The multi-cultural nature of the Emirates’ population can help give the nation’s children a head start, if properly embraced, according to the head of a leading UAE childcare development company.
Badr Al-Olama, chairman of Bidayaat, a child-centric company with a vision to create a learning culture for children of all nationalities, said early childhood exposure to varied cultures has a significant positive impact and been shown to enhance intelligence, creativity and memory.
“If a child is properly guided, multicultural experiences can positively impact the development of creative performance and cognitive processes, as well as enhance their receptiveness for other languages and learning in general,” said Al-Olama noting that early exposure to a second language enhances a child’s overall development.
“Given that the UAE is home to over 150 nationalities, a planned, diverse, early learning environment for pre-schoolers can offer them a head start, be it for children from national families or the many expatriates who call the UAE their home.”
Al Olama shared that Bidayaat is presently offering more than 500 children to various degrees of learning in the Arabic language at the group’s two Kensington Nurseries – in Umm Al Sequim and Dubai Silicon Oasis.
“The Arab culture is one of the oldest in the world and we offer all our children the opportunity to learn about this using Arabic language communication and other activities.”
Al-Olama stressed that while every stage of education is important, it is the early years where learning has been found to have a life-long influence. “The most effective early years' curriculum is one that guides social interaction, communication skills, as well as general learning. The first five years particularly are crucial learning years for the nation’s children,” he said.
Recent research indicates that children offered a well-rounded environment learn to speak at least 2,000 basic words by the time they are four years old, up from around 1,500 words for children who do not experience a structured learning environment.
“The UAE government has placed importance on helping to create a well-educated population with 51% of the total 2013 federal budget being specifically allocated for social spending and 22%, or Dhs 9.6b, allocated to education. This is up 19.2% year on year.
“This sizeable education budget further strengthens the UAE’s Vision 2021 which is geared towards the development of a cohesive, sustainable and prosperous society driven by UAE-nurtured and educated global citizens,” Al-Olama observed.
Al-Olama said that Bidayaat – which began operations earlier this year – is one of the first private sector companies to launch in support of Vision 2021. Bidayaat, which means ‘beginnings’ in Arabic, has already started investing in early years’ education programmes geared to delivering an outstanding experience for children, parents and pre-school educators.
“Children’s’ early years’ experience is critical in determining their ability to maximize life’s potential. It is reported that children who experience a professional early learning programme bring the highest return in productivity in later years,” Al-Olama concluded.
– Bidayaat Childcare Development Co.
Images courtesy of Bidayaat
UAE-based Bidayaat is a childcare development company offering hands-on specialist management support to organizations, parents and pre-school educators engaged in the early education and holistic well-being of children. Bidayaat fuses leading-edge curricula, age-appropriate learning methodologies, a skilled specialist teaching-consultancy team and premium partners, alongside active community participation. It is the region’s first private sector initiative that is childcare-centric, developing a range of sectors including pre-schools, training, healthcare and edutainment.