We continue the Little Steps Talking Heads series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Hong Kong’s Heads Of Schools. Get personal with these fabulous personalities and find out what makes them tick, their advice for parents navigating the schooling scene, and their favorite things about life in the city.
In this edition, we say hello to Jannyne Eyton-Jones, Head of Woodland Harbourside Pre-School Hong Kong.
1.Do you have a nickname? No nickname, although I am sure my husband could tell you a few!
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Suffolk, UK and went to primary and secondary boarding schools at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and New Hall School in Essex before venturing to London at the age of 17 to study Musical Theatre and subsequently “tread the boards”.
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? I love living in the countryside in Clearwater Bay, I live by the beach and within walking distance to some of the best trails in Hong Kong. Since moving from Mid Levels 6 years ago, we have a wonderful and peaceful quality of life away from the excitement and hustle and bustle of the city life which we work in, so I feel we get the best of both worlds now.
4. What's in your lunchbox? A pro-biotic yogurt (usually strawberry or fig flavor), vegetable soup, a pack of fresh raspberries and occasionally a kitkat has been sneaked in (it is a mystery how it gets in there)! I also drink a lot of water!
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? I have always loved working with children. I started teaching in London, in 2003. I set up my own touring theatre company for children and adults, as well as producing, directing and writing scripts. When I came to Hong Kong in 2005, with my husband’s job, I started teaching ESL programs and extra-curricular activities in local Hong Kong government schools. In 2007 I joined the Woodland Group as a Wrigglers, Playgroup and Stepping Stones teacher as well as a Drama Teacher for the Pre-school classes in our then Wanchai school. I really looked up to and respected my Head of School. I saw the amazing relationships they had with the children and parents and the hard work they put into making the school a wonderful environment for children to learn in and I felt that I too could give more back to the children, parents and school in a bigger way rather than just teaching in specific classes. I am very proud and happy to have been given the opportunity to make my mark on the school and within the Woodland Group as a Head of School since 2008.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Bright, welcoming, & fun, fun, fun!
1. What's your favourite thing on your desk and why? Quack the duck (a stuffed toy). He keeps me company in my office when the children and teachers have gone home, he gives the children cuddles if they miss their mommy, and he always makes us smile!
2. What are your 3 favourite children's books? I love the classics that take me back to my childhood, such as “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” and “Frog and Toad Are Friends”. However, the book I love reading aloud to the children is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” as it is always a winning page turner!
1. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? Go and visit as many schools as you can you will know as soon as you walk through the school whether it will be the right fit for your child and for your family. Talk to other parents about the pros and cons of the schools but also keep an open mind. Do your research, there are some amazing tried and tested websites and Facebook forums geared for families who are entering into the HK world of schooling for the first time, it can be all very daunting and overwhelming at first but stick with it and you will soon find the perfect school for your child.
2. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? If you, as a teacher, are bored of teaching the same lessons over and over again, a child will be even more bored. So go out, see and experience the world as a child does and be a big kid yourself. You can then bring all of those adventures into the classroom – it will then be a magical mystery tour for the children every day!
Woodland Harbourside Pre-School
3 Aberdeen Praya Road, Hong Kong
+852 2559 1377