Smart from the Start
Build trusting relationships, improve mobility and coordination and express individuality.
Emotional and social growth, increased body awareness and development of individual talents.
Increased communication skills, refined motor skills, development of new physical abilities through creativity and individuality.
Improved language skills, reasoning and analyzing skills, collaboration skills and increased self-confidence.
At Smart Start, we provide an educational early learning environment that is also nurturing where children are encouraged to discover, play, grow and get SMARTER. Our vast numbers of extended programs are as unique as your child. Some programs include a pre-reading program, an art program, fitness and movement program, sign language instruction as well as providing children an environment rich in music, science and culture. Furthermore, there are opportunities for all children to participate in both structured and instructed group and individual play while ensuring a safe environment with the main component of FUN.
At Smart Start we know that parents lead a busy lifestyle and it is often difficult to juggle the demands of work and childcare hours. Hence parents opt to leave the children at home with a nanny or a relative. However, research strongly shows that quality childcare provides a child a sound foundation of lifelong learning and future success in building social interactions with the society at large. Understanding the struggles of parents work schedules, we at Smart Start Kinder Academy, provide the ideal solution to both parents and children, through our flexible timings, and drop in programs during key times of the year, so that parents can meet their daily needs.
At the heart of Smart Start Kinder Academy, a mother of two young girls, is Erem Kassam who acquired her Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University in Canada. She has also seen first-hand, the struggles of finding reliable, safe and healthy childcare that is also enriching for young children. She has worked in the field for over 20 years as a teacher, supervisor and director and knows how important it is that a centre is operated around both parents’ schedule and children's needs. Her most recent position was that of a professor teaching the Early Childhood Education course at a university level. She is passionate about children and encourages dialogue with parents, caregivers, support workers and most importantly the children. Her goal is to see that parents like yourself will feel the energy, passion, innovation, flexibility and reality of her unique program offerings and choose Smart Start as the ideal place for your child to grow, learn and get SMARTER. Join us in becoming part of a school that will one day be the leading school in Africa
Hello, my name is Erem Kassam and I have recently moved from Canada to this beautiful country. I have had over 25 years of experience in the early childhood sector and recently decided to bring my North American experience to Kenya, to open up a quality academy for young children. I have been actively involved in the concept of creating Smart Start Kinder Academy and will also be overseeing day to day running of the centre.
Along with my wealth of experience in Canada, I bring with me a plethora of qualifications - from being a college professor and teaching the Early Childhood Education diploma course, to a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Ryerson University - along with a number of courses under my belt that have been related to professional development including various certificates in both Leadership and Management.
I am honoured that you are considering Smart Start Kinder Academy as your child’s centre and am grateful for the opportunity to be entrusted with your child’s care. As a mother of two young children, I know how important quality childcare is and the difficulty of finding the right one. Hence, it is my promise to all of our parents that I will work tirelessly to ensure that your child is provided a safe and nurturing environment that will allow them to realize their full potential.
I have always believed in an open door policy and communication between parents, staff and myself. I am looking forward to connecting with each and every one of you, on a personal level, as we will be partners in your child’s education and care. Research strongly supports that ages 0-6 are the formative years. What better time to give your child the best start….a Smart Start!
Warm regards, Erem
At Smart Start Kinder Academy our goal is to ensure happy children, satisfied parents and high quality staff in a respectful and healthy environment through offering the highest quality childcare. We aim to provide an environment rich in learning experiences that will meet a child's social/emotional, physical and cognitive development while allowing children to enhance a positive self-image and confidence with realistic opportunities for success. Children will receive the best care the industry has to offer as we hope to be the role model of child care excellence for the community at large.
To develop your child's feelings of self-worth, positive self-image and competence.
To instil in your child a value of their own rights, the rights of others and how to live effectively with others.
To facilitate and expand your child's language skills, nurture and stimulate their natural curiosity as well as strengthen both fine and gross motor skills.
To create opportunities for your child to succeed physically, socially and intellectually.
To develop emotional stability by helping your child cope with their feelings and understand the appropriate behaviours when expressing their feelings.
To help your child develop their social awareness through socialization and interactions with their peers and educators.
Last but not the least, to train your child to get SMARTER in every walk of life.
Our Smart Start philosophy is to focus on the whole child to meet his or her social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs while providing an environment that is nurturing and safe. We provide opportunities for children to learn through open ended activities and experiences which allow the children to reach their individual full potential through manipulating, creating and problem solving for themselves at their own interest and comfort levels. We strive to encourage social interaction, creativity and independence, the enhancement of self-esteem as well as added stress on health, nutrition and safety. Another vital part of our philosophy is parental and community involvement.
Numerous opportunities are provided for parents to get involved, as we one day hope to see our children confidently become a part of our community and show respect and enthusiasm for the world around them, they are exposed to endless learning opportunities and exploration through supervised field trips within the community. Our curriculum includes artistic expression, science and exploration, language, music and movement as well as pre-literacy and reading.
At Smart Start, our number one priority is to ensure that we meet every child’s individual needs in a safe, secure and loving environment. Hence we don't take hiring lightly. In fact, all our child care staff is trained in child care safety standards, first aid, CPR and are required to complete thorough police and personal reference checks as well as provide an ongoing medical for their files. We offer professional development sessions to our staff on an ongoing basis to keep them up to date with current learning trends and governance. The more diverse our staff the better they are able to meet the needs of our diverse families within the community.
Baby Geniuses & Brilliant Babes: 6 months - 2 years
Transition is often the hardest milestone for parents with young children. Often times, this is probably more stressful for parents and caregivers. Hence, at Smart Start Kinder Academy, we try to work with your family to help you and your child make a smooth transition into our School. From day one we provide you with the information you will need on what to expect, along with a daily report of your child's day.
Day at a glance: As research shows infants learn about the world around them through their sense and that makes exploration a vital component for them. Our infants will enjoy a safe environment full of a wide range of sensory toys many of which make sounds, have textures or can be put in the mouth safely. Our educators will encourage your child to explore and learn on a daily basis through engaging in story time, songs, finger paints and playing with toys.
Rest assured that even though your child will be in a group setting they will increasing become more independent and will gain the necessary skills for transition into our Toddler room. The emergent curriculum meets the individual needs of each child in a group setting. Infants become increasingly independent and will gain the skills necessary to successfully transition into our Toddler program.
Clever Tots & Smarties: 2 years - 3 years
Our toddler space is built for active inquisitive minds with learning centers that focus on child choice and self-directed play as this is the age where they are striving for independence. Book nooks, sensory tables along with pretend pay areas will be offered to the children to help with their language development, socialization, fine motor skills, self-help skills and hand/eye coordination. Toddlers will learn memory skills and problem solving skills as wells as be exposed to pre reading and writing skills. The emphasis of our program at this age group will be on fundamentals of color, shapes, numbers, vocabulary and listening skills. Most importantly our toddler program will build your child's confidence needed to reach their individual full potential and prepare them for the preschool program.
Throughout the day, children will be encouraged to participate in physical activities such as running, climbing, jumping, dancing and simply put….having fun!
Shining Stars & Super Learners: 3 years – 4 years
We realize that preschoolers are eager to experiment with their new emerging vocabulary and hence we offer a program that nurtures their learning process by exposing them to new experiences. Our program focuses on the advanced use of language, math and scientific thought. In addition, our learning centers foster emerging interests, creative expression and encourage individual skills. At this age a child had a love of learning and we look to stimulate each child's innate curiosity and offer artistic expression through music, art drama and movement. Learning will focus on a child’s logical reasoning, story book character recognition tools and emphasis will be given to on size comparisons, sequencing and other foundational skills. Overall our program provides the foundation needed for children to excel in elementary school by ensuring that they have learnt new concepts, understand routines and understand the importance of sharing and respect.
Whiz Kids & Bright Minds: 4 years – 6 years
Our Smart Start kindergarten program is designed specifically for children who are 4 to 6 years of age in order to prepare them for Primary School. Our program offers play, learning and exploration with an environment that allows for lasting social relationships.
Curriculum: Our Smart Start kindergarten program puts emphasis on numeracy, early literacy, science skills, music, French, sports, drama and of course play. It is designed to build your child’s self-confidence so as to foster in them the love of learning, the ability to ask questions about the world around them as well as seek out answers.
Class size: We offer small class sizes so that children are given the individualized attention and support they require to maximize their learning potential.
Environment: It is a well-known fact that children learn the most when their environment is geared towards their interests. While we strive to ensure that every child gains the skills they need to succeed in primary school we go above and beyond the required curriculum. Our smaller class sizes and trained staff enable us to adapt early education to tailor to each child’s individual and developmental needs. This results in a structured atmosphere that is conducive to self-guided learning allowing a child to learn because they love what they are doing.
Providing a language rich environment to instil in them the love of language, book and reading through peer and teacher interactions, through listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Sign Language: Studies have shown that even before an infant can speak we are using sign language to help them communicate. By learning this vital skill at such a young age, we are paving your child's path to independence and thus enabling them to fully interact with those around them.
Books, games and literacy activities will help children understand the specifics of blending words, syllables, and the use of vowels, giving them a more confident command of language.
French: Our aim is to help your child succeed and broaden their horizons by enriching them with a bilingual education. Our program will give your child the opportunity to learn French through age appropriate, stimulating and hands-on activities. We feel that by using this approach your child will embrace this new language in a natural way. Our focus will be on teaching your child the basics such as greetings, foods, body parts and other everyday uses of the language.
Mathematical experiences are offered through counting, sorting, patterning and everyday problem solving.
Children will be taught math concepts such as measurement, probability, geometry and numeracy. They will learn about height and weight, shapes and solids as well as learn how to add, subtract and multiply. Numbers are all around and are important on a day to day basis. Our goal is therefore to in still a love of math to all children as this will only result in their future success in society.
Through nurturing a child's natural sense of wonder and curiosity we encourage children to question, experiment, observe, record, describe and form their conclusions.
We know that science is fun for kids because they look at science activities and experiments the same way they see magic tricks. Children are amazed by the world around them and the way it works. Our program will include science opportunities that incorporate all their senses and the use of color as we all know how children are attracted to bright objects. It is our goal to instil in your child a love for science. We will try to create as many Eureka moments as we can because that’s when we will know that they have in fact gotten it….isn’t that what it’s all about?
Acknowledging and valuing the rich cultural heritage of their peers, caregivers as well as the world around them and providing them with opportunities to learn about diversity and grow respect for their surroundings and the environment.
Our idea of diversity is something that is continuous and not just a one-time thing. It is something that we have implemented into our curriculum. We would like to help children take pride in themselves, their families and the diverse world around them, while exposing them to differences and experiences that are unfamiliar to them. Our goal is to challenge your child to think in a spectrum of colors, shapes and sizes but also engrave in them a tolerance and respect toward all those who they see as different. The realization will come that we are all humans and deserve the same treatment no matter what part of the world, not matter our strengths or what our circumstances may be. Some ways in which we at Smart Start will be incorporating diversity into our school will be through:
Being aware of themselves and their health through physical activities and nutrition and incorporating self-help skills and healthy habits into our daily routines.
Lessons about sharing and friendship will be taught through playing with toys.
Finger plays and songs while washing hands and brushing teeth will in still in children the need for good hygiene and will also foster social bonds with their peers.
Children will be given opportunities to participate in various cooking experiences. They will learn how to read recipes, the use of different ingredients, measuring amounts and basic cooking terminology. Most importantly children will learn about safety and hygiene while handling food and we are confident that this in turn will teach them the importance of a healthy diet.
Life can get hectic and stressful, even for young children. Therefore, we have developed a program to allow children to practice yoga through play based movements and activities. Your child will gain self-body awareness and a way to express their emotions and feelings in a healthy and calm manner. They will gain a sense of inner peace through the use of playful breathing and will be introduced to meditation through visualization and imagery. Studies have shown the following benefits of yoga activities for young children:
Instilling and developing an appreciation for art, music, dance and theatre as well as encouraging them to uncover their own talents and learn to express themselves artistically.
Research continues to prove that early exposure to music helps a child reason, think and better express themselves. It has also been known to lower stress levels and increase memory retention. Therefore, our program will gear towards children learning rhymes, songs and using instruments to express their creativity.
Participating in art based activities expands a child’s ability to interact with the world around them and allows them to have another means to express themselves. Studies show that not only does art develop the right side of the brain, but it also benefits a child’s overall development. But even beyond that, art allows a child to get messy and just be a kid.
Through various forms of art, children are expanding their communication skills, their problem solving skills, their social and emotional skills and their fine motor skills. For us at Smart Start, art is a process not a product!
Our school will have a garden to provide a natural learning opportunity for your child. Gardening will offer toddlers, preschoolers and the kindergartens a new and exciting experience combined with physical activity. Children will be thrilled to have the chance to dig in the dirt, watch plants grow and explore new foods. They will learn about the growth process and be looking forward to taste tasting.
Exploration will play a big role as they discover small forms of life such as seeds, insects, and nutrients in the soil as well as the importance of sunlight and water and how they all work together to sustain life. Children love the outdoors and this experience will give them a greater respect for the nature around them.
As sports are very important for gross motor development, we will be using the multi-sport approach to teach your child the basics of various sports. We will use both indoor and outdoor time to teach the children about physical fitness and encourage social interactions as well as the importance of being a team player.
As a valued parent, you know first-hand, many great reasons to send your child to Smart Start Kinder Academy. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that people trust the opinions and documented experiences of friends, neighbours and co-workers. At Smart Start Academy we know that we are committed to providing the best service possible to you and your child and that is why we would love your help in spreading the word about your wonderful experiences at our school. We would like to show our appreciation to you by offering you a one-time credit of KSH 10,000 towards your tuition, when someone you know registers at Smart Start Kinder Academy.
You will fill out the form below with your information and the information of the family you are referring in the message box.
As soon as that family registers their child into our program and completes their 1st term, you will receive a one-time credit of KSH 10,000 towards your next term with us. Hence if 3 children that you refer register then you will receive a total one-time credit of KSH 30,000!
The Details: The referred family must register for at least 1 term. You can refer more than one family. You will receive a one-time credit of KSH 10,000 for each child referred and registered. Please note only 1 credit will be issued per qualified referral. This referral program offer is for new registrations only. Smart Start Management reserves all rights to make changes or cancel this program without notice. This deal incentive has no cash value.
The decision about what to do for your child when they are going to start in our infant, toddler, preschool or kindergarten program is a tough choice for many parents. As parents ourselves, we know how important it is to gather all the information about a school in order to make an informed decision about what works best for you and your child. We have put together the following FAQ’s to assist you in this vital decision making process. If you have any additional questions or concerns please feel free to contact our Headmistress and she will be glad to assist you.
Q:What are your hours of operation and do you offer before and after school care? A:Our hours at Smart Start Kinder Academy are from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm based on the schedule you decide to select. We offer both full time care as well as part time care. If you require extended hours please our Headmistress and she will attempt to arrange an alternate schedule for you to meet your needs.
Q:Do you serve meals at the school? A:Yes. Based on the plan you select, we do serve a nutritious lunch as well as a mid-morning and mid afternoon snack. Please note: all children will be encouraged to taste all foods that are offered. If a child comes after a snack time, it will be the parents responsibility to ensure that their child has eaten prior to arriving, so as not to disturb the teaching schedule.
Q:Does Smart Start Kinder Academy take into account our religion, culture or allergies when offering food or participating in activities? A:Yes. We do not discriminate based on race, creed, color, religion, sex or national origin. We will work with you to provide vegetarian or other allergy free meals to your child to the best of our ability. If we are not able to meet any allergy needs, then we will gladly allow you bring alternatives to the school. You will also be notified if there are any special events or activities that will be taking place at the school so that you can determine whether you wish for your child to participate in them. Please note that our school is NUT FREE and PORK FREE.
Q:How will I know what my child is eating? A:Our menu is posted on the board on a rotational basis. It is also readily available on our website. Check out our Menu
Q:Will staff assist in toilet training? A:Yes. We believe that children are ready to begin toilet training when they are between the ages of 2 and 3 years. It is very important to us that all children are able to participate in the program and we will NOT EXCLUDE any child who is not yet fully trained. The “potty process” is an individual learning process, which all children develop at their own rates. Our belief, at Smart Start Kinder Academy is, that this process should never be rushed, and we are more than willing to help and support children in their developmental process. Any child who experiences a mishap in the classroom will be treated with respect and consideration, and an “accidents happen” attitude. When both parent and child are ready we will up with a personalized plan to assist you and your child. We will ask for your support on this as consistency between the school and home will ensure positive results. During this stage please be sure to provide us with several extra outfits in case of accidents.
Q:Will late fees charged? A:No. We do not believe in penalizing parents for traffic and other situations that may be beyond their control. However, we request that you inform us if you will be late so your child can be explained the reasons why they have not been picked up. We also request that you exercise common courtesy by attempting to arrive on time for pick up and drop off times unless there are unavoidable circumstances. If we feel that parents are frequently late, then this will be discussed in a meeting with the headmistress to determine if there is another schedule that may better meet your needs.
Q:Do you offer holiday care? Can older siblings also join in at these times? A:Yes. We know that parents work and it is difficult to manage vacation time every time there are extended holidays from school. Hence, at Smart Start Kinder Academy, we are pleased to offer holiday camps for both children that attend our facility and their siblings who are under the age of 12. Information on this and other events will be passed along to the parents closer to the time.
Q:Where will my infant sleep? A:Our facility has a designated tranquil area for sleeping. Each child will be allocated an individual crib with a crib sheet provided by the school. We ask that you parents bring in a small blankie for their child. The sleep room is supervised and/or monitored during the sleep period.
Q:Can I supply food from home for my infant? A:Yes, in the infant program we request that you provide formula, jarred food or food made at home. All food must be labeled with your child's name. We request that you respect that we are a NUT FREE/PORK FREE school.
Q:Do parents provide diapers and wipes? A:Diapers and wipes are provided by the parents and each child has a designated area where their belongings are kept. Please provide diapers, wipes, bottles and smoothers along with any other items that will provide comfort for your child during their time at Smart Start Kinder Academy. Please also ensure that all of your child’s belongings are labelled.
Q:Are all children required to take naps? A:No. Children under the age of 4 will be given naps at our school. These naps will be based on parental requirements. Children over the age of 4 will be given a 15 minute quiet time each afternoon. At this time, the children will participate in small group reading or personal reading.
Q:Will you administer medication if needed? A:We strongly encourage that children are kept at home if sick. There are specific guidelines that we follow to ensure the safety and health of all children and teachers. We will administer medication if the child is able to still participate in all areas of the program offered: inclusive of going outside. If a child becomes ill during the day, their parent will be notified and possibly asked to arrange to have the child picked up. All medication must be in its original container, accompanied by the appropriate paper work filled out by the child's parent.
Q:Do you encourage parent involvement? A:At Smart Start Kinder Academy, we foster an open door policy where parents are invited into the program to share the experiences that their children enjoy. In addition, we provide parents with daily reports on their child’s day along with a monthly newsletter to keep you abreast of the events at our school. Furthermore, we encourage parents to review the information boards that are placed throughout our school. Lastly, we provide our parents with bi-annual progress reports on their child’s development.
Q:Are the playgrounds checked for safety? A:There are regularly scheduled safety checks on the equipment and the surroundings in the playground. Different levels of checks are conducted daily, monthly and annually to ensure the highest playground safety standards.
Q:Does my child have to go outside? A:Yes! In order for the children to maintain a healthy balance, we take all our children outside for a minimum of 40 minutes both in the morning and afternoon to get exercise and fresh air. These fun times will help develop large and small muscle control as they run, jump, climb and enjoy the outdoors. Only in severe weather conditions will the children stay indoors. At these times, they will engage in gross motor activities within our school to keep them active.
Q:How does my child learn at Smart Start Kinder Academy? A:All of the children at Smart Start Kinder Academy learn a multitude of skills for lifelong learning through the many play experiences in their program each day. The curriculum is designed to ensure that the children have a variety of activities and equipment which foster continuous development in all areas of learning.
Q:Does your school have Parent Teacher Interviews? A:Yes. Twice a year Smart Start Kinder Academy provides progress reports and parent teacher interviews. This will give you more insight to your child's development and skills they have acquired.
Q:Is the information I provide to Smart Start Kinder Academy kept confidential? A:Yes. We strongly believe in confidentiality. No information that you provide us will be shared with 3rd parties without your consent (Examples of this may include 3rd party activities that may take place on site).
Q:What personal items do I need to provide for my child? A:We request that you provide your child with a change of clothing, labelled with your child’s name, to be used in case of an accident. In addition, we ask that you bring in a sun hat to participate in our outdoor program, a plastic bottle labelled with your child’s name, a small blanket for quiet time (depends on age of child), along with a toothbrush as we will be encouraging the habit of brushing teeth after meals. Please note that we will be providing mineral water throughout the day and having a water bottle handy will make it easier for your child to keep hydrated. We also require you to provide us with any medicine that your child is on, along with instructions. You are welcome to bring your child’s favourite blanket or stuffy for sleep time only. Lastly, please provide us with diapers and wipes if your child is not potty trained yet. Please DO NOT bring any toys from home unless requested for show and share days. These toys may become lost or damaged and cause unnecessary hardship to the children.
Q:How will you discipline my child? A:At Smart Start Kinder Academy we use positive discipline techniques such as making our expectations clear, providing reminders, and redirecting children. Physical and emotional punishments will not be used at the school. You will be informed if a problem persists or if we need cooperation from home so that we can be more consistent in what is expected. Routine problems will be handled without making a big deal of them.
Q:Can I have a quick smoke while picking up or dropping off my child? A:No. Unfortunately, we have a strict no smoking policy on our school property. This rule is for all those that are on the property including teachers, maintenance staff, parents and visitors.
Q:Anything else I should know? A:Everything you need to know is outlined in the Smart Start Kinder Academy Parent Handbook. We recommend that this document is carefully reviewed as it will answer many questions about our Policies and Procedures.
Our location is set in New Muthaiga which is an affluent suburb of Nairobi. Keeping in mind safety of your loved ones we chose a residential area that consists of villas and expansive lawns. Thigiri Ridge Road conveniently connects Peponi road with the Rosslyn and Gigiri areas and is in close proximity to Westlands, Kitisuru, Nyari, Runda and Parklands. Our site has 24 hour security personnel and along with prior consent we require photo identification if someone other than a parent or guardian is picking up your child. Furthermore our staff is trained in first aid, CPR as well as security and safety through drills and workshops.
We were grateful for the care and commitment that Ms. Erem showed to our daughter while she was enrolled in her class. She was always professional, friendly and made my child feel special and welcome. She always provided engaging activities for the children in her class. My daughter always came home with new and interesting things she had learnt. We are delighted with her development and progress and how much she has come out of her shell. I have had a very positive experience as a parent. Thank you Ms Erem. We miss you dearly. Mary Bailey - Parent
In my Opinion, the key to a successful childcare facility is a good director and we had the honor of having the best director. Ms Kassam was always responsive to our questions and concerns, followed through and followed up with us. She sincerely has top-notch communication skills and when asked for advice she always gives very thoughtful and helpful advice. Myself and many other parents felt that, them and their children were the most special at the center and this was the personal touch we all enjoyed. Best of luck with your new school. Cynthiana Edwards -Parent
To be honest I've never had a better pleasure working with someone as I did with Erem! She's kind, wonderful, understanding and a great person, she always treated the students as if they were her own children, she's got the biggest heart. Everyday you learned something new and I am happy that I had the chance to work along side her. Tricia Lynn Pawluk - Staff
Erem Kassam, has been one of my strongest support system and has helped me grow in the field of Early Childhood Education. She has not only supported me in my career adventures but has also encouraged myself and her staff. She is passionate about her interaction with children and enjoys to explore the endless possibilities of learning with them. With a strong personality, Erem is able to handle any situations or conflits by resolving them in a kindheart yet professional manner. She builds strong relationships with her staff, children and their parents in order to provide a quality program for children! Goodluck Erem and thank you for all the support you have given me! Fariha Momin - Staff