If you follow my blog, you know that A. I never had any doubt about going back to work, and B. that I was not keen on having a nanny, and a nursery was more preferred by both the husband and myself.
And since we are in my boy’s birthday month, I think it is only fair that I post about one of the most positive influences in his life – the Eldertree Nursery in Al Luqta – which is also one of the best decisions we have made as parents.
When I was looking at nurseries close to where I work, another mommy recommended Eldertree to me. Her boy had gone there when he was 2m old and was soon graduating and they loved it. The former manager of the facility also recommended it to me, because of its proximity to my workplace.
When I started my search for a nice nursery, Eldertree was the only I visited. Because I was happy with the place. And my gut instinct was to go with it. It is a beautiful villa – with grass outside, and even a small play area. And important point – it had a fire exit.
But my concern obviously was the baby room. It was quiet and cozy, had windows to let light in, blinds to make it darker when needed, soft floors, cots for each baby, toys, and I just felt safe and comfortable while I was there.
And there definitely was genuine warmth from the lovely ladies I met – right from Ms Charisma, the manager, to Ms Eman, the babyroom teacher, who is supported by Ms Clang. From watching them interact with the babies, I knew there was a real connection, that they do sincerely care about these little ones in their care.
Two things stood out –
- I didn’t go to the diaper changing area on my first visit. Because I forgot. But when I returned later with my husband, the manager made it a point to show it to me – I didn’t have to ask.
- When I was there to talk about details, I put Ayan in his car seat next to me in the reception area, and the ladies from the baby room came and asked me if it was okay to move him to the baby room, so that his sleep doesn’t get disturbed.
These little details are impressed me. To me, it showed that they cared!
I then had a long chat with Ms Eman, about what they need, what they will do since my boy is breastfeeding, and would need pumped milk, about sleeping, about being with other babies, and tens of other doubts, which she calmly cleared.
My mom in law, and my parents visited the place as well, and all of us felt good about the choice.
What I liked:
- The nursery meets the standards set forth by the ministry, and there are unannounced visits from the ministry officials to check.
- The baby’s room doe not follow a strict schedule. They have a schedule of sorts, but follow the baby’s cues in terms of feeding and sleeping.
- The nursery also has a doctor come in once a month, and there is usually someone on the premises who has some kind of medical training.
But the first day – dropping him off – did break my heart a little. And during that day, I popped over unannounced twice I think – and both the times, he was happy and seemed to be fine to be there.
Over time, I met the other caretakers including Ms Jenny, and Ms Janet, and I have always felt the same – that they do fully 100% care about the kids in their care. It isn’t just another “job”.
From 2 months on, till now, and he’s going to be a year, it has been amazing to see how they engage with him, and involve him in different age appropriate activities. They read to him, and sing to him, and do a number of sensory activities.
They have done jelly play, water play, and regularly do coloring activities. Recently they did a monster with wool activity, and during circle time, they all listen to stories and tales. They learn about letters and phonetics, and spend a lot of time playing as well.
I must say I have absolutely loved the activity days. At the end of the first month, we were lucky to witness a graduation (which is for the senior 3-year-old students), and there was a card with his footprint made for father’s day. Thursdays are always exciting – they have green days, and red days, and orange days. They have the ladies and gentlemen day, and the photo-booth day.
The Garangao celebrations were wonderful. Ayan wore his first thobe. And there were story telling sessions and other activities. During National Day, the children participated in a concert. I almost bawled my eyes out even though my boy was not part of it. Young ones, aged up to 3 years, in their Arab best attire, standing in front of a crowd and performing. Imagine that! It was superb! I can’t wait to see Ayan perform!
Another interesting thing is how they constantly change the artwork around the nursery. Each week, it celebrates a different theme, and it is all done by the older students. It is quite motivating for the kids to see their work on show, I am sure.
There have been puppet shows put on by the staff – and the amount of work that each of them individually does to making it a grand and interesting production is simply awesome.
One of Ayan’s favourite areas is the soft play room. Like the name suggests, it is a room where they can sit, crawl, walk, or run without the worry of falling. The big boulder like soft play elements add to the experience, because it encourages him to stand up and move around!
Another awesome element of the nursery is the fact that they use the HiMama app. The app allows them to send photos and videos to me regularly, as well a daily report. The daily report highlights their entire day – naps, food and drinks, bathroom use, and any other notes that are relevant for that day.
I joke about it and say that they take better care of him than I do sometimes, and it is true – for example – the vitamin D drops. I had to give it to him daily, and I kept forgetting and forgetting, and it become random till I handed that task over to the nursery, where they do it regularly without fail.
And the fact that they have had so much experience with little babies mean that they know better than me in a lot of things. For example – solids. I have been spectacularly failing at trying to get him to eat, but the nursery has had a lot more success than I have. Also, when my boy had a bad case of diaper rash, their advice was very helpful.
Eldertree’s mission statement reads:
“We firmly believe that every child has a right to an education, a place where they can play in safety and security; where they will be given warmth and the highest quality of care. We also believe that parents should feel comfortable, confident and supported, knowing that their child is in capable hands.”, and I must admit they do live up to it.
From sitting in the rocker, to jumperoo, to high chair, and a regular baby chair; from lying down, to turning over, to crawling to standing up; from only milk to milk and one meal, and then milk, one meal and a snack; from slight fevers, and a diaper rash, from tears to laughter, and fun, and games, the Eldertree Nursery has been such a big part of Ayan’s life, and I will be eternally grateful for the role they have played in raising my boy!