In conversation with Bernadette King-Turner, Founding Partner and Managing Director, Yellow Brick Road and Crystal Valley Nurseries
Could you tell us about Yellow Brick Road and Crystal Valley nurseries explaining what makes these centres truly unique in the UAE’s crowded early education space?
Yellow Brick Road and Crystal Valley nurseries care for babies and children from 45 days up to three-plus years.
We are open from 7am until 6pm, offering working parents the flexibility to collect their children after work. We have a clinic, licensed by Dubai Health Authority (DHA), registered nurses, and experienced and qualified staff to run the centres.
We also have dedicated dining rooms, where we serve freshly prepared meals.
Yellow Brick Road and Crystal Valley Nurseries are truly unique because we create the perfect balance between child-initiated and teacher-led learning and instructions.
Yellow Brick Road and Crystal Valley Nurseries are truly unique because we create the perfect balance between child-initiated and teacher-led learning and instructions. We take great care in choosing the nursery staff, looking at their professional qualifications and their innate ability to instinctively and intuitively listen to a child’s voice. These are the nurseries that indeed walk the talk.
We guarantee a safe, secure and loving environment, where every child’s individuality is celebrated. The nurseries follow the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to the EYFS curriculum, which emphasises personalised learning.
What are your nurseries’ policies for health, safety and hygiene?
The staff at the nurseries are greatly concerned about the health and well-being of children entrusted in their care, and they go over and above the usual norms to ensure the highest possible standards in safety and hygiene.
All staff adhere to the uniform policy where they wear their uniform upon arrival at the nursery and change out of it at the end of the day.
They need to tie their hair in a bun, covering it with nets, when they enter the dining rooms during meal times as well as in the rooms for the newborns and babies.
We also don’t allow them to walk around the nursery wearing outside shoes.
All staff have municipality health cards stating they are free from any infectious diseases or parasites. They also have first aid certificates, while our kitchen staff carry Boecker PIC certification.
Sustainability is an integral part of our operations and we use open-ended, natural classroom resources. We don’t encourage the use of single-use plastics, such as glitter, straws, cups, cutlery and balloons made from plastics. The nurseries have their own dedicated housekeeping team to keep everything clean throughout the day. We also employ full-time hygienist staff to care for the toddlers’ nappy changing and bathroom needs.
We use copper cladding on all common doors to prevent cross-contamination. We have also installed air purifiers to control indoor air pollution.
What steps have you taken to protect children from catching infections?
We check body temperatures of all children upon their arrival at the nursery in the morning, repeating it late in the morning and before the dispersal of students in the afternoon. Parents must acknowledge a daily health declaration form stating whether their child was unwell during the night or if any members of the family was down with the flu. We don’t allow children or staff to attend the nursery when they are sick.
Eating food is permitted only within the dedicated dining rooms and we don’t let children to eat in the classrooms to maintain health and hygiene.
Staff and the children together practise healthy mindfulness sessions regularly to stay calm, positive and happy.
How do you promote the idea of healthy eating in schools?
Nursery dining times are the perfect opportunities to promote healthy eating habits in the early years.
Children at our nurseries thoroughly enjoy their mealtime experiences. Eating together is a good opportunity for meaningful social interactions and practice proper dining etiquette. It is during the breakfast and lunch times that children develop many excellent behavioural qualities such as sharing, patience, politeness, understanding and acceptance.
The nurseries actively promote healthy eating and food safety, discouraging the consumption of highly processed, packaged food, sugary and fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets, chocolate and chewing gums.