Investing in Early Childhood Development

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1 Investing in Early Childhood Development

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3 The Aga Khan Education Services, a philanthropic agency, will draw on its own extensive experience in many parts of the world to offer broad, holistic, early childhood education on a secular and non-denominational basis at the highest standards of excellence. The objective is to have a curriculum of proven calibre, taught by competent teachers, to help lay strong foundations for a child s continuing educational growth. His Highness The Aga Khan The Ismaili Centre, Dubai, 2003

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5 Overview of the Aga Khan Early Learning Centre Dubai The Aga Khan Early Learning Centre (AKELC) reflects a commitment made by the Aga Khan Development Network to early childhood development. The Centre provides a broad, holistic early childhood education that follows the highest international standards of excellence. The Centre s curriculum, taught by competent early childhood educators, is designed to help lay strong foundations for a child s continuing education and growth. As a secular, non-denominational institution, its programmes are offered to members of all communities, reflecting the strong belief held by the Aga Khan Development Network in the positive value of pluralism and diversity. The early years are the most critical in a child s development

6 The Nursery Programme Active Learning The AKELC nursery programme for children aged two to four years is based on the principle that the early years are the most critical in a child s development. Scientific research has highlighted that 85 percent of brain development occurs during the first five years after birth. Every aspect of the programme is designed to support and encourage active learning. Young children learn best when they are actively engaging with people, materials, events and ideas. They learn when they have objects they can manipulate, have opportunities to explore and experiment and when they can learn through trial and error within a safe and stimulating environment. The Learning Environment The indoor classrooms and outdoor spaces are set up to promote active learning and encourage different types of play. Each room is divided into areas that support specific types of activity and learning. Materials are logically grouped and clearly labelled so that children have independent access to them. The materials are chosen to reflect children s natural interests and the diversity of experiences in the lives of their families. The AKELC programme is designed to encourage active learning

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9 The Daily Routine A predictable yet flexible daily routine responds to and encourages children s natural curiosity and desire to learn. It provides consistency for both children and adults and helps children gain a sense of security and confidence enabling them to anticipate and engage with the different parts of the programme. Children are encouraged to develop their planning, implementing, decision-making, problem solving and reflecting skills through the plan-do-review cycle of the daily programme. They also have the opportunity for individual, small and large group interactions through adultinitiated activities. Bilingual programme The programme is offered in both Arabic and English to support children s integration and appreciation of local culture while preparing them for full participation in global society. Young children learn through direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events and ideas

10 The Aga Khan Early Learning Centre Educators The Centre s early childhood educators are qualified and trained in working with young children to support learning, to build genuine, warm relationships and to respect and value each child s personal and cultural identity. Their knowledge and understanding of developmentally appropriate learning experiences inform and guide their interactions and conversations with children. They plan activities based on children s development stages and interests. The educators know that when adults are responsive, guiding and nurturing, children take more initiative and are more likely to be actively involved and persistent in their activities and learning. The educators are trained to use positive and meaningful interaction that encourages children s learning. The AKELC programme is built around five main curriculum areas: i) approaches to learning; ii) language, literacy and communication; iii) social and emotional development; iv) physical development, well-being and health, and v) arts, maths and sciences. These key learning areas guide the educators in supporting and extending children s development. AKELC educators plan activities based on children s development stages and interests

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13 Parents as Partners As children s first educators, parents are considered to be important partners in the development of positive learning outcomes for their children. The facilities and the programme welcome and include parents in activities such as parenting workshops, toddler sessions and participation in classroom activities. The way adults interact with children plays a very important role in children s learning and development

14 AKELC Facilities The AKELC occupies a unique architectural space which reflects the culture of the region. The custombuilt Centre consists of spacious classrooms built using high quality natural materials. The large windows create continuity between the inside area and outside gardens and provides an abundance of natural light. The indoor learning spaces are set up to promote active learning and encourage different types of play. The welcoming space allows children to see and move easily through all the areas of the room. Interest areas are organized around specific kinds of play such as construction, art, music, reading, water, sand, clay, maths, science and role play. Materials are arranged in a way that allows children to find them independently, then use and return them without assistance. The outdoor area is designed to allow children to explore their environment. A garden with natural plants and rocks, a sand play area, a bicycle trail and a climbing unit encourages the development of children s creativity, imagination and small and large motor skills. Regardless of weather conditions, children have the opportunity to participate in physical activities in an indoor gym specially designed for young children. Additional spaces at the Centre are dedicated to programmes for parents and toddlers, parent meetings and professional development activities for educators from the Centre and the wider early childhood education community. The space and learning materials in the AKELC setting are carefully arranged to promote active learning

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17 Aga Khan Education Services The Aga Khan Early Learning Centre draws on the extensive experience of the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES). This global education system currently operates more than 250 schools and educational programmes that provide quality pre-school, primary, secondary and higher secondary education services to students in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In all of these locations, AKES works to achieve excellence by continually improving its programmes, services and processes. Its mission reflects the belief that access to quality education is perhaps the most important factor in creating a successful future for generations that will have to cope with a rapidly changing environment. The work of the Aga Khan Education Services includes: The continuing pursuit of excellence in educational practice and management in diverse and challenging settings; Relevant curriculum modules Child-centred teaching methods A special emphasis on female education Commitment to ongoing and regular professional development Early experiences have a significant effect on the formation of the brain

18 Admissions Process In order to create the best environment for all the children at the Centre, the AKELC requires children to meet certain age and development criteria for enrolment and admission. The Aga Khan Early Learning Centre accepts children between two and four years of age. Priority is given to siblings of children already at the Centre. Parents are requested to complete an application form to place their child on a waiting list. As places open up, parents are invited to begin the application process. Parents and children are invited to participate in an informal play-based getting to know you activity prior to being offered a place. Application forms can either be downloaded (www.akelcdubai.org) or collected from the Centre. A predictable yet flexible daily routine responds to and encourages children s natural curiosity and desire to learn

19 Ismaili Centre Dubai Map Um Hurair Rd. to Maktoum Bridge Al Qatatyat Rd. Lamcy Plaza Ismaili Centre Dubai, UAE Dubai Park from Garhoud Enoc Building Movenpick Hotel American Hospital Al-Nasr Club Al-Nasr Leisureland Complex Coming from Sheikh Zayed Road/ Jumeirah (i.e. from Novotel, Fairmont, Trade Centre) Take Um Hurair Road leading to Maktoum Bridge Turn Right on Street 9a (Signs towards Lamcy Plaza/American Hospital/Movenpick) Straight onto Al-Nasr Cinema Roundabout Take the first right from Roundabout (onto Street 2) Take the first left onto Street 11a Ismaili Centre Dubai is on your right side Coming from Sharjah, Deira Side of Dubai or Airport Take Garhoud Bridge towards Sheikh Zayed Road Prior to Lamcy Plaza, take the service lane for petrol station and ENOC building Take exit after ENOC building and go straight until the Al-Nasr Cinema Roundabout Take the third right on the Roundabout (onto Street 2) Take the first left onto Street 11a Ismaili Centre Dubai is on your right side

20 For more information please contact us at: Aga Khan Early Learning Centre P.O. Box Dubai, U.A.E Tel: Fax:

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