Lisa Fernandes, General Manager of Dubai-based Adventure Kids Nursery (www.adventurekidsnursery.com), has 25 years of experience in the Middle East in the field of education. "I find working with children very rewarding. My forte is to train and empower my team to deliver their best. I believe in 'education' in the true sense of the word. Educating young children in my opinion means a holistic development in all areas. I believe that if we are able to motivate a child to believe in him/herself and build self-confidence, he or she will become a confident adult, and thus, succeed in any challenging environment," says Lisa adding, "It is said that 'a child's first teacher can make or break him/her', and I believe this to be very true."
Adventure Kids Nursery is located in the heart of Jumeirah and offers large indoor and outdoor spaces. "We take pride in offering a 'home away from home' atmosphere where every child feels loved, appreciated and encouraged. In my opinion, what sets us apart is our philosophy; I tell my team to remember one important thing when they are with the children: 'How would they like their own child to be taken care of?' I ask them then to treat each child with the same affection and care. I ensure that in my day's work, every child is valued and made to feel special by praising and building on every little effort the child makes," she adds.
Referring to the modern child and the challenges involved in keeping up with a dynamic world, Lisa says: "Today's children are tech-savvy; even a three-year-old child can play confidently with an iPad or smartphone and even check Google and other media. This is a good thing and this is what the future holds. However, in my opinion, what matters most is for children to be in touch with themselves in relation to the natural world and to be able to make clear-cut distinctions between real and make-believe."
Lisa stresses that it is important for children to be in touch with nature, walk in the park, hear the birds sing and see how they build their nests. Children need to get messy, play in the sand on the beach and dip their feet into a pond or a running stream.
"It is always a joy to see them enjoy stroking a rabbit or talk about their pets at home. At AKN, we believe in being environmentally friendly and encourage recycling and junk modelling. We have found that children are fascinated when they are able to convert a carton box into a little car or run around in the garden," she says, adding that gymnastics, yoga and ballet are offered besides the regular curriculum.
Elaborating on the teacher to student ratio, Lisa says, "The ratio depends on the age group. With the babies, it is one adult to three children, and with the older children, it is one adult to six or seven children. We are expecting to have a full capacity for the coming academic year."
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