Mahari has completed her first term at Starfish Lane Kids Nursery and I wanted to share with you my impression so far.
Why is nursery important? Well without getting too deep into the science behind sending your little one to nursery I can at least cover why I think it’s important. Firstly it helps their social interaction skills with others (not just siblings), learning to share, waiting their turn etc. Secondly, it helps to develop their communication and language skills as they interact with others. And thirdly it keeps them busy! There is certainly way more to it, but for me these are the main reason why I and lots of other mums I’ve spoken to send their little ones to nursery, whether they are SAHMs or working mamas like me.
We decided to send Mahari to Starfish Lane Kids Nursery (branch 4) in Ain Khalid. I knew that they were highly reputable and knew a few other mums who had sent their little ones and said they loved their time there. They follow the Australian curriculum for Early Years which is similar to the British EYFS curriculum and has a focus on learning through play. This was very important to me as having learnt a lot from friends and colleagues who work in the Early Years and Foundation Stage in school, and through my own experience as a teacher, I know just how important the ‘play’ element is. At this early stage it’s not about learning in the same way you would in secondary school. For children to learn and understand, they need to be engaged and have real, exciting experiences. This was something I felt Starfish would offer and decided to enrol Mimi for a September start.
To put it plainly she loves it! I was very apprehensive at first because she can be quite shy around new people and I just wasn’t sure how she’d adjust, but she settled in so quickly I was so impressed. I attribute her quick adjustment to two things: she’s having lots of fun and enjoying herself, and kind caring staff means that she feels safe and secure and welcome.
It didn’t take long before she would start to tell me her teachers names and talk about her classmates. This really alleviated my anxiety about her transition and how she would cope. I also noticed that she started to sleep much better and put this down to the fact that she was busy all day. The children have a wide variety of activities to stimulate them and every few days pictures are uploaded onto the app used by the nursery so that parents can see. Mahari enjoys the many different craft activities they do and story time in the library. There are also different themed days and each week the different classes bring in a different fruit that they can explore and enjoy (this is where her new-found love for melon came from).
All of these wonderful activities that Mahari enjoys wouldn’t be possible without the quality trained staff. The activities she participates in are well planned and varied. I know through my own teaching practice that this can only be achieved by really knowing and understanding your students as a cohort and as individuals and having a solid understanding of your subject or teaching philosophy.
In addition, Mahari’s teachers have always been very thorough when responding to any of my questions and really take time to explain things to me (I’m that annoying parent who always wants to know things). I’ve always found them to be friendly and more importantly I see daily the great rapport and relationship they have built with Mahari. She’s not just another pupil in another class- they know her, she’s greeted by everyone from security, to management and other assisstants and teachers from other classes. I’d call that exceptional!
Another area I have found the staff really supportive of is our use of cloth nappies. We made the switch from disposables a year ago because I wanted to reduce how much we were polluting the environment. The majority of nurseries would not accept cloth nappies but Starfish said yes and I was over the moon (it was another major factor in my decision). We showed her teachers how to use them and they picked it up quickly and were happy to persevere with it. This made me feel so good because so often whenever I had mentioned cloth nappies anywhere I had been faced with negativity but Starfish didn’t bat an eyelid and just said yep sure no problem. It meant they respect my ideals and values as a parent.
Light, airy and spacious. That’s how I would describe Starfish 4. I loved that it wasn’t over cluttered, which can of course be overwhelming for little developing brains. Bright airy rooms with plenty of natural light make for comfortable and also beautiful learning spaces. The classrooms have quality furnishings that are well maintained and cleaned (Mahari loves the slide in the reception area. I think all the kids do actually).
Outside is a spacious, shaded play area that offers ample opportunity for developing gross motor skills such as running jumping and climbing. I love that the equipment allows for an adult presence too. Mahari loves playing on the trikes outdoors and because they seem to be a hot favourite with her classmates too it’s really taught her how to share.
In addition to all the standard facilities such as a nurses office, there are also some special extras. The Cove is a room used for physical activity including yoga and playball also another favourite of Mahari’s. There’s a dedicated library which I love! Having dedicated reading time and space for children is a must and the library space was definitely another tick on my checklist. Finally, the sleep room with separate sleep spaces and total darkness for good quality rest. A separate space for sleeping is really a non-negotiable for me as it’s still so important for the little ones at this stage. Without it they become cranky and troublesome, so a room away from distractions is key.
Most importantly it’s exceptionally clean! This is my absolute must-have requirement. This is how we prevent germs from spreading and let me tell you we’ve been on a few outings to soft play where hygiene standards were poor! I was so relieved then to see how immaculate Starfish Lane was!
Despite my initial apprehension at sending Mahari to nursery, I realise it was the right choice and it was the right choice because I chose the best nursery in Doha.
If you would like to know any more or have any questions feel free to message me. Remember to follow my Instagram page where you can see updates of Mahari and Mleya and see some examples of the activities Mahari engages in at Starfish Lane Kids Nursery.