriculum in line with the British Gymnastic Association — not common in all nurseries — thereby prioritising physical development.

What are BON’s plans for the future?

BON welcomes various new upcoming projects. We are looking at more franchising opportunities for our Nursery and Teacher Training Centre, international partnerships and openings of new nurseries worldwide.

We are also introducing parenting programmes and talk shows on various topics to support the community, BON parents and employees. In the past years, we have taken part in various sustainability and CSR-related activities and we aim to continue to participate in all our upcoming events.

BON is also looking forward to stepping into the primary and secondary education in the near future.