The Benefits of an Academic Plan
Part of my work as a consultant, involves preparing academic plans for nurseries and early learning centres, in the UAE. In order to start up a new pre-school here, the governing authorities require investors/owners to submit an academic plan. It is now a requirement for existing nurseries to submit an academic plan, before their licences are renewed.
I imagine, that for a number of existing nurseries, this may be a little bit of a nightmare. However, this got me thinking - what are the actual benefits of preparing an academic plan?
The answer is in the image above. I see academic plans as a nursery's blueprint. It's a foundational representation of a nursery and aligns itself to the fabric of the nursery. There are a number of elements to the plan, including but not limited to:
Education and Care Practice
Health Safety and Hygiene
These are topics that we confront everyday within a pre-school setting. For all stakeholders alike - managers, teachers, assistants, parents.
I'm not a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, but my guess is that they are aiming for quality provision within early childhood education. This is the main benefit of preparing a plan and that can only be a good thing. The words of caution that I have are that the plans should result in practical and sustainable techniques for best practice. This ultimately affects the calibre of the pre-school child when he/she is ready to transition to 'big' school.
Documented research indicates that children who attend good early childhood programmes have "significantly better life outcomes than those who did not receive center-based care, or those who received lower quality care"(Heckman).
In a nutshell - quality early childcare matters!
Patricia Mezu is the Director of Professional Minds FZ LLC, a Dubai based early childhood education consultancy. The company specialises in pre-school improvement, as well as nursery start up.