We have had a very busy, exciting start to the month, with opportunities to meet interested parents and to get to know our Founding Families better. It has been fantastic to learn more about all of you and your children, and to tell you all about Durham Kenya!
Last week we were thrilled to host our first ever socially distanced Coffee Morning for registered parents. With espresso and pastries from Java House and the charming surroundings of our brand new school, it was wonderful to see parents and staff coming together. We all got to experience the exciting sense of a Durham Kenya community, which will continue to grow as we look forward to the school opening in January 2021.
This past weekend, we were able to meet many new parents for the very first time at the International School Fair at Village Market. Headteacher Sue Small was on hand at the Durham Kenya stand, with information for parents and – even better – balloons for little ones.
We have truly enjoyed meeting and getting to know our interested parents and hearing your fantastic feedback about the school! From our encounters over the past few weeks, we’ve learned that Nairobi parents are excited to see the very first branch of a UK school opening in the city, to hear about our innovative approach to early years education, and our ambition to establish Durham Kenya as the best possible place for children to begin their educational journey in Nairobi. To that end, we’ve put together a list of some of the excellent questions we received in the past few weeks as a resource for all of the parents we have yet to meet. If you have any other questions for us, and if you’d like to learn more about the school, we would love to hear from you! Contact us here, and make an appointment to visit the school today!
When will the school open and where is it located?
Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School will open in January 2021. This makes us one of the newest schools in Nairobi, but we take inspiration from the 600-year legacy of outstanding education from our sister school, Durham School UK.
We are located in a leafy, green corner of Thigiri, just a stone’s throw from Karura Forest. Within the grounds, you’ll find the school itself, boasting plenty of classroom space as well as dedicated rooms for art, music, IT and dance and drama. You’ll also find interesting outdoor spaces for both learning and play.
What ages will the school accept?
Durham Kenya is opening in Nairobi for children ages 2-6 years. This includes
- Playgroup, for children 2-3 years old;
- Foundation Stage 1 (FS1), for children 3-4 years old,
- Foundation Stage 2 (FS2), for children 4-5 years old, and
- Year 1, for children 5-6 years old.
When we open in January 2021, we will have classes for Playgroup, FS1 and FS2. Our Year 1 classes will begin in September 2021.
What does Durham Kenya offer for children after age 6?
The wider ambitions of Durham Kenya are to establish a full Primary and a Secondary School. Plans for the further phases will be unveiled in due course.
What are your school fees?
All of our school fees information is available here.
What will happen if schools are unable to open in January due to COVID-19, or if schools open but then have to close again later?
While we are confident that schools will open in January, we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students and their families, putting in place all mandated safety measures and complying with all governmental directives. We understand that the pandemic has introduced new levels of uncertainty into planning for your child’s education. Due to the nature of teaching and learning for our early years age group, if we face school closures in 2021 we do not plan to substitute virtual lessons in place of in-person learning. Instead, we plan to treat any closures as school holiday time, and once we are able to reopen we will teach through standard school holiday periods, ensuring that children are able to learn in person with their teachers and peers.
What COVID-19 safety measures are you putting in place?
We have put in place all of the Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols from the Ministry of Education, as well as the recommendations of our sister school in the UK to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Durham UK has been open since June and has been able to offer valuable insights into practices that have worked well for young learners.
What curriculum does the school follow?
Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School follows the British Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework for Playgroup, FS1 and FS2. Our Year 1 students will follow the British National Curriculum Key Stage 1 programme of study.
At Durham how children learn is as important to us as what they learn. We aim to give children the best possible start to their education, sparking a love of lifelong learning and giving them ‘Confidence for Life.’ Our Creative Curriculum focuses on igniting children’s enthusiasm through investigation, discovery, play and creativity.
We take a child-centred approach, celebrating each individual’s talents, readiness and personality. Our broad and balanced curriculum provides a rich variety of opportunities for active learning, engagement and critical thinking. We help our students grow into happy and confident individuals, with the skills required to be independent learners who can embrace the opportunities and possibilities of an every-changing world.
What extracurriculars do you offer?
We combine traditional academic rigor with innovative approaches to learning, incorporating many co-curricular activities into everyday lessons. These include arts and crafts, dance, drama, music, PE and games, swimming, IT, and Kiswahili. In addition to all of these fun activities being part of your child’s normal school day, we will be offering exciting activities after school hours, including drama academy, ballet classes, and one-on-one music lessons with experienced instructors.
How will Durham Kenya keep me up-to-date on my child’s progress?
Our teachers will be using an interactive online learning journal in collaboration with parents to share each child’s development and progress, and to record special moments and achievements. We will update you on what is happening at school, and any updates you can provide on your child’s activities at home will help us ensure that we have a learning plan unique to your child’s needs and readiness. Of course, in addition to this online platform we will always be available to meet in person, and we invite parents to book a time to meet with their teacher before or after school.
What’s the cultural composition of the school?
We welcome a diverse community of children with a range of cultural and educational backgrounds. Our students come from Kenya and many other nations, and bring with them cultures, traditions, languages and talents that we all celebrate and learn about together.
While we are a branch of a British school and follow a British curriculum, Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep is very much a part of our Nairobi home. We learn about Kenya and learn Kiswahili as a part of our lessons every day. Our teaching staff come from Kenya and offer a diverse range of experiences working both internationally and locally. Headteacher Sue Small brings a wealth of experience working in international schools, including nearly a decade of educational leadership here in Nairobi.
What are the school menus like?
We will be providing tasty, healthy, nutritious and balanced lunches and snacks, cooked on our premises by our specialist catering team. All dietary requirements, including vegetarian options, will be catered for.
Will Durham Kenya offer transport?
If there is sufficient interest, we plan to offer transport starting in September 2021.