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 Barbara Gerrard, Principal of City Kids HKPPA Preschool.
1.Do you have a nickname? None that I know of!
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Scotland and grew up in HK.
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? I live in Ap Lei Chau and love being by the sea. I enjoy the view and gentle sea breeze in the mornings, along with listening to and watching the fascinating fishing boats.
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? As an early childhood practitioner, being a Head allows me to use some of the finest principles researched by the most respected Educational philosophers and psychologists. It gives me scope to guide the school, staff, and curriculum towards ensuring that children receive optimum experiences and develop a life-long love of learning in a secure and friendly environment.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! City Kids is community?orientated, nurturing, caring, fun, and fabulous!
1. What's your favourite thing on your desk and why? I am passionate about children reading and have a favourite quote above my desk: "THE POWER OF READING - I will change the world one child at a time. I will give a child a gift that lasts forever; a gift that brings the world closer and makes it richer; a gift of reading. I will open eyes and ignite dreams with stories that make children feel and grow and think. Nothing will stop me. I will not give up, because my heart knows the power of reading." (Author unknown)
2. What are your 3 favourite children's books? I have countless favorite children’s books, and the stories would be dependent on the age range of the child. Some of my favourite children’s authors are: Julia Donaldson, Lauren Child, Mem Fox, Lynley Dodd, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, Martin Waddell, Pat Hutchins, and Marcus Pfister.
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children's education? I would advise parents to be an active participant in young children’s education - visit the school regularly, chat with the staff, volunteer for anything offered in class, e.g. reading a story, celebrating a festival or birthday working as a duty parent - much research supports that the positive motivation children receive from parents having close contact with the school. And read, read, read with enjoyment to your child, daily!
2. Any tips for parents when applying to schools? Visit the school beforehand to ensure that the environment and curriculum is the right choice for your individual child. Observe other children to see if they are engaged with activities within the class and note the interactions between staff and children.
3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? I was fortunate to work under an inspiring headmaster in the beginning of my career and learnt amongst many other things, that a smile and sense of humor go a long way in all situations.