With maternity leave in the UAE limited to 45 days, nursery is a common day-care solution for families. There are over 130 nurseries in Dubai, many of which follow the highly rated British Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework which incorporates methods from Montessori. Other curriculums are available so make sure to check.
Charging up to AED 50,000 a year, nursery education doesn’t come cheap, so make sure you get the most for your money. Consider the starting age (some nurseries will accept babies from 6 months old, and some from just 45 days old), how flexible they are with timings and how much they charge for out-of-hours care. You’ll also want to find out the teacher-to-child ration, how they’ll incorporate your child’s routine and nap times, and what out of term cover they provide. Location is crucial – the closer to your home or place of work, the easier it is for you when it comes to navigating peak time traffic.
The main factors affecting cost are:
- Whether meals are included in the package
- How low the teacher to child ratio is
Most nurseries will have a primary language they focus on, with English the most widely spoken, and some will have extra activities like a swimming pool and outdoor play areas. Waiting lists, although not as long as for school places, do exist, so adding your name to the list up to a year in advance is advised. There will be a registration fee, generally between AED 500 and AED 1,000, and some will ask for a medical fee.