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Why UniKidz is the best choice for you

Children don't have to go to childcare, but parents do have to go to work. UniKidz understands this like no other. We create a place where children can be themselves, just like at home. For a few hours, we take over the responsibility of the parents. We make sure that they eat healthy food and drink healthy beverages, and we take them to horse-riding lessons, ballet class, theatre practice, or swimming lessons. We listen to them and give them our full attention – every day, with love and dedication.

We are committed every day to give children and young people the space to grow and flourish and to get the very best out of themselves using our educational vision. By creating a safe environment and offering a wide range of activities, we encourage children and young people to challenge themselves and to discover and develop their personal talents.

The founding of UniKidz

UniKidz was founded in 2010 by Svetlana Lalic, a mother of three children living in Amsterdam.

According to Svetlana, at UniKidz we are enabling children to discover and develop their talents in a safe environment. We offer activities that focus on four developmental areas on a structural basis with a highly motivated team'.

Svetlana is referring to the four categories of activities in which children can discover and develop their own talents: FitKidz focuses on sports and games such as swimming lessons, kick-boxing, and basketball; MindKidz on thinking and doing in the special STEAM Makerspace; SoulKidz on culture, yoga, theatre, and dance, and SkillsKidz on skills such as cooking. All these activities are offered to the children in ten-week blocks by professional instructors in an all-inclusive package, at no extra cost.

Svetlana herself became a mother during her career in sales and marketing at Ricoh International in Amstelveen and was dependent on existing childcare organizations when she went to work. ‘I was really in shock when I picked up my daughter fifteen minutes before closing time. She was already wearing her coat and the chairs had been put on the table. These may be small things, but no one who works for us should ever make a child feel that they are not welcome. At UniKidz, the children always come first.’

Based on her own experiences, Svetlana felt that childcare had to be done differently. I came up with a concept within which we use specialists in various disciplines, after having trained them to become educational employees who take care of the activities or the other way around. We employ professionals such as theatre teachers, dance teachers, sports coaches, and chefs. We recently developed the STEAM Makerspace especially for childcare together with Heutink. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. It is a space where children, together with the STEAM specialist, identify a problem, come up with a solution, make the solution, and then present it to other children. Sometimes it's carpentry and tinkering, sometimes it's programming a robot, sometimes it's an object from the 3D printer. And we do that in a setting similar to a day nursery – so not in the way it is at school, where it is much more a matter of being forced to instead of wanting to.'

‘Something else that we take off parents’ hands is swimming lessons, as children can get their swimming diploma at UniKidz. Other children can choose to take up horse-riding. We have our own childcare centre at Boerderij op IJburg farm where children can pet animals, take care of the ponies, and do some gardening. And for children who need a little extra attention with their arithmetic or spelling, for example, we make sure there are extra lessons during the time they are at the day nursery. We do all the things that parents would love to do with their children if they didn’t have busy jobs to go to. Just like me when I worked at Ricoh.’