Our Team

Farheen Effandi
Farheen Effandi
Director
Farheen has been working in education for over fifteen years, initially starting her own career in education as an O-Level Biology teacher, then realizing her love for young children, she retrained as an early childhood teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Australia. She also holds an International Diploma of Montessori Education as well as certificates in workplace health and safety, child protection and more. Farheen has held Senior Leadership positions in nurseries and schools in Australia, Bahrain, Pakistan and the U.A.E. She believes that play is the best form of learning and constantly works with the teams she works with to enhance the provision of play and inquiry-based learning for young children.
Marilen Lugtu
Marilen Lugtu
Class Teacher Babies Tadpoles
Marilen graduated as a midwife and worked in this field in Singapore before moving to Dubai. She then went on to study for her CACHE Level 2 in Caring for Children and Young People. Marilen’s experience with young babies is invaluable to our team. She is particularly interested in supporting individual children’s age and stage of development in accordance with their growth and progress. Last academic year Marilen successfully established our Tadpoles class, supporting children’s physical, communication and language development and helping them onto the next stage of their IDEA journey. Marilen is currently undertaking her CACHE Level 3 to gain a deeper understanding of child development and how to support their learning.
Cynthia Pacheco
Cynthia Pacheco
Caterpillars Teacher
Cynthia has been working as a teacher at IDEA ELC for the past three years. She initially embarked on her career with a Montessori qualification and then proceeded to complete a CACHE 3 qualification in Childcare and Education as well as numerous childcare certificates. Cynthia has a passion for teaching and believes in helping children reach their unique, individual potential. She is also a firm believer in developing independence, encouraging curiosity and instilling high expectations in students by providing them with sustained shared thinking activities.
Katrina McLeod
Katrina McLeod
Minibeasts Teacher
Katrina McLeod-Gardner is from the United Kingdom where she qualified as an N.N.E.B Nursery Teacher, with also a Cache Level 3 in Protecting Children and a Diploma in Higher Education in Playwork. This is her second year in Dubai and her 7th year in the Middle East. She has worked in a variety of Childcare and Educational settings over the past 23 years implementing curriculum such as the EYFS, Early Learning Framework, Highscope, STREAM and the IB P.Y.P programme. Whilst working within settings such as Nursery, Pre-school, School, Play-schemes and a Play Association she has gained valuable experience which is regularly put into practice. Through a fun, creative and play based programme, Katrina aims to provide lots of activities and experiences related to the Creative Curriculum and Early Learning Framework for your child to explore. She is passionate about challenging and developing children’s learning through play with the knowledge that this will encourage happy, confident and independent children. Her strengths are creative, imaginative play and music and movement.
Kymberley Wrightman
Kymberley Wrightman
Dragonflies Teacher
Kymberley graduated from Middlesex University Dubai with a Bachelor Degree in Business Management, in 2016 and also holds a CACHE Level 3 qualification. In her 5 years of teaching, she has had the privilege of experiencing all ages between 3 months to 4 years old. Furthermore, Kymberley enjoys working closely with children who have extra developmental needs and is keen to understand each child's individual needs to help them achieve their milestones. Kymberley believes in being a voice for children and helping them reach their developmental goals by tapping into their interests.
Rasha Al-Durrah
Rasha Al-Durrah
Grasshoppers Teacher
Rasha has a degree in marketing and management, but after managing a nursery decided that was the path for her, and now has been working in the education field for over 12 years. She has her CACHE Level 3 qualification and is currently studying her CACHE Level 5, and continues to pursue her passion of teaching. She has experience working with the British EYFS Curriculum and the Australian EYLF Curriculum. As a facilitator, she believes children learn about building strength and working on their weaknesses through play and interacting with others. Her classroom setting incorporates enabling, fun and safe activities that are sustainable for the environment and teaches children about recycling and caring for their surroundings. She believes that continuous open communication with parents is essential to understand expectations and what is in the best interest of the child.
Susan Lindsay
Susan Lindsay
Honeybees Teacher
Sue has worked within the UK Education system for 17 years and in Dubai for two years. 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, specialising in emotional intelligence and well-being. As a practising Master Life Coach she understands that the level of happiness we feel is a direct result of the quality of our relationships. Therefore, Sue focuses on empowering the children to be the best they can be whilst building positive relationships with their peers and teachers alike. Sue embraces working with Nursery children with a passion as she able to participate in their development at such a crucial stage of their educational journey.
Magda Hitchcock
Magda Hitchcock
Butterflies Teacher (Pre-KG) & Middle Leader
Magda has been an Early Years practitioner for over a decade. She has enjoyed working with different age groups and has experience in both British and American curricula. Magda graduated in Poland with BA in Teaching English and then studied further in the UK and the UAE, where she completed her Cache Level 3, TOEFL Certificate and Kinesiology Training. She is currently a Cache Level 5 student. Magda is passionate about teaching in a multicultural environment and loves embracing all the cultures she encounters in a classroom. She believes in a nurturing and positive atmosphere for children as well as providing a good balance of child led and adult led activities, with strong emphasis on hands-on, real life experiences. Magda always follows the children’s interests and strives to excite them about what they are going to do and how they can learn from it. Her love for animals and natural environment has always intertwined with her teaching. Magda has lived in Dubai for 14 years with her husband and a 13-year-old son James, who is a student at DESC. She has worked for IDEA ELC since 2016.
Janie Low
Janie Low
Ladybugs Teacher (Pre-KG)
Janie graduated with a BA Hons in Law in Management from Aberdeen in Scotland and started her career working in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Janie and her family then moved to Dubai 7 years ago and she focused her time on looking after her 2 children but she soon before she decided to volunteer at Idea Elc as she knew she wanted to develop her love of teaching and training and work with young children. Janie then moved on to be an assistant at IDEA ELC whilst studying her CACHE 3 and then moving into a teacher role. Janie believes in lots of fun in the classroom and is a strong advocate for learning through play, she is an avid reader and loves to bring books to life and unlock children’s imaginations.
Lauren Duffy
Lauren Duffy
Owls Teacher (KG)
Lauren is an experienced, fun and enthusiastic teacher from Galway in the west of Ireland. Lauren received a first-class honour in her bachelor’s degree in Early Years Care and Education from Athlone Institute of Technology. During her time in college, Lauren also worked in a full-time position as an early year’s educator in Galway. Lauren also plans to peruse her studies further in the near future to further enhance her knowledge in early years childcare. Lauren followed her dream by moving to the UAE to continue her passion for young children, by sharing her knowledge and experience. Lauren believes a child-led curriculum alongside a child-led environment is essential to promote the holistic development of each individual. Lauren is also a strong believer in learning through play, as children can follow their interest, be unique and learn to express themselves.
Dina Aly
Dina Aly
Accounts Officer
Dina has a degree in Accounting and manages all Idea’s finances. She lives in Victory Heights with her family and is a mother of three children.
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.
Nima Vimson
Nima Vimson
Nurse

Assistant Teachers

Meet our team of amazing assistants. They are all experienced with working with children from 0 – 6 years old. Most have their CACHE Level 2 or 3 or are actively working towards completion of a CACHE qualification while working here at IDEA ELC.

Maricar Atamosa
Maricar Atamosa
Rachelle Ibanex
Rachelle Ibanex
Cindy Njoku
Cindy Njoku
Chandima Priyadarshi
Chandima Priyadarshi
Imelda Jamero
Imelda Jamero
Beenish Ali
Beenish Ali
Hilda Opena
Hilda Opena
Czearina Quiambao
Czearina Quiambao
Philippa Stewart
Philippa Stewart
Elaine Burmudez
Elaine Burmudez
Victoria Mugova
Victoria Mugova
Lourdes Fernandez
Lourdes Fernandez