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 Pre KG Ladybugs

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.

Claire Walker

Claire Walker
Class Teacher Nursery Honeybees

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 KG1 Butterflies

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

Magda Hitchcock
Class Teacher Nursery Grasshoppers

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
Class Teacher Infants Minibeasts

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.

Rebecca Cueno

Rebecca Cueno
Class Teacher Nursery Dragonflies

Rebecca has worked in nurseries and schools with different age children for five years. Rebecca came to us with a CACHE level 2 qualification and we recognized her talents and her potential to continue develop as an Early Years Practitioner. For this reason IDEA sponsored Rebecca to complete her CACHE level 3 for Early Years. For the academic year 2017 will be the Class Teacher for one of our Nursery classes. She believes that some of the most important skills to have when working with children are patience, flexibility and most of all love.

Marilen Lugtu

Marilen Lugtu
Class Teacher Babies Tadpoles

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’s experience with babies is invaluable to our team. Marilen really enjoys keeping fit through Zumba and she has a grown up daughter.

Nichola Al Ali
Class Teacher Infants Caterpillars

Nichola has lived and worked in the UAE for several years. She is an experience Infant and Nursery teacher who brings a wealth of knowledge about the crucial foundations of a child’s development. Nichola holds a CACHE 3 qualification in Early Years. Nichola’s son attends IDEA ELC and it is through her engagement as a parent that we recognized her potential as a teacher and we welcomed her into the team.

Cathy Victorio

Catherine 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.

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.

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.

Maricar Atamosa

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
Class Teacher Infants Beetles

Cynthia has completed her Cache level 3 along with numerous other early childhood courses. Cynthia is committed to professional development and stays well informed on new teaching ideas. She is a talented practitioner with five years experience. During this time she was promoted to greater responsibility. During her time at IDEA, Cynthia 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.

Bernadith Rodrigo
Teaching Assistant

Bern earned her Bachelor of Elementary Education in the University of Southern Mindanao, Philippines. She completed a caregiver course and has accumulated 5 years of Early Childhood Education in Dubai. Bern is a beach lover, loves to play board games and a book enthusiast. she marvels on how children explore and discover their world using their own inventiveness and creativity. She believes at heart that young children don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. In the future, she hopes to progress with her CACHE studies as she believes everyone should invest in personal and professional development.

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.

Sue Lindsay
Teaching Assistant

Sue has worked within the UK Education system for 17 years, 10 of those as a Teaching Assistant within a primary school. With an NVQ Level 3 in Early Years in Education Sue brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to IDEA ELC. Sue has a passion for working with children of all ages and specialises in emotional intelligence. As a practicing Master Life Coach she understands that the level of happiness we feel is a direct result of the quality of our relationships. Therefore, Sue focusses on empowering the children to be the best they can be whilst building positive relationships with their peers and adults alike.

Janie Low
Teaching Assistant

Janie graduated from university with a BA (hons) degree in Law and Management. She spent the early part of her career working in management roles within the pharmaceutical Industry in the UK. Eight years ago she took a career break to have her family and then relocated to Dubai with her husband and children in 2013. Janie gained experience volunteering at IDEA prior to commencing work. Janie has a love for education and a passion for art and drama and has decided to further her career as TA with the hope of becoming a teacher one day.

Manik Fernando
Teaching Assistant

Manik is a talented professional with a Diploma in pre-school education. Manik’s passion is reading with children and she has helped to further establish the library at IDEA. She has a Cache level 2 and is looking forward furthering her studies and learning more about Child Led Learning with The Creative Curriculum.

Chandima Perera
Teaching Assistant

Chandima has a wealth of experience as a teaching assistant. She has dedicated years of her life to ensuring children receive the highest possible levels of care. She has a delightful calm personality and children, parents and staff are drawn to her cheerful nature. She is a real asset to IDEA ELC.

Binali Peiris
Teaching Assistant

Binali completed her Primary Diploma and Pre-School Diploma in 2017. She has one year teaching experience in a nursery in Sri Lanka. Binali has settled in very quickly at IDEA because she is so flexible and creative.

Eneliza Penalba
Teaching Assistant

Eneliza is a wonderfully talented early years professional. Her passion for working with children permeates every aspect of her life and her interactions with children further highlight this dedication. Eneliza believes empowering children’s ability to make choices is how they best grow and develop. She loves reading with children. Eneliza has been an early years teacher in schools and nurseries and is welcomed into her role as teaching assistant at IDEA.

Czearina Quiambao
Teaching Assistant

Czearina began her teaching experience in Dubai and came very highly recommended to IDEA. As a teaching assistant she feels it is a privilege to help children grow and develop enquiring minds. Czearina wanted to work at IDEA because she had heard about positive environment, caring teams and strong values. Czearina is very active out of school and loves sports, particularly volleyball and she is currently learning how to play tennis.

Elaine Bermudez
Teaching Assistant

Elaine had 10 years experience teaching in her home country and she moved to Dubai to broaden her understanding of teaching strategies. Elaine is musical, warm and has a great sense of humor which children are drawn to. Elaine is passionate about caring for our youngest children.

Victoria Mugova
Teaching Assistant

Victoria is highly qualified with a Diploma in Early Years and Child Development. After 5 years as a teacher, she moved to Dubai to further her experience. So that she could gain experience she has volunteered in many nurseries. As part of an Early Years forum she heard about the potential opportunity to join IDEA and from the moment she entered the center she knew this would be a place that she could shine. Victoria always puts a child’s needs an interests first.

Nima Vimson
Nurse

Nima graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mahatma Gandhi University, India. She has been working as Registered Nurse for more than 10 years. She started her career as an emergency and Trauma care nurse in one of the reputed hospitals in India and then she moved to Saudi Arabia and worked in the same field for Saudi Ministry of Health. In 2012 she moved to Dubai and started to work as a school health nurse. Nima has a little boy who keeps her very active. She is known for her calm disposition. Working with young children and babies has always been a passion for Nima and she takes pride in her practice.

Hannah Mae Navales

Hannah Mae Navales
PA / Accounts Officer

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 Molyneux

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.

Dina Aly
Accountant

Dina graduated from Alexandria University in Egypt in Business Administration. Her experience as a general accountant was built along many years from working in different industries such as Banking, Ailines, & Shipping brokerage. Joining the educational field was her next step in her career because of the huge importance given to the progress of the Education in the Emirates. Dina is a mother of three children and has first hand experience of the Education sector in Dubai. Dina is a diligent accountant who is fluent in Arabic. She believes that – Your CREDIT is not a measure of success it is only an indication that you have a DEBT. Dina is welcomed to the IDEA family.