For any child, the first experiences outside the home can be daunting enough, and when you consider the child will see the outside world for the first time, it’s hardly surprising. But when you add to this, the fact that an expat family is living in a strange culture, there is a risk of confusing the child, and by spending time with mum and dad, who are perhaps British, and the rest of the day immersed in the local culture, some of the important building blocks for a good academic education will not be in place.
Any child who is living abroad with their expat parents would be able to enter a recognised international school when they reach the right age, and with schooling usually paid for by the employer, there are no financial strains for the parents. It would be essential to find a school that taught the British curriculum, and there are also nursery schools that are dedicated to preparing their children for a British based curriculum, and if you can manage to find such a nursery, it would be the ideal solution. For those in the Arab Emirates, you couldn’t find a better learning centre for your toddler than Toddler Town Nursery in Dubai, where trained staff help the kids develop in the right way.
Living in a strange culture is never really an issue for an adult, as we already have established our own cultural beliefs and can therefore appreciate the diversity of others, but for a young child, there really should be adequate input from their original culture and this can often be lost. Some nurseries are specifically designed to preserve the cultural values of home, and this will be invaluable to your child at a later date. A British nursery would be staffed by native English speakers and all the traditional nursery rhymes would be sung on a regular basis, and as the child will eventually enrol in a British school, it helps to have this solid foundation.
Creating the Right Routine
Formal school is all about rules and regulations, and rather than waiting until the child is old enough to attend Kindergarten, a structured nursery school is the ideal way to introduce the routine that will guide them throughout their academic education. It is critical that your child enjoys the nursery years, otherwise they might develop a dislike for school in general, and once that happens, it can be an uphill struggle reversing the negative effects. If the child gets into the right routine at an early age, then every academic transition will be a smooth and trouble free experience, and with sound moral values introduced at the very outset, your child will understand kindness and compassion.
Fortunately, there are reputable nurseries in most expat destinations that are specifically designed for expat children, and by preparing them for the up and coming International schooling, they will receive a valuable head start.