British Orchard Nursery (BON), the UAE's most awarded preschool chain, announced the launch of the nation's first Emotional Intelligence (EQ) curriculum in Early Years settings on the occasion of World Children’s Day last week. This innovative curriculum, grounded in extensive research, is designed to foster emotional intelligence among nursery children and will be implemented across all 30 branches in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi, as well as in the UK.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is a critical skill encompassing the ability to perceive, interpret, demonstrate, control, evaluate, and use emotions to communicate effectively and constructively.
Shivali Gandhi has pioneered the EQ curriculum as the Board Member of British Orchard Group & Founder of BeeFull, an enterprise that has launched UAE’s 1st EQ program in schools for children of all ages.
Shivali stated, ‘BeeFull exists to revolutionise the education sector by introducing mindfulness, EQ and life skills training. The EQ in the Early Years Curriculum is based on my Kings College London neuroscience master’s thesis given that research indicates 0-6 is a critical period for a child’s brain development.
‘At BeeFull we are radically redefining parent perspectives through parenting coaching as most people aren’t aware that a child’s attachment style, which affects all their future relationships, gets formed by the age of 1 & child’s self-esteem and self-regulation develops by age 4.
‘BeeFull has proactively trained educators and established calm corners in schools with the latest well-being tools such as the 10-finger gratitude method from Oxford Mindfulness Foundation and a new compassion nursery rhyme based on brain studies. Our purpose is to provide the best possible foundation for future generations.’
Recognizing the pivotal role parents play in a child's success, the nursery chain will form a parent council for ongoing curriculum review and evaluation, coupled with parent training sessions by BeeFull.
Dr. Vandana Gandhi, Founder and CEO of British Orchard Nursery Chain, expressed pride in this milestone achievement, stating, “We are immensely proud to be the first preschool in the UAE to launch this transformative EQ curriculum, spearheading a new movement. I am proud of my research and development team members. Emotional literacy is crucial for children, enabling them to understand, manage, and express their emotions in a healthy way. Worldwide studies establish that emotionally literate children achieve greater academic success, cope well with stress, and form healthier relationships."
‘Children learn about sustainability, recycling, plant and animal welfare, as well as the concepts of wastage and resource sharing. Each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) plays a part in the unique project learning maps, ensuring that BON's 'Green Curriculum' is integrated at all levels,’ added Dr. Gandhi.
The curriculum launch was followed by a series of engaging EQ parent-child bonding activities conducted across all branches, fostering meaningful connections and shared experiences.
In alignment with UAE’s Plan 2030, which prioritizes wellbeing and education, British Orchard Nursery’s program cultivates emotional literacy to enhance creativity, problem-solving skills, resilience, and a growth mindset in young learners.
Lauding the initiative, Najla Abdulwahab AlKhayat, Senior Human Resource Manager, Department of Finance, Dewaan, where BON runs their nursery, said, ‘Congratulations to British Orchard Nursery on the launch of the EQ curriculum in early years! This innovative initiative reflects your commitment to nurturing not just academic excellence but also the emotional intelligence of young minds. Wishing you continued success in fostering well-rounded development for the little ones in your care.’
Mouza Alnuaimi, Professional Counselling Specialist at MoHRe (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation) and a parent of British Orchard Nursery expressed her gratitude stating, ‘I highly commend the EQ program for its invaluable emphasis on identifying children's emotions and fostering emotional intelligence.
As a mother, I have realized the significance of acknowledging and addressing my child's feelings, a dimension often overlooked amidst concerns of learning, health, and appearance. Personally, I've engaged with my daughter in discussions about her emotions, significantly boosting her self-confidence. My heartfelt appreciation goes to the program for its transformative impact.’
‘I gained a lot from the lecture, and I'm pleased that this policy will be implemented in the nursery. I believe that this new addition to the EYFS curriculum will positively impact both us and our children,’ said Shaikha Alblooshi, Senior Support Officer at Dubai Municipality.
This curriculum integrates EQ into the daily classroom by helping children develop emotional vocabulary and coping skills, ensuring a smooth transition to formal education. By instilling skills like positive self-talk, calming exercises, gratitude, and mindfulness British Orchard Nursery is pioneering the path to raising emotionally intelligent and resilient individuals.