Alexandra Keys is Nursery Manager at Bright Horizons East India Dock Nursery and Preschool, located next to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station and Canary Wharf. We caught up with Alexandra to find out more about nursery life at East India Dock.
Alexandra, tell us a little about you.
I have worked in early years for six years and have been at East India Dock Day Nursery and Preschool for four years. I have a BA in Early Childhood Education from Winona State University in the US and a Masters in International Child Studies from King’s College London.
I am the proud mum to Poppy and Sophie who both attend East India Dock Nursery. In my spare time I enjoy reading, playing volleyball and knitting!
Tell us a little about your nursery environment
East India Dock provides a wonderful learning environment for children aged three months to five years. We have two buildings: our East India Day Nursery has been carefully designed for little ones aged three months to three years and our East India Dock Preschool has been designed for children aged two to five years old.
We have two private gardens: one for our younger children and one for our older children. Our garden for younger children is located next to our toddler room which means that little feet can safely toddle outside to explore the outdoor learning environment. Our older garden is just across the footpath – providing a mini adventure for growing explorers! Our little ones also enjoy venturing to the older garden on walks and our babies join too in our special six-seat buggy.
Being on Canary Wharf is fantastic as we are very close to the river and we walk down to see the beautiful view of the O2 and the Thames.
What activities take place at East India Dock Nursery and Preschool?
Celebrating different cultures and languages is very important and our Day Nursery and Preschool both enjoy our Bilingual Beats sessions, during which the children learn Spanish. Our Preschool children also enjoy regular music lessons.
We know your partnerships with your nursery families is very important to you. Do families visit the nursery often?
We’re delighted that our nursery families spend lots of time at East India Dock. Located so close to Canary Wharf, many of our families work on the Wharf and drop their little ones off before walking into work together. We have a parent area where families can sit and meet with staff and other families and on special occasions, we provide takeaway breakfasts and hot drinks too.
We hold regular parent events too to showcase the activities and learnings that the children are enjoying at nursery. Recently we held a party to celebrate Eid and families were invited to sample traditional food and take part in a variety of activities.
Are there transport links to and from the nursery?
We’re situated within one minutes’ walk of the DLR station and just next door to Canary Wharf – Although we’re in the heart of the city the environment is very quiet and peaceful. There’s a bus (D3) which runs from outside the nursery into Canary Wharf and takes just 7 minutes. Our families really appreciate the location of the nursery and the transport links – providing peace of mind that their little ones are only moments away and happily playing and learning.
What has been your favourite memory so far at East India Dock?
There’s been lots of great memories made at here but my favourite was celebrating Employee Appreciation Month earlier this year. As part of the celebrations, we asked our nursery families to share feedback about our nursery team. We created a board in the nursery with an envelope for each team member and our families and the nursery management completed cards for the team. It was wonderful to hear feedback from our families and to appreciate the team for their hard work.
What is your favourite nursery meal?
My favourite and certainly a favourite amongst the children is our delicious lamb kofte!