Our Team

Ashleigh Thompson

Ashleigh Thompson
Founding Director

After a very successful career in the UK, Ashleigh moved to Dubai to be a Head of Foundation Department in a large school. During this time Ashleigh developed a wealth of local knowledge and got to grips with the culture, heritage and national agenda of the country. Whilst in the UK, Ashleigh specialized in English Language and Literature, and specifically children’s literature. In her school in Newcastle, Ashleigh managed the French and early years department which was rated as ‘Outstanding’. In her role, she was responsible for adapting the outdoor shared classroom and she developed as a Forest School Practitioner by building in regular opportunities to use the Fire-pit with the children. Due to her success within the school, she was asked to work with other teams in the city to improve their ratings and to support them to grow and succeed. She also took on the role of Governor in the Primary setting, on the board of a Nursery and within a pro-active team at a Secondary School. She went on to complete her Masters in ‘Creative Writing in the Classroom’. She has written several children’s stories and her love for literacy continues to play a part in her life. Ashleigh’s vision for IDEA Early Learning Center is to create a center for literacy excellence right in the heart of Victory Heights.

Lauren Doherty

Lauren Doherty
Class Teacher

Lauren graduated from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, in June 2014 with a Bachelor of Honours degree in Early Primary Education, specialising in Early Years and Science. At the start of her second year of teaching, Lauren was promoted to subject coordinator. Lauren worked with staff and children to promote healthy wellbeing within the school and the school was awarded with Healthy School status. She also ran many extra-curricular activities such as choir arts and crafts and sports club. In a recent early years review, Lauren’s classroom provision was graded ‘Outstanding’ as was her learning behaviour within the classroom and whole school environment.

Clare Walker

Claire Walker
Class Teacher

Claire has been working as a teacher for the past four years. She holds a BSC from Manchester University and a CACHE qualification in Early Years. She followed her dream to become a teacher when she moved to the UAE six years ago. Her passion lies with the younger children and her strengths are with creative activities, movement and music. Claire maintains excellent relationships with parents and has been commended for her approach-ability and warm personality. She is particularly looking forward to working with our youngest children because this is where her experience is strongest and she feels very rewarded when she sees their many steps of progress and development.

Lexi Minchow

Lexi Minchow
Class Teacher

Lexi’s lifelong passion is learning and she is excited to be teaching and nurturing the love of learning with children at IDEA. Lexi has taught within a wide range of international classrooms including Australia, Japan, the USA and Guatemala. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at Nebraska Wesleyan University in the USA and her Graduate Diploma in Education at the University of Wollongong, Australia. She also has a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and taught English to non-native speakers in classrooms and privately while living in Japan. Most recently she was volunteer teaching in Guatemala at a non-profit school that provides quality education to those who need it most. Since arriving in Dubai, she has been teaching part time in a nursery.

Magda Hitchcock
Class Teacher

Magda has been working as an early years practitioner for over a decade now. She has had experience in British and American curriculum teaching in Dubai, London and Poland. Magda feels strongly about teaching in a multicultural environment and embracing all cultures in a classroom environment. Magda has a BA in teaching English as a foreign language, Cache Level 3, TOEFL Certificate and Brain Gym International Certificate. Magda is passionate about teaching through hands on and real life experience involving movement, lots of role play and social interaction. Magda’s background extends to working with families and emphasizing on the partnership with parents to achieve the best outcomes for the children in her care.

Annie Leonor

Annie Leonor
Teaching Assistant

Annie has 14 years of experience in education. She has a degree in Master of Arts in Education. She moved to Dubai due to pursue her passion in nurturing what she believes is life’s most important gift: ‘children’. She has taught at a nursery in Dubai and has completed a Diploma for Early Years (Cache Level 3 in Arabian Child- Early Childhood Education). Annie particularly enjoys observing children interacting with nature and seeing them begin build friendships, enjoy creativity, and simply enjoying their own child initiated play.

Joanne Fernando

Joanne Fernando
Teaching Assistant

Joanne obtained her diploma in the Montessori method of education in Sri Lanka in 2012 and then followed a certified course on counselling psychology. She has two and a half years experience in a nursery setting in Sri Lanka. Joanne then moved to Dubai in 2014 to continue her passion of working with children in an early years foundation stage class.

Rebecca Cueno

Rebecca Cueno
Teaching Assistant

Rebecca completed her degree in Saint Louis University in the Philippines. She has worked in nurseries with different age children for five years. She has her CACHE level 2 and is currently studying towards her CACHE level 3 for Early Years. IDEA recognized her talents and have sponsored her to complete this professional development. She believes that some of the most important skills to have when working with children are patience, flexibility and most of all love.

cathy

Cathy Victorio
Teaching Assistant

Catherine completed a BSBA major in management in the Philippines. She spent two years working in a primary school in Jumeirah and two and a half years in an EYFS setting in Downtown. Catherine’s interest in children’s development and her love for children keeps her motivated and plays an important role in her life. In the future she hopes to progress with her CACHE studies. Catherine is a hardworking mother to her daughter.

Marilen Lugtu

Marilen Lugtu
Teaching Assistant

Marilen graduated as a midwife and worked in a hospital in Singapore prior to moving to Dubai. She is particularly interested in supporting individual children’s age and stage of development in accordance with their growth and progress and she has CACHE Level 2 in Caring for Children and Young People. Marilen really enjoys keeping fit through Zumba and she has a grown up daughter.

Mary Canencia

Mary Canencia
Teaching Assistant

Mary is an experienced teaching assistant that brings a wealth of skills. Her calm and reassuring nature means that children warm to her personality and the high level of care which she provides. Mary can speak Arabic. Her several years of experience in Early Years settings allow her apply her knowledge quickly and ensure that she is well organized.

Vanessa Van Troys
Teaching Assistant

Vanessa studied special youth care in Belgium. She has been an expat in the Middle-East since 2012 and raised her own children in Dubai’s multicultural environment. Vanessa was motivated to join the IDEA team because she strives to guide and nurture a future generation of children. Her warm personality and her dedicated approach means that she has quickly become a valuable member of our team.

 

Katie Smillie
Teaching Assistant

Katie completed her National Certificate in Sports Coaching and Physical Activity at West College Scotland, UK, in 2012. She has been responsible for running many sports clubs with children and her responsibilities at IDEA included running extra-curricular activities within the center. Her passion for health and fitness extends to teaching children about wellbeing from a young age. She has recently been awarded a scholarship to study for CACHE Level 3 and she hopes to become a fully qualified teacher in the coming years.

Maricar Atamosa
Teaching Assistant

Maricar completed her degree in Bachelor of Science Major in Psychology, with a training background in Industrial Psychology, Counselling and Clinical Psychology in the Philippines. She had a successful career in Customer and Retail Sales Operation and has worked for eleven years before moving to Dubai. She has worked as Learning Support Assistant in a school in Dubai, which helped her gain knowledge on children with Special Educational Needs. Maricar’s patience facilitates her dedication  to high quality early years provision.

Cynthia Pacheco
Teaching Assistant

Cynthia is currently undergoing he Cache level 3. She has been in early years for five years. During this time she was promoted to greater responsibility. She enjoys opportunities to learn and better her skills and knowledge. She has planned activities that enable children to have fun, learn and develop. She is particularly interested in children’s critical thinking skills.

Lourdes Fernandez
Teaching Assistant

Lourdes holds a degree in Secondary Education and has a CACHE Level 1 in Early Years teaching. She has over 23 years experience in teaching, 13 years working as a Secondary teacher in the Philippines and more than 10 years in a nursery in Dubai. She is a devoted teaching assistant, dedicated to children’s learning and their development. Lourdes not only brings her extensive educational experience to the IDEA Team but her creativity, which always shines through in all she does. Through years of work with children, Lourdes has worked with children from a variety of different cultures.

Fathima Bibi
Teaching Assistant

Fathima joined the IDEA Team as a Childcare Assistant based in our infants classes. She has a Master of Commerce from India. Fathima brings a wonderfully calm disposition and children are drawn to her playful nature.

Rachelle Ibanez
Teaching Assistant

Rachelle joined the IDEA team as a Childcare Assistant based in our infants classes. Her qualification from the Philippines are based in Education. Rachelle has volunteered in her community as a facilitator of care during church services. She has two children and is skilled in nurturing children in their early years.

Hannah Mae Navales

Hannah Mae Navales
PA and Administrative Assistant

Hannah earned a degree in Business Management and won ‘Best Entrepreneur of the Year’ at University in 2009. She has worked in an administrative role for two years in a school in Dubai. Before this she worked as administrative manager in accounts for a well known printing company in Singapore. She also worked as branch officer in-charge for a successful company. She has been working overseas for four years and she is particularly dedicated and well-motivated to aim high with her goals.

Natalie

Natalie Molyneux
Registrar

Natalie had a successful career in the north west of England for several years before moving to Dubai. Her background is in marketing and administration and she had many achievements during her time working for BMW. Natalie also ran her own restaurant business, prior to making the move abroad with her husband and daughter. Since being in Dubai she has worked for a nursery and a school as a registrar so she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the IDEA team. In addition, as a reflective practitioner, she is able to draw upon her skills and understanding of the emirate.

Jen Baco
Accounts / Cashier

Jen has many years experience of being an Accountant for businesses both in Dubai and the Phillipines. She is skilled in producing accountancy reports, statements of accounts, bank reconciliation and she has worked as part of a successful team. Jen’s meticulous attention to detail is invaluable. She also has many people skills and understands how to communicate effectively.