Early Learning

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ASD’s Early Learning Center is an on-campus, purpose-built, flexible learning environment for PreK, K1, and K2 students.

ELC Philosophy

The Early Learning Community at the American School of Dubai is a school for innovative early education. In a nurturing environment where all children learn and grow, we celebrate and respect children as resilient, capable, competent learners who are full of wonder and potential. We value the diversity of our community and appreciate the unique contributions of each family, culture, and background. In our Reggio-inspired play-based environment, children have authentic opportunities to work, play, socialize, create, and collaborate to make sense of their world. Through inquiry, discovery, exploration, and intentional teaching children engage in transdisciplinary experiences. The early learning experience provides children the opportunity to develop foundational skills that define themselves as innovative, empathetic, and global citizens.


Early Learning

The Early Learning program at ASD takes a student-centered approach with a focus on inquiry-based learning. In our Reggio Emilia-inspired play-based environment, children have authentic opportunities to work, play, socialize, negotiate with others, and make sense of their world. Through inquiry, discovery, exploration, and thoughtful intentional teaching, children will engage in interrelated experiences including math, science, social studies, music, and Arabic.

Meet Debra Strate

Early Learning School Principal

Deb Strate joined ASD in 2009 as a K2 classroom teacher.  She then moved to the Elementary Associate Principal for grades K1 - G2 position in 2011.  She has also served as the Elementary Interim Principal and is now the Principal of the Early Learning Center.  Deb received her Master of Arts in Education from the University of Nebraska - Kearney and her administrative endorsement from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.  She has worked as a primary classroom educator,  Literacy coach and college adjunct faculty in the school of education prior to moving to Dubai.  Deb has a passion for literacy and early years education and continues to collaborate with the Early Learning Center faculty and staff in the creation of a Reggio inspired, play based learning experience for our PreK, K1 and K2 children that provides an authentic opportunity for each child to grow as an independent learner and contributor to their learning community. 

Debra Strate Profile

The best things about working at ASD are the people I get to work with and learn from every day. The ASD community is amazing!

Jan Brett books—especially The Mitten

I love to cook and bake. Especially bake!

Measuring Success

The early learning experience is formative in providing children the opportunity to begin to develop foundational skills that define themselves and their love for learning. 

Learning in the Early Learning Center follows AERO standards for K2 and Florida Developmental Standards for PreK and K1. Teachers facilitate learning in a variety of group settings and strategically contribute to and guide learning based on students’ interests and learning styles.

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Campus Facilities

ASD’s PreK program allows entry for 3-year old learners into an active K-12 community and to benefit from connections to older learners, world-class facilities, and extracurriculars. Our 23-acre campus in Al Barsha includes a sustainable garden, STEAM labs and maker spaces, two libraries, a 630-seat performing arts theatre, covered playgrounds, and extensive athletics facilities that include a climbing wall, tennis courts, and two 25-meter pools.

Campus Recreation

Students in K1 and K2 have access to a variety of after-school activities in engineering, languages, sports, and the arts.

Early Learning Center


Early Learning at the American School of Dubai provides a nurturing community where all children can learn and grow. We celebrate children as strong, capable, competent learners who are full of potential and appreciate and value different family, cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds.

ASD’s PreK curriculum is designed for children who have turned 3 years of age by September 1 of the academic year for which they are applying, and 4 years of age for K1. Non-native English speaking students will be expected to demonstrate an acceptable level of fluency in English to be eligible for admission.