Home LearningExcellence In...Pre-school Redwood Center of Excellence becomes the first and only independent IB World pre-school in the UAE.

Redwood Center of Excellence becomes the first and only independent IB World pre-school in the UAE.

by Belinda Breeze

Redwood Center of Excellence has become the first independent pre-school in the U.A.E. to offer the globally acclaimed International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP).

A pioneering concept that is owned and operated by the Dubai-based Kids First Group, Redwood CoE for short, first opened its doors in April 2022 and less than 2 years later was authorised by the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a World Pre-School to offer the Primary Years Programme. The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally-minded people who help to create a better and more peaceful world.

“Redwood CoE offers the IB PYP within the innovative blended curriculum of Montessori, Reggio, EYFS and STEM – this is not found in any other setting or school, comments Kamil Najjar, CEO of Kids First Group, It’s an honour to receive such a prestigious authorisation, following a strict process monitored by the IB and we’re proud to be the first to set a new standard for early childhood learning in the U.A.E.”

The IB is a global organisation that has been around since 1968 and it is organised into 4 programmes, one of those is the Primary Years Programme now available at Redwood CoE until the age of 6. The first six years in a child’s life are critical. A child’s future wellbeing, attainment, happiness and choices are profoundly affected by the quality of the guidance, care and opportunities they receive during these formative years. By choosing an enabling and interactive learning environment, to allow for more personalised learning, means they are more ‘school ready’ and likely to flourish once they enter the education system.

“Many schools offer the Primary Years Programme, but the benefit of staying in a pre-school setting is the extra care young children receive in a nurturing, safe environment where they get to explore without pressure, contributing positively to their adaptability and confidence,” IB PYP coordinator, Sima Abou Chacra explains.

In addition to the above, parents are choosing to opt for this option to early learning for the educator ratios as well as the flexibility in hours since Redwood CoE is open until 6 pm, throughout the year.

The PYP is a student-centered approach to education that offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding. This means that students learn across subject areas while inquiring into big ideas. The PYP at CoE is conducted through an abundance of Active Play which nurtures young learners’ holistic development, unlike Early Years Departments in schools which are part of a wider instruction-led, standardized school system and more heavily orientated towards testing and assessment from a young age.

“Play is often one of the first activities to be taken away from children in schools to replace it with more ‘formal’ proper learning,” says Geraldine Hill, Director/Head of Research & Development.

By learning through inquiry and reflecting on their own learning, PYP students develop the attributes of the IB Learner profile to make a difference in their own lives, their communities, and beyond. “The programme’s approach to learning allows students to adapt easily to any big school they transition to, no matter which programme they follow.” comments Elizabeth Scahill, Director at Redwood Center of Excellence.

The IB learner profile represents a broad range of human dispositions, capacities and traits that encompass intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth such as “risk taker,” “principled,” “inquirer,” “thinker,” “caring,” and others. Developing and demonstrating the attributes of the learner profile is an expression of what the IB means by international-mindedness.

The PYP curriculum recognises learners’ innate potential to inquire, question, wonder and theorise about themselves, others, and the world around them. They’re self-directed in their learning, they know how to identify problems and how to use their skills to solve them. The environment is seen as a teacher, and students are partners in the learning process.
With over 55 nationalities currently recorded at Redwood CoE, it’s only fitting that such a programme is inducted into the early learning center that seeks to raise “future-ready” children in a multicultural city. Each school decides specific concepts and topics studied through each theme based on their local context so Redwood CoE’s commitment to the U.A.E.’s culture remains the same, if not stronger.