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Nursery where kids are taught public speaking

Parents snap up £500-a-week nursery places with lessons in Mandarin and computer coding

24 February, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Safari Kid nurseries boast that their children will be one to two years ahead of their peers

A NURSERY offering lessons in Mandarin, computer coding and public speaking – which charges up to £500 a week – is to open its first UK centre in Clerkenwell.

Places for the nursery in the former St Clement’s church hall, in Central Street, are filling up fast, with some parents even signing up unborn children as far ahead as spring 2018.

Safari Kid chiefs Aniruddh Gupta and Gabrielle Seong Eun Oh have been swamped with inquiries from parents in Islington and beyond. “We have not seen such a high rate of interest anywhere else in the world,” said Mr Gupta, who is in charge of nurseries in Dubai, Malaysia, Hong Kong and India.

What does this tell them? “It must be a shortage of high-quality nurseries in this area and in London generally,” Mr Gupta, Safari Kid International chief executive, said.

“My friends who work in the City and who have children were telling me they just couldn’t get places,” added Ms Oh, who lives in Highbury and is UK managing director.

Finsbury has the second lowest level of childcare provision in the borough, according to Islington Council’s childcare sufficiency assessment. Though the child population is not as big as in other areas, this could well grow with the increasing number of housing developments.

Aniruddh Gupta and Gabrielle Seong Eun Oh

Foreign languages and computer coding for toddlers might sound a bit much for some parents, but Safari Kid insists this will still feel like a typical nursery.

“If you walk into our nurseries, you will see some children running about, some doing art and some working on a construction table,” Mr Gupta said. “The learning is done through play and experiences, like singing songs, for example. This is the way children learn best.”

But there is no doubt that challenging children is a priority. Safari Kids, which takes children aged from three months to five years, boasts that they will be one to two years ahead of their peers.

“That is the reason some parents will come to us,” said Mr Gupta. “But others just want a nursery where their children will have fun, with a high-quality environment and staff.”

Safari Kid parents can use a phone app to track their child’s progress.

Mr Gupta said their prices were slightly cheaper than other “good” or “outstanding” Ofsted-rated nurseries in the area. A 50-hour week for children under two will cost just short of £2,000, dropping to £1,600 for over-twos.

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