In today’s world, working parents appreciate the substantial effort that goes into juggling long hours, while at the same time ensuring that children are happy and well cared for. Some may have solid support systems in place, making it that much easier, while others may have to do it all solo.
At Jigsaw Nursery in Abu Dhabi, a strong focus is placed on helping parents to weave in bonding time and encouraging the well-rounded development of little ones, even if busy schedules are a constant consideration.
Leanne Bell, Nursery Manager at Jigsaw Nursery, part of the Al Najah Education Group, finds that often parents need an additional level of support, and their nursery aims to provide this aid. “There are a few key areas that we recommend parents keep an eye out for, including a sound routine, strong communication and a positive partnership with the schooling team. When these three elements of a child’s upbringing are prioritised, the experience usually proves to be more seamless and well balanced,” she says.
Ripen The Routine
Routines play an important role in keeping all members of a family well aligned. “While a significant amount effort is required to put this in place, it is a great example of how initial investment can pay off in the long run,” says Bell. Jigsaw Nursery offers various attendance options to suit different routines. This includes the choice between three- and five-day weeks, usual sessions running between 7am and 2pm, and extended hours lasting until 5pm, over and above day care options. “We also advise parents to have a set bedtime routine, which can have a fun segment incorporated, such as reading a story before bed or talking to their child about what they will do the next day, neither of which is highly time consuming.”
Cultivate The Communication
This ties in with the vitality of communication, which helps families maintain all-important bonds, building both rapport and trust between parents and children. “When raised in an environment prioritising open communication, children will be able to better express themselves, leading to quicker development and absorption of information, easing the extent of responsibility of the parents for the same in the long-term,” explains Bell. Suggestions to further prompt communication include an indoor and an outdoor activity conducted each week. These could be simple as playing a game, cake decorating, painting, visiting a place or visiting relatives with parents, boosting communication abilities across a range of situations.
Progress The Partnership
Further building on strong communication, is ensuring a positive partnership between a child’s teachers and parents. “Parents can work hand in hand with the schooling teams to ensure that topics discussed in school are reflected at home, saving them from having to source additional materials and topics of discussion,” comments Bell. Such partnerships also give rise to the opportunity for nurseries and schools to develop unique methods catering to the working parent.
To further strengthen the teacher-parent relationship, Jigsaw Nursery invites parents to celebrate various cultural and regional occasions through events held at the nursery. “A great example of this was our recent Iftar, where our staff, students and parents got together to respect local tradition and celebrate diversity through food of various cultures,” shares Bell.
Jigsaw Nursery implements a number of systems to ensure busy parents can keep abreast of their children’s developments with ease. “This is done through regular notes shared for ongoing and upcoming weeks, detailing activities, objectives and overarching learning themes. Furthermore, we try to provide parents with the chance to engage with their children during school days, easing the strain of finding new exciting adventures for the little ones. These include painting days, end of term concerts, sports days, visits to the zoo and cultural hubs within the city,” adds Bell.
By setting a consistent routine as well as engaging with children in non-time-consuming ways on a regular basis, working parents are able to be a part of their child’s development and build the skills required to successfully engage with the world around them.