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Durham Kenya – A New Kind of School in Nairobi


Nestled on a green, tree-covered lane right on the edge of Karura Forest, Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School is an entirely new kind of school in Nairobi. Durham Kenya opened in January, and students have just finished their first term, an exciting milestone for both the children and the school! Just before the end of term, the school was a flurry of activity. While the 2 and 3-year-olds in Playgroup finished up a craft before heading to a piano sing along, Foundation Stage 1 students, aged 3 and 4, were practicing making patterns with dyed pasta. Outside, 4 and 5-year-olds in Foundation Stage 2 were collecting 10 natural objects so they could bring them back to the classroom to learn about number bonds. In this fun, engaging environment, students learn through play and move between creative learning spaces – both inside and outside – throughout every school day.

Durham Kenya’s opening has been an exciting development for students, parents and teachers, and has made a splash in Nairobi. It is a truly international school, enrolling students from 17 countries across three continents in just its first term. A branch of Durham School UK, it has even earned a spot on the British High Commission’s list of approved schools for relocating staff – a welcome achievement for the first British School to open in East Africa.

Durham has a long tradition of excellence, stretching back to the founding of Durham School in 1414. Its bespoke Creative Curriculum follows the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework and English National Curriculum, whilst also drawing on a range of other pedagogies to take advantage of all the learning opportunities available in Kenya. British High Commissioner Jane Marriott was one of the first guests at the school, while renovations were still ongoing. “It is wonderful to see the education links between Kenya and the UK grow stronger together with the new Durham International Nursery & Pre-Prep School opening in Nairobi,” she said at the time. “Durham Kenya is the first British school to open in East Africa, and I am confident of the quality education and opportunities available for Kenyan students.” Since its announcement, Durham Kenya has also received significant local support, particularly from the Kenya Investment Authority and the British Chamber of Commerce Kenya. It aims to establish a reputation as the best possible place for children to begin their educational journey in Nairobi, and Durham’s unique style of teaching has so far attracted many Kenyan families. “At Durham, we believe that childhood is a time to explore,” said Headteacher Sue Small. “Our child-centred approach and broad balanced curriculum provides a rich variety of opportunities and experiences both in and beyond the classroom for active learning and discovery, engagement and critical thinking.” Through international connections and its own Kenyan identity, Durham Kenya gives children a positive first experience of school, fostering a love of lifelong learning and ‘Confidence for Life!’

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