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 Kate Mc-Alister, Incoming Early Childhood Education (ECE) Co-Principal at Yew Chung International School.
1. Do you have a nickname? My family calls me Katie.
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Sacramento, California.
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? I live in Central and love the area for its restaurants, wet market and close proximity to multiple running trails and my yoga studio.
4. What's in your lunchbox? Salmon, rice, salad, nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate.
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? My list of inspirational people in the field of early childhood education could go on and on, from parents to teachers to principles to researchers to caregivers to friends, but at the end of the day, the children are the ones who inspire me the most. Hearing children laugh and seeing them fully engaged in their curiosities and discoveries every day is enough for me to continue to advocate for their rights to play and build relationships. We have a lot to learn from children; it is just about slowly down and listening.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Respect, love, relationships, play, exploration
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why? My giant sized coffee mug given to me by one of the teachers for my endless cups of coffee and tea.
2. What are your 3 favorite children's books? Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Open and honest dialogue with the teachers. Parents are children’s first and life-long teachers and advocates. They know their child the best. The more authentic conversations we can have between parents and teachers, the better learning and loving environments we create for the children. Each family is unique, so it is important to find different avenues for families to be involved depending on their needs and situation.
2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? Be yourself. Find a school that fits your philosophies and beliefs in education. Ask yourself what do you really want for your child. Early childhood is a critical time and shapes who your child becomes. If a school makes you feel uncomfortable or doesn’t embrace your child for who they are, find another school. Your child is perfect just the way they are and that is worth fighting for!
3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? Slow down and be present. Early childhood is not a time to be rushed and filled with as many activities as possible. It is a time to create a strong foundation for all learning and relationships. Honour, embrace and respect every step of the way. Show children you value their innate abilities to learn by giving them time to daydream, experiment, explore, engage, express themselves and try again.
Yew Chung International School
Early Childhood Education: 3 Somerset Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. +852 2338 0264
Primary Section: 2 Kent Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. +852 2336 7292
Secondary Section: 3 To Fuk Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. +852 2336 3443