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FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions

Index

Child Behaviour

A.1 How do I deal with separation anxiety?

A.2 How do I put an end to aggressive behaviour, such as biting and refusing to share?

A.3 How do I deal with tantrums?

 

Health and Wellbeing

B.1 How do I help soothe a teething child?

B.2 Healthy lunch box ideas

B.3 What do I do if my child is sick?

B.4 How does Acorn Nursery safeguard the health and wellbeing of my child?

 

Starting Nursery

C.1 What is the best age to start nursery?

C.2 Do I have to send my child 5 days per week?

C.3 Can I send my child for a free trial day?

C.4 What should my child bring to nursery?

 

Curriculum

D.1 What is EYFS, and where can I learn more?

D.2 What is the 'Learn Through Play' method?

D.3 Will I have to put my child in a British school if they start off at a British nursery?

D.4 Where do Acorn Nursery children usually go to school after nursery?

D.5 Does Acorn Nursery assist with entry in to any international schools in Qatar?

 

Fees and Timings

E.1 What are the fees?

E.2 What are the nursery hours? Can my child start earlier and/or leave later?

E.3 Are holiday camps available?

 


Child Behaviour

A.1 How do I deal with separation anxiety?

We acknowledge that this can be an extremely stressful time, both for children and parents. However, separation anxiety is something that we have a lot of experience with. 

It is important to keep several things in mind about this remarkable process.  The first is that the goal for the child is to feel comfortable and safe with us and within the classroom. Routine plays an important part in this, with the child interacting with the same key people each day. You can assist us by arriving at the nursery at the same time each day (at the beginning and end of the day) so the same staff and children will be present and the daily routine is quickly established.

Secondly, for the child, letting the parent go means that the child is able to retain the image of the absent parent, hold onto the certainty that the parent will return, and possess the confidence to believe that he or she can get along without that care person there. It is important you support us by reinforcing this message clearly and consistantly to your child.

This also a stressful time for the mother. However, our staff are warm and caring and know how to gain the trust and friendship of your child.  We have strategies to help the children process the concept of school and become comfortable with us. For each child this process will be different, for some it is far easier than others. We will communicate with you daily regarding settling in and how it is all progressing.

 

A.2 How do I put an end to aggressive behaviour, such as biting and refusing to share?

All young children go through a transition as they develop from playing on their own, to playng alongside (but independently of) others, to finally playing with other children. A key part of this is learning to play cooperatively, share toys, and compete for attention. For some children this can result in periods of aggression.

As a parent, the key response is not to panic! These are common, natural reactions that will pass in time.

Our staff at Acorn Nursery have considerable experience in implementing strategies to address such issues. These are based around:

  • Calling out the 'wrong' behaviour to reinforce the message it is never acceptable. It is important to be consistent over time, and across all staff. Parents can work with us by coordinating with the class teacher to ensure the same strategies are consistently used at home (by both parents) as we are implementing in school.
  • Rewarding good behaviour, through use of praise, stickers and extra attention
  • Ensuring the 'wrong' behaviour is never rewarded. Young children strongly seek the attention and approval of adults, so it is essential not to send mixed messages by reprimanding them one moment and then lavishing affection and attention upon them. Once again, it is important to coordinate your response with the class teacher to ensure consistency

A.3 How do I deal with tantrums?

Temper tantrums are another common phase in young children.

The recommended approach is similar to aggresive behaviour (see above). Calmly and consistently rewarding 'good' behaviour while showing disapproval of 'bad' behaviour is key, especially if this can be coordinated between home and nursery to ensure the same message is being delivered by all the adult role-models in the child's life.

 

Health and Wellbeing

B.1 How do I help soothe a teething child?

The onset of teething normally starts at around 6 months, but varies enormously (from before birth to after the first birthday) and typically lasts for a year or more. Common signs are swollen or sore gums, rosie cheeks, drooling and biting or sucking on objects.

Gentle pressure on the gums can provide relief, as can cooling objects (for example, a teething ring that has been cooled in the fridge). You might also try chilled water or a dummy.

If none of these are sufficient, there are gels and other remedies available, but you should seek advice from a qualified professional.

B.2 Healthy lunch box ideas

We have two snack times daily, although if children are hungry at other times provision is made for them to eat.

Parents are asked to send their children with healthy, nutritious and age appropriate food and drinks for snack times. The nursery will also supply and promote the drinking of water by children. Food can be reheated if sent in a suitable container. Note that chocolate, carbonated drinks (such as Pepsi etc) and sweets

So how do you provide your children with healthy snacks that they will enjoy? This requires effort and variety as children are fickle - one day they love a certain food and the next day they refuse to eat it, for some odd reason.

The best approach is to give them a lot of different options, keeping snacks varied and interesting. The internet is a fantastic resource to search for ideas on this. For example, some healthy school lunch ideas can be found at:

On a final note, we have a strict ‘No Nut Policy’ at the nursery out of respect for those who suffer this potentially life-threatening allergy. We ask that you cooperate with us in enforcing this at all times.

 

B.3 What do I do if my child is sick?

If your child falls ill at home, we request you do not send him in to the nursery where there is a risk of the illness being passed on to other children. Kindly contact the receptionist at the nursery to let us know your child will not be attending, so we can inform the class teacher.

If your child falls ill while at nursery, you will be contacted immediately. They will be cared for by our qualified nurse until you are able to collect them.

For highly infectious diseases, there is a mandatory exclusion policy to ensure children do not re-start nursery until they cease to be an infection risk. Details are in the Parent Handbook, but contact us if you need additional information.

B.4 How does Acorn Nursery safeguard the health and wellbeing of my child?

The safety and well-being of the children in our care are of paramount importance.

Our safety efforts are focussed on prevention of serious accidents. This requires a multi-pronged approach, including:

  • High quality furniture and equipment (mostly purchased from Europe) which is designed for safe use in an early years environment
  • High standards of maintenance, to ensure the furniture, equipment and the nursery environment remain safe and fit for purpose
  • Regular inspections and risk assessments to ensure maintenance issues and potential risks are identified and addressed in a timely manner
  • Monthly check-ups of children from a visiting doctor, with the reports circulated to parents
  • A healthy food and drink policy
  • A caring and supportive environment, where qualified and experienced staff closely supervise the children
  • A guard on the gate and a remote entry system to control of who is on the premises and ensure no children can leave without a responsible adult

However, minor accidents are an inevitable part of growing up - we believe children should be challenged to experiment, build things and have an active life. Our full-time nurse is available to deal with any incidents, such as minor bumps and scrapes. The details are carefully recorded and parents notified immediately by telephone.

Starting Nursery

C.1 What is the best age to start nursery?

This is a very personal decision which largely depends upon your family circumstances and the needs of your child.

Let's begin with family circumstances. If both parents have full time careers then they have little choice but to organise full-time care for their child from an early age. Many families in the Middle East choose to employ a nanny (or maid) while their children are young, so this is clearly one option. However, a quality nursery school will provide a far more varied and stimulating environment than is possible at home, in an environment that is closely monitored and controlled by experienced staff. At Acorn Nursery we accept babies from as young as 2 months old (with options for extended hours) for those parents who need to return to the workforce.

Other relevant aspects of family circumstances are the numbers and ages of children at home. Nursery education plays an important role in ensuring that, by the time children begin formal schooling, they are able to socialise with children their own age and can separate from their parents without undue anxiety. If your child is part of a large family group, where he/she already has to learn to share, compromise and interact with children of a similar age, then this is an excellent grounding for starting school. For children who do not have that challenge and stimulation at home, nursery is an excellent environment to develop these skills where staff ratios are higher and the working day much more flexible than when they start formal schooling.

Another aspect is language. If the intention is to send your child to an international school then a British curriculum nursery is a good opportunity to start developing those language skills if English is not widely spoken at home.

Finally, you should consider the needs and personality of your child. Children have an inate curiosity and sense of wonder, which it is important to nourish during early childhood. Some children, as they develop, become board and show clear signs of needing the challenge and external stimulus that a nursery school can provide.

At Acorn Nursery we accept children from 2 months to 4 years of age. There is no single "best" age to start, as it depends entirely on family circumstances, as well as the needs and personality of your child. Feel free to contact one of our Nursery Managers if you would like to discuss this further.

C.2 Do I have to send my child 5 days per week?

At Acorn Nursery we offer options of 2, 3 or 5 days per week. Many children starting nursery school for the first time will begin with 2 or 3 days per week, and then increase to 5 once they have completely settled in.

C.3 Can I send my child for a free trial day?

Yes, we are happy to provide prospective parents with a free trial day. This is an opportunity for their child can join the fun and experience a day in the nursery.

For security reasons we need to plan this and ensure we have full details on the child beforehand, so we ask that a completed Application Form is submitted in advance. Please contact us if you would like to enquire further.

C.4 What should my child bring to nursery?

All new parents receive a copy of our Parent Handbook which gives a great deal of information on daily routines, the calendar, health and hygiene, security, communications and social media.

The handbook includes a section on what to send in to the nursery with your child. This typically consists of:

  • Sufficient healthy food for the day. Please avoid unhealthy foods (chocolates, sweets, carbonated drinks etc) and respect the "No Nut Policy" we have in place to safeguard a small number of children withserious allergic reactions. We can re-heat food, where required.
  • Change of clothing. Accidents happen, but also painting, glueing and playing in sand and water are an important part of our hands-on curriculum. Please do not send children in their 'best' clothes!
  • Nappies or pull-ups, if required
  • Sun hat and sun cream
  • Bedding can optionally be supplied (otherwise, we will supply if a sleep is needed)

Please label all belongings. Each child will have their own classroom drawer and bathroom drawer in which to keep their things but many items may look similar. In order to ensure everything is returned correctly labelling is essential.  Unfortunately we cannot take responsibility for lost personal items. 

Curriculum

D.1 What is EYFS, and where can I learn more?

EYFS is an abbreviation for the Early Years Foundations Stage. This is a statutory document produced by the UK government to set the standards for learning, development and care for children in England from birth to five years of age. The stated purpose of the document is:

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. When parents choose to use early years services they want to know that provision will keep their children safe and help them to thrive. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the framework that provides that assurance.

The EYFS stipulates six areas of learning and development, all of equal importance:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication, Language and Literacy
  • Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World
  • Physical Development
  • Creative Development

The curriculum has to be delivered through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child-led activities. The EYFS stipulates statutory early learning goals for each of the six areas. These are statements of what the child should be able to do by the end of the EYFS (ie age 5).

More details on the EYFS Statutory Framework can be downloaded from here.

All children are individuals, with each developing in their own way and at their own rate. To help monitor progress towards achieving the early learning goals, a set of Early Years Outcomes has been developed that gives an indication of the skills and abilities a typical child should exhibit at each age for each of the seven areas of learning.

An excellent parent guide to children's learning and development in the early years foundation stage has been developed by company called 4 Children. It is titled 'What to Expect When' and can be downloaded here.

At Acorn Nursery we use these Early Years Outcomes to observe children individually and report on their progress. More on our curriculum can be found here.

D.2 What is the 'Learn Through Play' method?

Children need time and space to explore the world around them in their own way. In nursery children are provided with engaging activities which allows the child to play creatively, become motivated learners, resilient and problem solvers.

Play helps children to model and work through emotional changes and challenges, to develop their thinking skills and to improve their language and communication. Physical play is vital to the formation of fine and gross motor skills.

We teach children through play with a balance of child and adult led activities, giving children a significant period of uninterrupted (but supervised) free play where they can use their imagination. Children will imitate what they have seen and heard and this copying leads to further development of their language. For example you will see play houses, kitchens, shops and dressing up clothes in the role play area of the nursery enabling the children to use their imaginations.

Numeracy is taught for example by creating numbers and shapes in Play Doh, counting interesting items, singing number and colour songs.

D.3 Will I have to put my child in a British school if they start off at a British nursery?

The British early years curriculum (EYFS) is an excellent start for any child, regardless of nationality or the school system they intend to follow afterwards. There are considerable similarities between the EYFS and other popular international curricula, and the skills that are learnt are readily transferrable to other educational systems.

D.4 Where do Acorn Nursery children usually go to school after nursery?

Children from Acorn Nursery come from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, and this is reflected in the diversity of schools they attend once they leave us.

Numerically, the most popular schools are the large international schools located close to the Acorn Abu Hamour and Ain Khalid branches, such as Park House English School, Doha British School, the Doha College and the American School Doha. We also send a significant number of stuednts to Compass School, the Newton Schools, the MES Indian School, Phoenix School and many others.

Finally, Acorn Nursery is connected  AWIS (Al Wataniya International School) in North Doha, so we also send a number of students there each year.

D.5 Does Acorn Nursery assist with entry in to any international schools in Qatar?

Most international schools require applicants to submit a school report and a tranfer form from their nursery, as part of the application process. We are very familiar with this process and can help guide parents through the process of gathering and submitting this documentation.

Acorn Nursery Fees and Timings

E.1 What are the fees?

Fees depend on how many days per week the child attends, and whether any additional hours are required. The standard fee for 5 days per week, from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m., is QR3,700/- per month.

We also offer significant discounts where parents pay for several months in advance. Download our Fee Schedule for full details.

E.2 What are the nursery hours? Can my child start earlier and/or leave later?

The standard hours for children are 7 a.m. until 1 p.m., Sunday to Thursday. Additional hours are available upon request - please contact us to discuss your requirements.

E.3 Are holiday camps available?

The nursery operates continuously all year, as a service for working parents.

Teaching is structured around three terms that broadly follow the dates used by leading international schools in Doha. Holiday camps are offered over the Winter and Spring holidays, at no additional charge. Further details are available here.

Optional Summer Camps are offered in July and August. Students are normally combined across the Abu Hamour and Ain Khalid branches so that any necessary refurbishment works can be carried out during this time.