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ISF Waterloo International Daycare — not just another creche

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ISF Waterloo International School is opening a new trilingual daycare for infants aged six weeks to 2.5 years in November 2016. The innovative daycare centre is built according to the latest findings in childcare research. [Contributed by ISF Waterloo]

There has been a lot of focus recently on effects of school environments on classroom learning. The bulk of the scientific research in this arena has focused on older children, asking how environmental factors, such as ventilation and room temperature, affect test scores. While many scientific studies have shown that early sensory experience shapes brain and perceptual development, yet to date, there is very little research in young children at daycare centres, and no research on the effects of visual designs and aesthetics in these daycare centres. As most young children spend a significant amount of time in daycare centres, there is an increasing need to be mindful about the environments we create in these facilities.

To address this gap in the science, Dr Karen Dobkins has done extensive research on the effects of the sensory environment on visual development and mental well-being of infants and children. Dr Dobkins is a Psychology Professor at the University of California in San Diego, and heads up the Infant Vision Laboratory. She has over 20 years of experience working with children, from infancy to adolescence, studying development of visual sensory, cognitive and emotional processing, in both typical children and those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Using principles from developmental Neuroscience and Psychology, she now designs living/daycare spaces for children, in collaboration with Dutch designer Roy Verbakel. His designs are based on the results from research studies in Dr Dobkins’ laboratory and include elements that consider what sorts of visual stimuli young children can detect the best and which stimuli they prefer to look at. Their designs include creative lighting, wall/floor patterns, colors, moving displays and interactive installations.

In November 2016, ISF Waterloo International School will expand its offering and open a daycare in its premises in Chaussée de Waterloo 280, Rhode Saint Genese. The daycare will be located in its existing pre-­school building following extensive renovations during the summer. This unique purpose-built area will be based on Dr Karen Dobkins’ research and designed together with Dr Dobkins and designer Roy Verbakel. The babies in the daycare will have a chance to interact with the stimulating environment and exclusive designs from Roy Verbakel will positively influence their developmental growth.

One of the designs is called ‘Wall of faces’. Inspired by data showing that young children strongly prefer to look at faces, it presents a variety of ethnicities and ages, as well as mirrors so that children can see their own faces in between the others.

The daycare will accommodate 15 babies between the ages of six weeks and 2.5 years and will be trilingual (English/Dutch/French), giving families an opportunity to choose the language they wish their child to be spoken to. The daycare will be open from Monday to Friday from 6:30am to 6:30pm.

ISF is offering reduced fees for the first ten babies to register in the daycare as a launch offer for a limited period. For more information please contact the school's office +32 (0)2 358 56 06 or

ISF Waterloo daycare

About ISF Waterloo

ISF Waterloo is a vibrant and friendly international school on the Flanders-Wallonia borders near Brussels. We encourage creativity and out of box thinking — we develop not just academically strong students, but also respectful, responsible and self-confident young people.

  • Our focus on languages, technology and intercultural exchange gives ISF Waterloo students a head start in 21st Century global society.
  • ISF Waterloo is the first Google for Education School in Belgium.
  • Our small class sizes — with a maximum of 18 students — ensure personal attention to the individual development of each child.
  • We have 190 students from 48 different nationalities aged 2.5 to 18, including expats and Belgian residents.
  • Every one of our teachers is trained in English as an Additional Language.
  • We teach French daily to every student and are recognised by the Belgian education authorities.
  • We follow the International Primary Curriculum in Primary School, and enter Middle and High School students for Cambridge International examinations.
  • Visit for more details or follow us on Twitter @ISFWaterloo.


Contributed by ISF Waterloo
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