Toddler schools and nanny options in Dubai

October 11, 2009

With our Gremlin back here with us after a great seven-month stay back home in Baguio, we now again need to have somebody look after him if we're out of home.

We got excited after knowing that some nursery schools offer 7am to 7pm childcare services. This means we may not need to spend on a nanny! So off we paid the fees to the nursery nearer to our apartment. This one has Filipino nannies, so we felt some sort of security.
Kalel's first day of school got us excited and even had the camera as we waited for the yellow van. Unluckily, his dad wasn’t expecting the humidity to blur the camera lens.
Two days of school and the school van missing to pick him on the third day, we stopped sending him. We were frustrated because --
• We let the gremlin use nappies on his first day and he came home still using them. He ended up with rashes days later.
• We didn’t let him use nappies the second day and he came home clothes changed as he pee-d on them. As Kalel is potty-trained and communicates when he needs to use the toilet, we were wondering what level of attention he is actually receiving that he got his clothes wet.
• We happily bought him different food boxes labeled as Kalel's breakfast, Kalel's lunch and Kalel's snack, only to see most of these back untouched when he came home.

And so we agreed the gremlin is anyhow too young for school schedules -- of forcing him out of bed early (he told us "What's the problem with my eyes" when he was still groggy to wake up); of being unsure if he had his meals. We thought to let him enjoy playtime at his age. It is after all not just school where learning is. While he was away back home in Baguio, his communication skills caught up, because he had people and nature around him as his teachers. Imagine us amazed at his speech improvement when he came back – English in full sentence and some real vocabulary. He has somehow become a normal toddler.

Anyway, back to nanny options here in Dubai. For working parents who need someone to look after their babies/ kids, there are:

• Childcare/ nursery schools. The rate varies for half or full day. Half day rates range between AED500 to AED 2000 a month. The school bus could fetch the child to school and back home at a separate fee. The more expensive ones have better facilities though don't warrant excellent childcare. My colleague who's paying expensively visited and caught her 1.5 year-old baby wandering alone at the play area nibbling with a not-so-clean toy strewn on the floor. The baby gets sick easily too.
• Home-based parents cum nannies, who while looking after their own kids, are also accepting to care after other kids during the day. You drop and take your child to their house when needed. Monthly rates are cheaper, like AED400 for half day, and AED700 for whole day. Hourly rates could be as much as AED20 per hour.

The denominator above is on your trust that your child is cared well as you would do yourself.

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  1. hi!
    I just want to know who takes care of your gremlin now? It is very expensive to sponsor a trusted relative to take care of your kids. I have two boys back home, 4 and 1/2 and 2 and 1/2 years old. My husband and I missed them terribly. We had our annual vacation last September but I'm just on my first year here in dubai while my husband is only on his second year. Our earnings is not that big.We really like to bring them here. Do you have a good advice?


  2. Hi Quennie!
    My gremlin's dad is at home with him for now. Earlier, we used to leave him at my colleague's mom at Al Rigga for AED50, 8am to 6pm. From our experience, bringing kids here should be more than your feeling that you miss them. It should be a decision of what's best for them. I believe there's no salary that is enough =) , I've seen kabayans now earning twice or thrice than when they first brought their kid/s here and yet still struggling to give the best to their kids. You could always make a way to find a nanny, and you could always decide if you can bear the cost (after looking at it on the long term, like the impact of taking a big loan, and like saving less). But the greater question would be is if you could afford to give the better social/ educational/ loving environment here than back home, if you could compensate for their not having much playmates, for their staying in a not-so-much of a breathing space?

    Tungkol naman sa nannies, pinakamaigi pa rin syempre na ikaw yung magsponsor. Although marami rin dito na pinapabantay anak nila. Yung isang kakilala namin seven months old yung baby nila, iniiwan din dun sa Rigga. Kaso nakakaawa din ang mga bata na ganun kasi lagi na lang nasa loob ng masikip na bahay. May iba naman nakakahanap ng may sarili nang visa na nannies, through referral or advertising, kaso nakakatakot din. O kaya'y pinapa-visa kamag-anak nila sa iba, syempre ingat ingat din kailangan.

    Anyways, may your kids inspire you more to afford them a better environment here =)

  3. Thanks for your great advice! More power on this site. It's very helpful. At least I can weigh things before I decide from hearing insights from more people. Regards to your hubby and gremlin!
    Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Queenie!
    I was browsing for a learning school here in Dubai when I saw your page. I am a Filipina mom of a turning 3 year old boy this May and we're staying here near Al Rigga station. You've mentioned that you know someone who's looking after kids in an hourly basis. I was just wondering if you have their contact nos. and also the pre-school you've mentioned, can you kindly post their website or at least their names. We just moved here last November and we're still struggling on which school is best for our son. Thank you very much and more power!


  5. Hi Zhel,

    We just live nearby too =)
    I am sending you by personal the number of Ate who stays at All Yaqoob building, behind Tipanan.

    Regarding nursery school, our Gremlin tried only 2 days (he still has to try school again) at The Primary School near Dubai Hospital, you can contact them via 04-2695828. the administrator is also Filipino.

    If I may share, I guess we didnt let our son continue because we felt he'd learn better if he is at home with our help. He gets to sleep well and eats properly. In a nutshell, better off at home than entrusted to another. Between September last year to now, he did improved a lot,and I mean really a-lot, in his communication skills, without having gone through school. So at that we didnt feel bad. But if there are things we thought he missed, these are (1) learning how to interact with fellow kids and (2) starting late for KG (Kindergarten) 1. We are not advocates of early schooling since we thought he'll miss on good sleep and being well taken cared of at this early age. But now that he's ready, we are eager to send him off. On the proper age of schooling, the answer is subjective. For me and my husband, we thought it is as long as the kid is ready, and of what is the existing practice in the place.In Dubai, KG1 starts as early as 3 years old, so grade 1 is at 5 years. Consequently, our Gremlin is at the not-so-early, not-so-late age to start KG. Now we too are still deciding which school and curriculum we would let him in. Most start school in Sept for British curriculum. There's also the budget constraint. And all those things.

    I hope this helps. We all are in the same boat of trying to learn from each other =) ... I hope to hear from you sometime too on how things went. And I wish you all the best =)
    Thank you for the visit =)


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