Childcare and Pre-primary Education

Find out about the childcare and schooling options available to parents in Dubai...

Education in Dubai is compulsory from age five. Before this age there are a number of pre-school and childcare options.

Domestic help

Many families have a live-in maid or nanny. Typically a maid works six days a week during specified hours and babysitting is included in her duties.

As the population in Dubai is constantly changing there are always maids looking for new positions. Friends and colleagues may be able to recommend someone. If not, another maid may well know of someone herself who is looking for new employment. Maids often put up notices in supermarkets and in the local press advertising their services. It is normal to speak to one or more previous employers as a reference.

Many of the maids working in Dubai are from India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Besides the cost of their wages, a maid needs a sponsor (the employer) who must pay a fee each year. They also need a medical card and employers must pay for one return trip per year to their home country.

Maids are not allowed to take on other part-time work: they can be fined or deported if they do this and are caught.

  • For detailed information from the Government of Dubai on how to sponsor a maid or nanny: Click here

A number of agencies offer part-time home help on an hourly basis. It is also possible to search for a potential maid online via different organisations such as:

Alternatively, babysitters can be found by word of mouth or through classified sections of local newspapers, which sometimes carry advertisements from students seeking babysitting work to earn extra money.

Pre-school and nursery

There are plenty of English-speaking nursery, crèches and pre-schools available in Dubai which welcome children as young as three months old. However, many will not take children under 18 months. It is not unusual for establishments to have waiting lists.

Depending on the facility, parents may enrol their child in a half-day (4-5 hours), full-day (6-7 hours) or extended morning/day (9-11 hours) programme. Some also have options to attend three, four or five days a week.

Attendance at such schools is purely voluntary, but they are well-used by the expatriate community.

  • The AMEinfo site has a useful page of tips for selecting a good nursery: Click here
  • Information on choosing a nursery from the Dubai government: Click here