Getting to Know You: Pantelitsa Merakligianni – Kids Club Supervisor
What attracted you to Columbia Beach Resort, and the position of Childcare Manager?
As an energetic and cheerful individual, I have always enjoyed working with children and watching them grow. After I finished my studies I worked with children between the ages of 4 months and 10 years old. Through the experience I gained during this time period, I understood how beautiful and unique it is to work with children. Fulfilling as it is, every childcare professional has to always be aware of what a big responsibility it is to ensure children feel safe and to help them learn. Above all, when working with children your first thought must be how to assist children in all areas of development. It is very important to understand that children can do so many things that appear fun but can also teach them in a variety of lessons. My belief is that you have to love this job to do it; to teach a child you have to think like a child, but with the knowledge you have as an adult.
The fact that Columbia Beach Resort is a very beautiful and outstanding destination for families, renders it an attractive place to work. Additionally, the two facilities, The Den Kids Club and Cub Life Crèche, which our little guests love, provide me with the opportunity to work on a multitude of different things every day, keeping the environment exciting and active. Finally, to work with efficiency and always ensure you are giving the very best of yourself, is my personal belief that the Resort shares as a work ethic, making it the perfect match.
What is your understanding of what children need in the creation of an exciting and enriching holiday experience? And how is Columbia Beach Resort positioned to deliver this to its younger guests?
Creating an exciting and enriching holiday for children is the reason why the children’s facilities operate. The key to achieving this goal is to provide numerous fun activities for the children, allowing them to choose between what their interests coincide with. Children who come to our Den Kids Club and Cub Life Crèche enjoy a fantastic and colourful environment with many fun activities such as cookery, science, arts and crafts, music and dancing, experiences within the Resort’s natural grounds, along with sports lessons. Our qualified staff takes care of them while they play, keeping the children safe while at the same time enhancing their experience. Of course, all of the above activities are customized to the age of the children.
Indeed, how do you feel children benefit from targeted, child-centric activities within a resort setting?
First of all the child-centric approach is one that allows the children to express themselves and learn through their own experiences and their own unique way by choosing what activity suits them best from our daily schedule. In the majority of cases, this differs from the way that they are taught in school, thus the children enjoy themselves and learn at the same time without even noticing it. Developing their imagination and decision-making through sociodramatic play, exercise through sports activities and socializing and making friends are some examples to name just a few. Our activities are specially targeted to help children have a great time and enjoy their holidays on Resort. In conclusion, our job is to make sure that children have a fruitful and unforgettable time; they are our little guests after all!
Based on your interaction with – and thus insight into – travelling families, what do you feel is the key to a successful family holiday?
I believe that the key to a successful family holiday is the creation of beautiful memories and relaxation for the whole family. Memories can easily be created by sharing special moments on Resort, or exploring the many beauties of Cyprus but relaxation can only be found if schedules aren’t overfilled and time is dedicated to doing as little as possible! So our grown guests can enjoy the resort’s award-winning Spa facilities, lie on the beach with a good book, or sip cocktails in the swim up pool bar whilst our more energetic Little Guests, can play in the Den or the crèche, having a great time while our trained staff takes care of them.
And with a demonstrative passion for working with children, what has been one of your most rewarding experiences as a childcare professional within travel and tourism?
Naming only one experience is extremely difficult but the most rewarding and fulfilling experience that stands out for me is something that happens quite often, consisting of two parts. The first is when I can assist children who are not very social, to make new friends and help them develop their social skills. In many cases children who come to the Den Kids Club without a friend or sibling, develop friendships during their time with us, that are so pure and real, they truly are joyful to see! The second and maybe a little more amazing, is when children from different countries, with different backgrounds and – on many occasions – do not even speak the same language, play and laugh and get to know each other; becoming friends in their own magical way, with just a little bit of help from us!