Attention all parents! There’s a new creche in Playnation in Mirdif City Centre. About 2 months ago they split the old softplay area up. One side is the tall soft play area and the other is now a creche (aka drop off daycare) run by Creche Out International.
About Creche Out
I took these photos below at the Creche Out in Playnation. The play area is open and divided up into sections. They have used the same climbing structures from before and added a couple new features: grocery shop, dress up area, blocks and car track. The short-lived children’s hair salon has been converted into a baby room.
The creche in Playnation accepts children from 4 months to 8 years old. Adults can stay for free or you can drop your child off and one of the staff will watch over him/her. The cost is 60 dhs/hr with various discounts based on how many children and how long you stay.
Each child is given a sticker with their name on it and a yellow or blue wristband. The yellow wristband is for children whose parents are watching them. The blue wristband is for children who have been dropped off.
What I Think About Creche Out
If you’re tempted to drop your children off at the newly opened creche, I would advise against it. I know parents would give anything to have some kid-free time (aka stress-free), but I don’t think the creche in Playnation is quite up to snuff just yet.
If you plan on staying with your children (like we did) or they are old enough to look after themselves, then by all means do it (if the 60dhs/hour doesn’t turn you off!).
There are 4 staff members total; 1 at the front desk and 3 inside. The manager at the front desk told us that they have a 1:3 staff-to-child ratio. That sounds great, but we dug a bit deeper to find out how it worked in practice. Creche Out‘s policy is to limit the number of blue wristband children to 9. That means for every 3 children whose parents have dropped them off, there is 1 staff member to watch them. Again that sounds nice, but in actuality, that’s not what happens and it’s virtually impossible to make it happen.
How can one adult float around watching 3 different children in such a large area? And how do you keep track with the kids rotating in and out all the time? Well the simple answer is you can’t. At least not very well.
While I was there, I saw 1 staff member overseeing the craft area. The other 2 floated around to cover the middle play area, the baby room and the car track (there aren’t actually cars, but I don’t know what else to call it).
There was always a time when one of the areas was unattended. At one point there was a blue wristband child (see pic below), about 3 years old, in the baby room all by himself.
He was there for at least 10 minutes. In fact no one even noticed and he eventually just pushed open the door and walked out. If being by himself wasn’t unsafe enough, there is a large shelf on the wall that any toddler could climb up and fall off of.
When we first got there, there were a couple of rambunctious older kids in the creche. It became a problem when one of them threw a wooden ball that almost hit Baby E. My husband was furious and asked the kid how old he was. 10!!! If you can’t see with your own eyes that he is older than 8, just by asking him you would know. The manager at the front door should have screened better.
The climbing structure against the wall isn’t age-appropriate for under 6’s. Baby E kept trying to climb up the rope ladder, which is fine when I’m helping her by steadying the ladder. But if I had left her for the staff to look after, I’m positive she would have had an accident. While I was there another girl, around 5, was injured in this area.
If you are in the softplay area, you no longer have direct access to the bathroom. This isn’t anything against the creche itself, but it poses a problem for parents using the softplay area.
The fee you pay for the creche doesn’t give you entry to the softplay area and vice versa. I’m not sure if you would be allowed to cross over just to use the bathroom, but even if you were, it’s a hassle. It means leaving the softplay area, going around the counter to the other door, getting someone’s attention to open it and then going all the way to the back of the creche.
Parents know that bathroom requests can come out of nowhere and are usually of an urgent nature. Or what about if you have another child(ren) to look after? Now you have to cart them all out of the softplay area and over to the other side (or just leave them by themselves). Not to mention once you get to the creche, the child will probably want to stay there having seen all the fun stuff to do.
It’s very poorly planned in my opinion.
It’s a shame that Creche Out hasn’t gone through all it’s teething problems in time for Dubai Summer Surprises. It would have been a lifesaver to be able to drop the girls off for an hour while we did some last minute shopping for our vacation. The girls really had a great time playing in the “shop” and crafts areas. However unless they make everything safer, I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my young children there. That being said, I would probably be OK if my kids were between 6-8 as they could look after themselves.
Having a creche in Playnation is a great idea, but Creche Out still has a lot of teething issues. Until they get sorted out, we’ll stick with the softplay area (which is half the price) or stay in the creche with the girls.
Have you been to the creche in Playnation in Mirdif City Centre? What did you think?