With so many different schools and curriculum offerings in Abu Dhabi, the choice of where to send your child…and at what age….is mind-boggling. When should you apply? What age do they accept? Should your child stay in the nursery or go to a big school? And which school do you choose?

We are often influenced by where our friends are sending their children and by rumours about how to apply and when, but what are the facts and what are the pros and cons of staying in nursery versus going to big school?

What do the class names mean?
Here’s a handy table to help you understand the ages your child can start school and the class names –

Age in September
(beginning of academic year)
International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum British Curriculum American Curriculum
3 years + Not available FS1 Pre KG
4 years + EY1 FS2 KG1
5 years + EY2 Year 1 KG 2

When do I Apply?
Most schools start taking applications between Sept-Dec of the preceding year but the cut off date for age acceptance can vary school to school, so give them a call to check in advance!

Which School?
We are proud to be on the recommended nurseries list at some of the most popular schools in Abu Dhabi. Orange Seeds Nursery graduates typically attend the following –

International Baccalaureate – Raha International School, German International School
British Curriculum – British School Al Khubairat (BSAK), British International School Abu Dhabi (BISAD), Brighton College, Cranleigh, Repton
American Curriculum – GEMS American Academy, American International School (AIS), ADNOC Schools

What age should I send my child to school?
At Orange Seeds Nursery, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (British) curriculum and because children in the UK stay at nursery until they’re aged 4, we have a wonderful FS1 class at nursery.

Some British schools in the UAE have an FS1/Nursery year at school – it’s the same curriculum being followed but within a bigger school setting. This means that children in the UAE can start school aged just 3 years old and in our opinion, most children of this age are not ready for this. An extra year at nursery allows them more time to develop and thrive in smaller surroundings – better to be big fish in a small pond, than a small fish in a big pond!

But despite our opinion, we must tell you that in some schools, if you don’t send your child for their FS1/Nursery year, you risk finding it much harder to get a place for FS2, so we advise you to check!

Please just come and ask us if you have any questions about applying to schools – most of our staff are parents themselves, with children attending a broad range of the schools in Abu Dhabi…so we can give you our advice and tips on applications and where to choose!