Early Childhood Center Quality Standards

What are the Jawda – Quality Improvement Program® Standards?

Jawda – Quality Improvement Program® is a context-specific, outcomes-based system that incorporates global best practices in quality children’s centers & integrates it with the uniqueness of the local culture & the current context of early learning development.

On this page, you will find a list of the Jawda standards. The standards are divided as follows:

  • Domains
  • Key Areas
  • Assessment Criteria

Next to each of the assessment criteria, you will find the letters D, O, or I, or some combination of these letters. These letters refer to how these criteria will be assessed.

  • D refers to documentation.
  • O refers to observation, and
  • I refers to the interview. 

If the criteria have the letters D and I next to it, then it means that this particular criterion will be assessed through documentation as well as an interview with the relevant persons. 

Child Learning and Development
Child Protection, Health and Safety
Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development
Citizenship, Community Partnership and Family Relationships
Indoor and Outdoor Environments
Leadership, Management and Administration
Educational programChild protectionStaff qualificationsRelationship with parentsIndoor & outdoor environmentLeadership
CurriculumChild safetyProfessional developmentCommunity partnershipResourcesOperations
Relationships and InteractionsChild health and well-beingStaffingCitizenshipProvisions for children with special needsHR and financial management



Key Area 1: Educational Program

Quality early years settings use a developmentally appropriate curriculum that includes all areas of learning and child development, a wide range of experiences and opportunities to enhance and extend children learning as well as screening tools, ongoing formative assessments and observations that guide curriculum planning and differentiation.

  1. A Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum is used with a balanced arrange of cognitive, social and physical activities (D/O).
  2. Ongoing Assessment of children’s learning and development is conducted (D/O).
  3. An effective behaviour management system is in place (D/O/I).

Key Area 2: Curriculum

Quality early years settings implement a curriculum that is thoughtfully planned and developmentally appropriate and includes a wide range of challenging and engaging learning opportunities which are likely to promote positive outcomes for all children.

  1. Opportunities are evident for expanding vocabulary (D/O).
  2. Teachers encourage the use of language (D/O/I).
  3. Use of books with children (D/O).
  4. Wide range of Learning Opportunities (D/O).
  5. Individualized Attention (D/O).
  6. Positive Transitions & Waiting Times (D/O).
  7. Opportunities for Free Play (D/O).
  8. Gross Motor Activities (D/O).

Key Area 3: Relationships and Interactions

Quality early years’ settings, staff encourage relationships and interactions among children that are positive, warm and nurturing while also receiving ongoing professional development to support the development of these relationships.

  1. Positive Staff-child interaction (D/O).
  2. Peer Interaction (D/O).
  3. Discipline (D/O).


Key Area 1: Child Protection

Quality early years settings effectively implement policies and practice that ensure children are safeguarded at all times and promote their physical and emotional well-being.

  1. Well-articulated policies and clear procedures for: Handling and reporting cases of child abuse/ neglect (D/I).
  2. Well-articulated policies and clear procedures for: Keeping children safe from online threats/ dangers (D/I).
  3. Well-articulated policies and clear procedures for: Preventing and handling bullying/peer abuse (D/I).
  4. Thorough Staff Screening Procedures are implemented to ensure suitability of candidates (D/I).
  5. Staff Code of Conduct provides guidelines and communicates behaviour expectations (D/I).
  6. Comprehensive training for staff and awareness training for parents are included in the professional development plan (D/I).

Key Area 2:  Child Safety

Quality early years settings have well-articulated and clear policies, procedures and practices in place for safeguarding the health and safety of children and staff.

  1. Written procedures are in place for assessing and managing risks and for handling incidents/accidents (D).
  2. Emergency and evacuation procedures and practices are in place (D).
  3. Written procedures are in place for assessing and managing risks during outings and transport (D).
  4. Personal safety is included in the Curriculum (D).

Key Area  3:  Child Health and Wellbeing

Quality early years’ settings support healthy lifestyle through the promotion of healthy and nutritious eating and healthy habits.

  1. Healthy eating is promoted through the monitoring of children’s snacks/meals and through the involvement of parents and the whole community (D/I).
  2. High standards of hygiene are promoted (D/O/I).
  3. Clear procedures are defined for dealing with sickness and administering medication (for children and staff) (D/I).

DOMAIN 3: Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development

Key Area 1: Staff Qualifications

Quality early years settings ensure that staff who work directly with children have appropriate qualifications & experience to supervise educators, lead and/or assist in an early years classroom.

  1. Managers/principals have appropriate qualifications and experience for managerial/supervisory post (D).
  2. Lead Teachers (lts) and teaching assistants (tas) have qualifications appropriate for the care and development of children (D).
  3. All other staff who provide care and look after children (e.g. Nurse, helpers and volunteers) have an appropriate qualification (D).

Key Area 2: Professional Development

Quality early years settings empower and support their staff through professional development that promotes children’s learning and development as well as families’ needs.

  1. Center staff continuously engage in professional development (D).
  2. Professional Development (PD) Plan covers wide range of relevant topics which are periodically reviewed (D).

Key Area 3: Staffing

Quality early years settings provide appropriate adult-to-child ratios and groupings and ensure that children are at all times adequately supervised and attended by qualified staff.

  1. Center maintains at all times the required educator-to-child ratios based on the children’s age (D/O).

DOMAIN 4: Citizenship, Community Partnership and Family Relationships

Key Area 1: Relationship with Parents

Quality Early Years Settings establish and maintain collaborative relationships with parents and families through constant communication and ongoing opportunities for parental involvement.

  1. Communication with parents is constant and through various channels (D/I).
  2. Adequate information is provided for parents about diverse relevant issues on a regular basis (D/I).
  3. Diverse forms of parent involvement are available and encouraged (D/I). 

Key Area 2: Community Partnership

Quality early years’ settings establish reciprocally beneficial relationships with the community and use its resources to enhance children’s learning and the achievement of organizational goals.

  1. Communication with other agencies and programmes is promoted in order to enhance achievement of outcomes (D).
  2. Community and Family Resources are utilized to enrich learning experiences and benefit the children and their families (D).
  3. Community relationships are promoted by engaging with other organizations/groups and participating in community events (D).

Key Area 3: Citizenship

Quality early years’ settings promote children’s social development by developing their understanding of the community and society and by providing opportunities for responsible and active citizenship.

  1. Center promotes Arabic culture and Islamic values (D/O).
  2. Center promotes diversity and respect for all cultural backgrounds (D/O).
  3. Social responsibility is promoted through projects that support the community/ environment and raise awareness (D). 

DOMAIN 5: Indoor and Outdoor Environments

Key Area 1:  Indoor & Outdoor Environment

Quality early years settings have a safe and healthy environment which is well- maintained and equipped with age-appropriate resources that promote all aspects of child development.

  1. Ample indoor space that is well-lit and ample enough to accommodate all activities (O).
  2. Furnishings for care, play & learning (O).
  3. Room arrangement for play and learning (O).
  4. Space and Equipment for Gross Motor Play (O).

Key Area 2: Resources

Quality early years settings have age appropriate resources to develop all aspects of child development through different types of play and learning opportunities.

  1. Fine Motor materials and resources used appropriate with children to develop their skill (O).
  2. Art materials and resources used appropriate with children to develop their skill (O).
  3. Blocks materials and resources used appropriate with children to develop their skill (O).
  4. Dramatic play materials and resources used appropriate with children to develop their skill (O).
  5. Math materials and resources used appropriate with children to develop their skill (O).
  6. Technology is used in a developmentally appropriate way (O).

Key Area 3: Provisions for Children with Special Needs

Quality early years settings welcome children with SEN, make adaptations where possible and develop IEP for each child.

  1. Children with disabilities have adapted furniture to meet their needs (D/O/NA).
  2. All play are accessible for enrolled children with disabilities requiring special accommodation (D/O/NA).
  3. Adaptations are made or special equipment provided for children with disabilities in the group who requires them (D/O/NA). 

DOMAIN 6: Leadership, Management and Administration

Key Area 1: Leadership

Quality early years settings have competent and knowledgeable leadership that provides clear direction as well as improvement guidance in the efforts to achieve organizational goals.

  1. Well-articulated Mission and Vision describe values and objectives for the provision of care/education which guide setting operations and are shared with the staff & parents (D/I).
  2. Strategic Planning process outlines the actions to be undertaken to improve services and sustain the program (D/I).
  3. Assessment & improvement process is based on evidence from all areas of service operation1 and linked to setting’s mission and vision (D/I).
  4. Involvement of third party to provide specialized support and guidance for assessment and/or feedback (D/I).

Key Area 2: Operations

Quality early years settings have operating systems and mechanisms that ensure compliance with government regulations and promote business sustainability.

  1. Financial Operations include standard accounting practices and appropriate documentation & records are kept (D).
  2. Record-Keeping & Information- Management System used to keep written records of information and documentation, providing evidence that processes are followed and goals/targets are met (D).
  3. Maintenance System outlines clear procedures for keeping the premises, equipment and material in good conditions (D).

Key Area 3: HR Management

Quality early years settings use suitable human resource practices with clear well-functioning personnel policies, systems and procedures are implemented to ensure effective staff performance, fulfill qualification requirements and promote continuous improvement.

HR Management System includes policies & procedures clearly stated and shared with the staff (D).

Collection of Evidence

Early childhood centres applying for accreditation through the Jawda program will be expected to prepare and organize the evidence for each standard prior to the assessment visit.  In order to be awarded a tier level rating, the center must provide evidence in all domains and areas included in the Jawda standards and meet all criteria for each of the quality standards. The assessment in a specific domain will be deemed incomplete when documents submitted are insufficient or when they do not meet the requirements of the assessment standard criteria. However, documentation may be supplemented, when pertinent, with evidence collected through other methods.

During the assessment visit, the evidence will be collected through:

Documents (D):

  • Evidence of nursery operation and curriculum implementation.
  • Record of activities and events that nursery staff has participated and/or organized.

Observation (O):

  • Of practices and performance
  • Of facilities and resources available

Interviews (I):

  • With various stakeholders (e.g., managers, teachers, nurses, parents, community members) to elicit information and perceptions related to the various aspects in each domain.
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