stock nursery
Parents in Dubai can choose from 16 different curricula offered by early learning centres. Image used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai : Enrolments at Dubai’s private early childhood centres continue to rise, with a 16 per cent increase in enrolment during the 2023-24 academic year.

According to figures released by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Thursday, 25 new early childhood centres opened in the emirate this year, bringing the total number of centres of 274.

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The centres care for more than 27,000 children, including over 2,500 Emirati children. Early childhood centres in Dubai employ more than 1,700 teachers and 2,500 teaching assistants.

‘Laying the foundation for success’

Aisha Miran, Director-General, KHDA, said: “Early childhood centres play a crucial role in nurturing our children during their formative years. Providing high quality early education is essential to support children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development, laying the foundation for lifelong success. Parents are becoming increasingly aware of their children’s developmental needs and the importance of early childhood education in meeting those needs.”

She added: “The continued growth in enrolment over the past year reflects the dedication of our early childhood centres to delivering top-tier education and the trust that parents place in these centres to offer rich and meaningful learning experiences for their children. Furthermore, results of international assessments consistently show that students who begin their learning journey earlier score higher in mathematics, science, and reading than their peers.

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Diverse choices

The report also highlights the diversity of student demographics and educational offerings in the sector, with 134 centres caring for children from at least 20 different nationalities.

Parents in Dubai can choose from 16 different curricula offered by early learning centres, with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum from the UK being the most widely offered (215 centres), followed by the Montessori curriculum (20 centres), and US curriculum (eight centres).

The main languages of instruction include English, Arabic, French, and Swedish, among others.

The majority of children (69 per cent) enrolled are between two and four years old. Nearly 80 per cent of children attend five days a week.

Parents can use the directory on the KHDA website and mobile app to search for early childhood centres based on location, fees, and other criteria.