In Conversation with Tanja Spasojevic, General Manager, Al Tamimi Investments (ATI) Education, Hummingbird Early Learning Centre
1 . What are the different facilities offered at the new Hummingbird Early Learning Centre DAFZA branch?
At the newest Hummingbird Early Learning Centre branch, located conveniently in Dubai Airport Freezone, children will have access to a nursery space carefully designed to support them in reaching their full potential.
The centre, which spans across nearly 500 square metres, includes a range of cosy spaces to help stimulate children’s education and development in a variety of different learning areas.
Including several modern classrooms, our latest centre offers many additional facilities such as a specialised Baby Care area with dedicated amenities for our youngest Hummingbirds, a large indoor garden allowing children to actively explore their physical capabilities and outdoor spacing where children can play and learn, taking advantage of the idyllic Dubai winter weather.
2. How can the different facilities/ rooms of the new Hummingbird ELC DAFZA branch stimulate friendly learning opportunities and children’s senses from an early age?
When designing our different learning areas and state-of-the-art facilities, we first assessed the requirements for the various age groups we will be catering for. It was clear that a dedicated space for babies to learn and grow in a safe and secure environment was paramount. Our dedicated Baby Care area is equipped with its own baby changing area, sleeping room, eating area, baby soft play and activity space which helps us to ensure the highest standards in health and safety and offering the ideal place for babies to play and learn.
Hummingbird DAFZA’s classrooms are equipped with carefully designed and customised learning areas to support each child’s holistic education and development journey. Each classroom has its own rotating Learning Centre focusing on different skills and interests which include arts, reading, science, mathematics, mark making, construction, sensory exploration and imaginative play. These centres pose as a powerful learning tool which allow children to explore their own interests and learning styles as they become more open and engaged in their own learning experiences, making learning at Hummingbird even more enjoyable, sociable and effective.
Learning through play is the core of Hummingbird education. Our large indoor garden ensures children are able to safely play and explore in a secure and well maintained environment. This large space also guarantees that development and health are catered to as children are encouraged to partake in daily adult-led physical education activities and child-led play. Making use of our large indoor areas ensures children are able to release energy and take part in extra-curricular activities even during hot and humid Dubai summers.
3. Do colours play a role in stimulating senses? How?
Colours have been shown to play a role in stimulating senses and have the power to either distract or enhance learning potential. For this reason, it was essential for us to carefully choose colours which will have a positive impact on children’s education.
4. What are the primary colours recommended to use in an early learning centre?
The neutral colours chosen at Hummingbird are both versatile and have been proven to have a positive calming effect for learners. This helps us create a warm and welcoming environment where children are encouraged to play and learn. Neutral tones aid the process of children’s development by allowing them to focus on learning opportunities without too much stimulation and distraction. Having a neutral backdrop in learning areas allows them to draw and focus their attention on the pops of colour added with learning resources and the children’s own work.
5. Does architecture play a role in stimulating senses? How has Hummingbird incorporated stimulating architecture?
The architecture of a building can stimulate all senses through form, materials used, scale, proportions, lighting, colours and methods of construction.
When it comes to nurseries, careful consideration must be given to design and how it impacts the senses, ensuring there is inspiration for young learners. Since the beginning of the sensory design process, we devised spaces which would appeal to the multiple human senses and have a positive impact on learning and wellbeing.
When planning the sizes of our multiple areas, it was important for us to ensure they are spacious enough for our young learners to explore and engage with the learning environment, without being too overpowering or intimidating.
It was also extremely important for us to design a large indoor space where children would be able to run and release necessary energy.
We also made sure to include large floor-to-ceiling windows in all learning areas to purposefully incorporate the benefits of natural lighting throughout the nursery. The presence of natural light not only brightens the mood and increases engagement and motivation, but also leads to enhanced performance.
Another element that was decisively included since the initial design stages is carefully planned and designed ceilings, as ceiling heights have a direct influence on children. As higher ceilings have the tendancey to make spaces more intimidating, the lower ceilings we have at Hummingbird give a more intimate and comfortable design and feel for our children.
6. What was the vision Hummingbird Early Learning Centre had in mind when designing the interior and exterior of the new branch?
It is well known that the environment plays a key role in impacting children’s learning and development journies. When designing the new centre, we ensured that the spaces were created to encourage learning, enhance curiosity and spark creativity.
One of our top priorities when designing the interior of the nursery was ensuring we provide a space centred around children’s early learning and wellbeing. We used our 14 years of experience in early years learning to create an environment that positively impacts learning, comfort, happiness and growth. A significant amount of research has demonstrated the positive impact natural lighting has on a child’s growth, learning and wellbeing. Having wrap-around floor to ceiling windows ensures that each learning space is exposed to abundant natural lighting throughout the day. By creating warm and welcoming spaces filled with natural light, children’s learning and wellbeing was a key priority for us from the early design stages.
7. What is the name of the Interior Designer or company that worked on the new DAFZA branch?
Circles Services were responsible for the construction and design of the new Hummingbird DAFZA branch, and we also worked with Moon Kids for custom designed furnishing appropriate for each of the age groups the nursery hosts.