During the early years of age of a child, the environment plays a vital role in the development of essential skills and social development. Enrolling your child in preschool is not compulsory in Bahrain however, it is necessary to send your child to nursery and kindergarten to qualify for elementary school which is mandatory. The Amiri decree in Bahrain and GCC has guidelines on proper preschooling. The Amiri decree guidelines include such measures as:
- 52 meters indoor classroom space per child
- 352 meters outdoor space per child per center
- Teacher qualifications: ‘experience with children’ (unspecified by any standards)
- General safety measures such as fencing, signposting, locked gates
- General health provisions such as washing and toilet facilities for children and staff
- Arabic language and religious instruction provided for Bahraini nationals.
This in turn improves the quality of preschool education in Bahrain by leaps and bounds and has now encourage many parents to send their children to a preschool. According to Bahrain Montessori Center, there are five types of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) provisions:
1) Infant Centers (< 3 yrs.) Ministry of Social Development
2) Nurseries/preschools (3-5yrs) Ministry of Education
3) Nurseries/preschools/KGs combined (3/4, 4/5, 5/6)
4) Kindergartens (4/5, 5/6)
5) Private schools (pre-primary, multilevel)
With preschool being one of the most popular options for children of the age from 0-3 years. An integrated approach to have parents and teachers in a playschool has also been tested and found to have proven effective. While a daycare center for toddlers can count into a preschool provided adequate trained teachers into early childhood are available with a slight focus on the academics through play and learn approach. Here are the major factors to consider preschool in Bahrain:
- Playschool vs. academics based preschool:
The objectives and focus of a few preschools are based on the academic performance only however, there are a few preschools in Bahrain who promote overall development with modern tools. Before the commissioning of the first preschool in Bahrain, many parents wanted to enroll their bright kids of the age of 2 years to a nursery school. The nursery school would require them to be atleast 2.5 to 3 years old before they secured their child’s admission. A modern preschool is a ray of hope to solve this problem with an environment of 360 degree growth of your child with top quality preschool system. One such preschool is Al Hekma International School which focuses on both academics and playtime according to the Amiri decree.
- Traditional Madrasa vs. modern authentic Madrasa
Madrasa is an Arabic name for school. They are the religious school of Islam to promote value education among toddlers and preschool children. Traditionally, they play a huge role to mold the conscience of a person in early childhood. Traditional madrasa however does not conduct the assessment of your child’s learnings. But with the advent of modern authentic Madrasa considered to be a hybrid model of preschool and religious learnings, your child has the best of both the worlds and easily qualify for nursery, kindergarten and elementary school.
- Parent’s influence vs. teacher’s influence on early childhood development
Previously, the parent’s socioeconomic status in Bahrain was considered to be the major influencer on whether they will send their kids to a preschool or not. However, as the changing times, the early childhood development is not constrained to just parents but also to the Montessori teachers who actively help parents with their child’s development. When you feel your toddler is facing problems of anxiety or aggression, qualified counsellors from your child’s preschool will help you take care of the issue effortlessly because of their special training. This in turn supports parents raise their children with the care they need.
- Private v/s public preschools in Bahrain
The medium of education in public preschools in Bahrain is Arabic dialect. This is one of the main reasons why expatriates are more inclined to send their children to a private preschool. However, well-read Bahraini parents are now increasingly sending their children to a private preschool as well because of the cultural diversity and also adhering to the traditional values and religious principles. With an emphasis to socialize and learn effectively, private preschools also offer international standards through their rich pedagogy and curriculum for physical and social development of your child.
- Preschools prepare children for better academic performance
According to an April 2021 study conducted by the University of Bahrain, the results showed that students who had preschool education had better academic achievement than those who did not. Many ambitious Bahraini parents are now considering their children for preschool in the hopes of better academic performance of their children in the future.
Being a parent, you always want your child not be left out in the race to get the best of education. Enrolling in a preschool is smart to secure a place the top schools in Bahrain due to limited availability. However, it is less known to parents, that they really give your children the necessary kick start they need in their early years. For instance, factors such as playschool vs. academics based schools, traditional Madrasa vs. authentic modern Madrasa, parent’s influence vs. teacher’s influence in early childhood development, private vs. public preschools in Bahrain and preparation for better academic performance influence your decision to enroll your child. Seek help from the best of education counsellors to start your child’s early years. Get in touch with Al Hekma International School today! If you liked this article and have more to discuss, feel free to comment below.