Looking for flexible childcare? Louise Emma Clarke heads to WAFI Mall to try out Dubai’s newest option…
My son goes to nursery two mornings a week, but the classes are full and waiting list long, so there’s little chance of a few extra hours if I want to run an errand without dragging the toddler along (literally; he’s got very clingy since his baby brother arrived). So when I heard about a new childcare facility opening in WAFI Mall (they already have a branch in Mirdif City Centre) with the facilities of a nursery, but a pay-per-hour arrangement (and no need to book in advance), I was very keen to try it.
We decided to try Creche Out on a Friday morning, arriving at WAFI Mall at 10am and heading towards WAFI Pyramids. After wandering around for a bit searching for the entrance, we were forced to stop a member of staff to ask for directions. He pointed to a door just behind us, which bizarrely didn’t have a sign outside – and sure enough, it was Creche Out.
It may have been tricky to find, but the welcome more than made up for it. We were greeted by a bubbly member of staff, who filled us in on the basics. You can choose to stay with your child within Creche Out or leave them for fully supervised care (with a staff/kids ratio as little as 1:1 and as many as 1:3, depending on how busy it is). Age wise, Creche Out accepts kids between four months and eight years. It operates to UK standards of health and safety and all staff have childcare qualifications and are trained in paediatric first aid. It all sounded very promising.
We went for the supervised option – and while my husband filled out forms with our contact details, I followed our toddler inside to settle him in.
His face lit up as soon as we turned the corner and spotted a racing track on the floor, with a selection of sit-in cars alongside waiting to be picked. To our right was a dressing-up area, with different costumes displayed on hangers – and beyond that, the main room with colourful floor mats, artwork on the walls, a pile of building blocks, and tables with craft equipment and red and white gingham tablecloths.
It looked and felt exactly like a nursery – and what struck me most was the very warm, nurturing feel of the place. I’ve been to a lot of play areas and drop-off facilities in Dubai, but Creche Out really does stand out. I had no concerns about turning around and leaving my son in their care.
Before I left, I had a quick look around at the other facilities. The baby room was bright and colouful, with a padded floor, ball pit, stand-up activity tables, and soft play structures for crawlers to explore. And outside, a large play frame with a slide was shaded by a big canopy (my son was already scaling a ladder with the help of a staff member).
I waved goodbye – and an hour later, we returned to Creche Out to collect him. I discovered him sat at one of the tables eating the snack I had provided, so I stood back and watched for a moment. He seemed totally at ease, happily chatting away to the staff and pointing at the display of artwork on the wall. He soon spotted me and ran into my arms, closely followed by the staff member clutching a picture he had created with crayons and glitter.
As my husband paid, I chatted to the receptionist and asked a few further questions; mainly, who used the facility? The mall was very quiet (as is always the case with WAFI) and there were only a few other children in Creche Out at the same time. She replied that it was mainly mums that wanted to spend time in the gym or enjoy a treatment in the spa (Pyramids’ Premier Fitness Club and Cleopatras Spa are located close by), or those that lived in WAFI Residences and wanted a few peaceful hours. Visions ran through my mind of dropping off both my children (as the baby would be four months old in a matter of weeks) and heading to the gym to work off some of this baby weight – and I liked that vision a lot.
Creche Out is a warm, friendly, well-thought-out space, with the bonus of high standards of safety and staff qualifications. I would have no hesitations about dropping either of my children there again. In fact, I’m getting my gym kit ready in anticipation…
Creche Out is located at WAFI Mall (04 324 0000) and Mirdif City Centre (04 231 6262) and costs Dhs60 per hour for supervised care. For more information, visit www.crecheout.com.