Parents as partners
My most memorable experiences in the Early Childhood Education industry are working with families and partnering with them on their parenting journey during their children’s early years. The wonderful memories have always been my personal pride.
In this latest series of blog posts, we reached out to some of these mums for a chat on their parenting journey as well as their experience partnering with me ~ Rupal, Director, MapleBear West Coast.
Simone and Connor
Simone:Connor was 18 months when I started looking for a possible preschool for him and chanced upon Odyssey Wilkinson which was close to our home. Rupal was the director then of the newly opened centre and she welcomed us warmly and personally showed us around the school and explained the Reggio Emilia pedagogy to us, which as new parents we were thrilled to learn of such teaching methods. Used to traditional teaching methods, we were excited to learn of the child centered and self-directed approach taken in this centre.
What was your criteria when you first started looking out for a preschool for your child?
Simone:Connor was an active child and therefore our main criteria was outdoor space, or a place surrounded by greenery so that he can stretch, play, run and be a boy! We were thrilled to learn that the curriculum took the children out of the classroom for sensorial play and exploration which was important to us. This is because children, at such young age, learn through their senses first. Naturally a warm, nurturing environment which in a way feels like an extension of home was very important and the warm personality of the teaching and administrative staff made an enormous difference as this would mean the child was nurtured and managed in the way we would do so at home whilst he was in school.
How long have you known Rupal? What was yours and Connor's experience interacting / working with / knowing her?
Simone:My husband and I met Rupal when Connor was 18 months old whilst she was managing Odyssey – The Global Preschool. Her warm personality immediately set us at ease and we felt that the school would be a good place for our child to grow in his early childhood years. Rupal was easy to approach and always ready to assist whenever we had concerns that we needed to bounce off her.
Connor had a difficult first few years as he was diagnosed with speech delay therefore temper tantrums were quite a common occurrence. Because of Connor’s speech delay development, he also had eating disorders. But luckily for us, Rupal’s management style meant that both the office as well as her teachers constantly updated us on Connor’s development in school and even more so when we had to deal with his eating and speaking challenges.
Rupal and her team of teachers also made sure that Connor was always included and tried to extend the additional support to guide him during his challenging phases. This also included working with us on his diet and slow exposure to various food textures and taste. The teachers first highlighted that we may need to have him assess as the early years would allow us the time to “solve” his issues before he starts school proper at age 7. This was a very valuable piece of advice which we took and after two years of speech therapy, Connor is now doing well in a British International school.
Ultimately, a close friendship was established. This friendship has lasted all these years of which Connor is now 12 years old.
I was a hotelier by profession but after becoming a stay at home mom. I wanted to re-enter the workforce and whilst in Hong Kong recently, had joined a Waldorf preschool and was lead teacher for 3 years.
I now better understand the challenges an early childhood teacher faces and the needs of the younger generation today. I reconnected with Rupal upon my return to Singapore in 2017 and since we shared lots in common as we are both educators, we could exchange fruitful ideas, thoughts and experiences on the different pedagogies we were working with.
Till today, I am thankful that her guidance for Connor as well as the sharing of her visions and mentorship with me as an educator. As an established professional in the education field and with her wealth of experience, Rupal certainly has the right qualities to lead and guide a team of dedicated teachers that can carry her vision forward on nurturing the future generation to become successful individuals.Education is constantly evolving, and I feel Rupal has a good grasp on the changing needs required to nurture these young minds.