Home Education Children's Education School holidays in the UAE: 2021 and 2022
Last update on September 16, 2021
Written by Sarah Fairman

Plan your vacations, childcare, and more with our helpful guide to school holidays in the UAE for 2021 and 2022.

If you’re a parent living and working in the UAE, it’s important to know when your child’s school holidays fall. After all, with so many fun things to do with kids in the country, you’ll want to make time for them all. Luckily, this handy guide will help you keep track of all those important dates. It includes the following information:

An overview of school holidays in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education sets the minimum number of school days in the year (at least 182 teaching days) as well as the approved calendar for the school year. The school year runs from late August until the end of June, with two short holidays to break it up. Almost all schools in the UAE, including private and international schools, are expected to follow these dates.

UAE with kids: Yas Waterworld
Yas Waterworld: one of the many great family attractions in the UAE

There are three main school holidays in the UAE, as follows:

  • Winter break: two and a half weeks from mid-December to early January
  • Spring break: three weeks in late March to early April (international schools may split this into a two-week break and a one-week break)
  • Summer break: no more than 8.2 weeks between late June and early September

In addition to these breaks, children in the UAE get to enjoy 14 days off for public holidays throughout the year. These include both Gregorian and Islamic New Year, Eid al-Fitr, and the UAE’s National Day. If your child attends one of the country’s many international schools, they might also get to enjoy additional half-term breaks.

Children celebrating UAE National Day
Children celebrating UAE National Day

Both adults and children in the UAE get to enjoy a relatively generous number of free days surrounding the country’s national holidays and Islamic festivals. However, just bear in mind that a few businesses are closed during this time.

Furthermore, many of the celebrations and festivals that are held in the big cities are ‘dry’, which means that the sale of alcohol is restricted. Another thing to bear in mind is that the date for Eid al-Fitr depends on the sighting of the crescent moon; therefore, the actual date of the holiday might vary by a couple of days.

School holiday dates in the UAE 2021-22

  • Winter break: 12–30 December 2021
  • Spring break: 27 March – 14 April 2022
  • Summer break: Late June – 28 August 2022

Check with your school to find out the specific dates for the year.

School holiday dates in the UAE 2022-23

  • Winter break: 11 December 2022 – 1 January 2023
  • Spring break: 26 March – 13 April 2023
  • Summer break: Late June – late August 2023

All dates are subject to change.

Additional holidays and days off

As well as making note of the term dates above, it’s worth marking down these additional dates:

  • Gregorian New Year: 1 January
  • Eid Al-Fitr: 1–5 May (depending on the sighting of the crescent moon)
  • Arafah day and Eid Al-Adha: 8–11 July
  • Hijri New Year (Islamic New Year): 30 July
  • Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday: 8 October
  • Commemoration Day: 1 December
  • National Day: 2 and 3 December

You can find out more about these holidays in our guide.

Childcare during school holidays in the UAE

Although nurseries are not permitted to open during national holidays in the UAE, it’s unlikely that you’ll be at work on these days anyway. That said, because the UAE has relatively long holiday breaks, you might be looking for ways to keep your little ones occupied. Here are some options:

  • Nursery holiday camps: some private nurseries offer a holiday camp for at least part of the day during the school holidays. If your child attends a nursery or kindergarten in the UAE, then check with them to find out what they offer.
  • Sports camps: if you want your children to get some exercise during the holidays, then there are plenty of options. For example, if they love the water, DuDive diving holiday camp and Waves Academy offer intensive swimming courses. For those who want to stay dry, however, Infinite Sports offers multi-activity camps for kids.
  • Nannies and childminders: nannies are big business in the UAE, but it’s important to find a reputable provider and make sure that you clearly define your expectations. One option is to contact a childcare provider such as CloudNine Kids, which offers both babysitting services and childcare training in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.