In this month’s issue of Beyond the Classroom, we are very proud to present to you, Mint – Founder of School of Concepts. Mint’s passion for learning and teaching gave her the motivation to help children build up their foundation in literacy and at the same time, give them a boost in self-confidence.
1. Describe yourself and what you do?
I’m Mint, and I’m the founder of the School of Concepts. We’re a Phonics-based literacy enrichment school which champions a unique, fun curriculum based on the Abecedarian Approach, which has been extremely effective in teaching children to read, write and spell from a very young age.
2. Is there a story behind WHY you do what you do?
As a child, learning was always fun for me. My siblings and I took pride in reading, spelling and writing! When I became an educator myself, I started off as a tutor. My passion for teaching led me into opening tuition centres. It was then I noticed that many children who lacked a good foundation in literacy were underperforming in school. They felt lousy about themselves and had lower self-esteem and were more dependent on external validation to do well later on in life. I noticed that the problem stemmed from the foundation set during early years. I went on to develop the first local curriculum for non-native English speakers. The programme has since proven to be highly effective in helping children obtain a strong sense of self-motivation and develop self-directed learning.
3. Share with us what you were like as a student and how school was like for you. In retrospect, how do you think that played a part in what you do now and who you have become?
I was a Rafflesian. The Rafflesian education is a holistic one. It covered character, culture education and the arts above academic pursuits. That is what I firmly believe is a true education and preparation for life.
4. How do you reinvent yourself? What motivates you?
I read widely and I am a curious person. Seeing children learn independently and joyfully, bursting with excitement to share with their parents what they learn every day motivates me to continue to reach out to all children and empower them with the ability to read. We try to get the whole family involved in our literacy education, and when I see how encouraged the parents are by their children’s progress it really does fill up my “energy tank” and drives me to to continue to improve our curriculum and to engage more and more with young parents in Singapore.
5. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received or given? Or Share ONE life lesson and how it changed the way you approached life.
“As water reflects the face, one’s life reflects their heart”. I believe that a good educator is one who truly cares for their students and has plenty of heart. Our teachers are intuitive, warm and always prioritize the students.
6. The future-ready educator should…
Be receptive to changes and able to adapt to trends.
7. Share an example of a life that impacted you.
One of our 7-year-old student from a single parent family and complicated background has become her father’s source of motivation to excel in his career. Once openly rebellious, rude and uninterested in academic pursuits, our programme has turned this child around in 6 months. Our teacher’s unwavering concern for her has motivated her to do better in school, speak politely and in turn become more understanding towards her father’s busy work schedule.
8. How do you hope your business might do its part to transform or add value to the educational scene in Singapore?
I am a strong believer that children should enjoy learning. To do that, it’s important to start on the right note – the fun and engaging way. Just because a child is having fun, and there is movement and laughter in the classroom, doesn’t mean that a child is not learning enough. In fact, the child is learning more than sitting in a room with 4 walls staring at a whiteboard. We don’t just want to be a part of transforming the early education scheme – we think we have what it takes to champion a change in the way young children are educated. Our curriculum is holistic and inclusive and works for students with a whole plethora of different learning needs and helps them learn at their pace, their way, but in an environment that is warm and nurturing. We have an 100% effective literacy rate in our school and we want this to be the case for all young children in Singapore, regardless of their financial capabilities.