MRS. Imelda Iyayi is the director of Crème de la Crème Creche, an upscale pre-school in Ikeja GRA, Lagos. In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the beautiful and cerebral woman of substance unveils her vision and mission for the facility and much more…
When was Crème de la Crème established?
Crème de la Crème was established in August, 2013.
Can you please share with us the vision and mission of the school?
Our vision is to be the school that best understands the child and prepares him or her for future greatness.
Is Crème de la Crème fashioned after existing institution?
So, what really separates it from similar crèches in Nigeria?
Crème de la Crème is in a class of its own. It is a one stop shop. Our approach to pre-school education, methodology, curriculum content, staff strength, among other factors, clearly sets us apart from many pre-schools in Nigeria. We are about a firm foundation. We offer a Montessori approach to learning to our young beginners. We have also tailored extra-curricular activities to help build up the child’s innate abilities that will also enhance their learning. Our programmes include swimming, music, crochet, social etiquette, art and craft, dance, etc. All these activities combined with the main curriculum will help build a seamless transition to mainstream schools.
For how long did you nurture the dream of Crème de la Crème?
It so happened that my daughter found it difficult to settle down properly in a mainstream school after her pre-school education. I took the time to critically look into the situation and also had to go round to some pre-schools. I discovered that many of the so-called pre-schools had more of a playgroup setting. The necessary facilities to bring out the best in a child was lacking. This was when the idea of a standard pre-school came to my mind, and I am thankful to God that I have been able to actualize this dream.
Why did you even choose the name?
Crème de la Crème is a French phrase that simple means, best of the best. It connotes the exact type of pre-school I had in mind. Drawing from my personal experience, I realized that the pre-schools around me were more of a playgroup rather than an education centre for children. Most of these pre-schools lacked the basic materials and curriculum needed to prepare the children in their formative years.
We learnt that the school is mainly for the children of the rich?
Crème de la Crème, as I said, is for every parent looking for the best form of education for his or her child. That is what we are about. The notion that it’s only for the rich is wrong. I believe that there isn’t a price on education. It all depends on what standard and foundation a parent is willing to let his or her child have.
So, how do you accommodate indigent parents?
Like I said, there is nothing like rich parent or indigent parent. Crème de la Crème is a one-stop shop for all. It is a purpose built school that aims to reach our pupils with the best hands on training available. We are open to all.
Yes, you will be amazed at what we offer and at the amount we offer it. Like I said, Crème de la Crème is a phrase for best of the best. Now, because we are a purpose built school, the name naturally suits us. Don’t confuse the name with the fee. Our fee structure is affordable, and beyond that, our parents are pleased with our delivery.
What are the major challenges so far?
As it stands, we are doing fine. Very fine I should say, every detail concerning Crème de la Crème was carefully planned. Where there is planning, there is order and things go well. We came out prepared, so anything that could pose as a challenge is adequately prepared for and met. We have been able to sell our vision and ideologies and people have come to appreciate what we stand for.
Do you have a background in education?
Yes, Montessori education.
What did you study and where?
I studied Accounting at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. I also have training in web programming from NIIT.
What else do you do?
Before Crème de la Crème, I worked in the aviation sector for many years. Now, besides Crème, I run a catering firm Tophrass Catering.
Please, tell us more about yourself in respect of marriage, children and family life.
I have a close knit family. I have been married for ten years. I have three children, my first child is a girl (five years old) and I have two boys (twins). My family life is beautiful, warm and happy. I have lovely siblings and we are very close.
Where do you hope to see Crème de la Crème in the next five years?
In five years, Crème de la Crème will have raised the standard of pre-school education to such a height that if others run by a lower standard it would amount to nothing. In five years, we would have turn out the best pre-schoolers ever that the mainstream schools that absorb them will be so pleased with us and even refer us to others.
– OLAMIDE ADEYOYIN