About Us

Great Minds 1


Great Minds ECC & nursery opened its doors in January 2014. Areti Panagiotou, the founder of the center had a passion for education from an early age when as a primary school girl used to help in her mother’s KG classroom. Areti completed a BA degree in early years education and then went on to do a postgraduate course and MSc in speech and language therapy in City University of London, U.K. She worked in the U.K. as a speech and language therapist and in Greece as an early years teacher. Later qualifying as a Montessori trained teacher she wanted to combine her knowledge to create a unique nursery setting in Dubai. With the strong support of her family, after over 8 years of working with special needs children at the Dubai Center for Special Needs she felt the time was right to help other children reach their full potential  and the idea of Great Minds ECC & nursery was born. Located in a beautiful villa in the heart of Al Wasl, Dubai, we have families join us from City Walk, Downtown, Business Bay, Jumeriah through to Springs and Marina. 

Our Vision

At Great Minds ECC we aim to:

Great Minds 1
Encourage each child to be independent and confident and develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and respect for others in the environment.
Great Minds 1
Offer a happy and safe place where everyone is valued and different needs are acknowledged, accepted and met.
Great Minds 1
Provide a stimulating range of activities that will challenge children and develop curiosity.
child in nursery school in jumeirah playing
Further develop a positive attitude to learning that will support them through life.
Our vision is to see children becoming happy, confident and intelligent human beings. Little People Great Minds!

Our Mission

Our mission at Great Minds ECC is to provide a unique environment which will suit both children’s and parent’s expectations and needs. The nursery uses the Montessori Method to promote children’s social, cognitive and physical development. The approach is child centered with strong respect towards the individual’s personality. The objective is to provide children a happy and safe environment which will promote their natural growth, in line with their intrinsic sensitive periods of development.
Great Minds 1

Meet Our Staff

Our staff are experienced and well trained professionals characterised by genuine appreciation and respect for young children, patience, flexibility, sense of humour, and dedication


Areti Panagiotou

Nursery Founder

Areti holds a degree of Master of Science in Speech and Language therapy from City University of London, U.K. a Bachelor’s degree in Early Years Education from the University of Greece and a Montessori Diploma from North America Montessori Center. She has worked in the UK as a Speech and Language Therapist, in Greece as an Early Years Teacher and most recently in Dubai at Dubai Center for Special Needs as a senior Speech Therapist. She is a full member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in the U.K. She is First Aid certified. Areti loves theatre and volleyball.


Ana Stevanov

Nursery Manager

Ana Stevanov has been working at Great Minds ECC & Nursery  since September 2014. She brings with her years of experience in education, development programs and care for children. She has a degree of Master of Science in Education and a Montessori certification. Before moving to Dubai she worked as an author and facilitator of projects approved by the Ministry of Education in Serbia. All the projects were intended to cater educational needs of children who attended regular and inclusive school programs. Ana loves reading and going to the theatre.


Sara Mougharbel Burhani

Head Teacher / Class Teacher

Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, from the Lebanese American University, in addition to an International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy from the Montessori Centre International. Apart from her 5 years of Montessori teaching experience in Dubai, she has also worked as an elementary school teacher for Grade 2 and 4. She is First Aid certified. Sara’s hobbies include cycling, aerobics and reading.

nursery school teacher in classroom at great minds

Haneen Hourieh

Class Teacher / Arabic Teacher

Ms Haneen is a dedicated and passionate teacher. In addition to being a Montessori certified teacher, her academic specialty is kindergarten in the faculty of education in Damascus University in Syria. She has been working with children for over 6 years. Ms Haneen has been an educator in different environments and she established her own kids club to create a happy, creative, and safe space for kids after school. She also worked in the humanitarian sector for an international organisation raising children’s awareness about good hygiene practices. She is First Aid certified. She loves Hiking, Playing Basketball, dancing, and doing art work for children.

Nursery school teacher in montessori classroom

Sasha Agrich

Class Teacher / Music Teacher

Ms Sasha graduated from the Music College and the University of Culture and Arts as a teacher. She studied the Montessori method at  the pedagogical courses of the university, and was passionate about this type of education. She teaches music with Montessori method for over ten years, in group and individuals lessons. She has worked in Music Center for Children with Special needs and taught music in Ukrainian and Qatar schools. She believes that every child should be exposed to the arts from childhood, because it helps them see this world in an interesting way, full of beauty. She enjoys theatre, photography and her hobby is collecting postcards from all over the world.

Nursery school nurse in classroom

Claire Garnet

Registered Nurse

Ms Claire has been a registered nurse and midwife for over ten years. Ms Claire also has a masters degree in psychology. Her experience varies from oral surgery, aesthetics, general medicine, phlebotomy, gynecology, fertility and pediatrics. Ms Claire loves working with children and during her free time she enjoys gardening and watching documentaries.