Part of the Nord Anglia group, the wonderful British International School Abu Dhabi opened in 2009. A short drive out of town in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, vast BISAD is perfectly located for anyone living off-island (it’s a 15-20 minute commute from many of the expat compounds).
The engaging and spacious early-years nursery and FS2 (ages three to five) classrooms are on the ground floor of the building, each with its own dedicated fully shaded playground, kitted out with climbing frames, slides, sandpits, brightly covered activity walls, mini-cycle tracks and water stations. In our view, these playgrounds are absolutely among the best in Abu Dhabi for this age group. As is tradition in Abu Dhabi, at 7.45am each day the bell rings and all primary children, plus those in FS2, stand up in line in their classes and sing the UAE national anthem.
We love the fact that after each outside-play session, when children return to the classroom, the lights are lowered to encourage everyone to calm down and re-set before their next activity (this is also done just before pick-up, so for the most part, children are settled when they are collected). Each classroom has different areas to encourage learning through play, with tables laid out with arts and crafts and objects ready for that day. EYFS and FS2 have their own dining hall on the ground floor – it has no windows yet still feels light, bright and airy, with children’s artwork on the walls and posters reinforcing the school’s early-years mantra: ‘Kind Hands, Kind Feet, Kind Words.
BISAD is renowned for its inclusivity and global community, which – in the younger years especially – includes a growing number of Emirati and Arab children alongside expats.