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 navigatithe schooling scene, and their favorite things about life in the city. In this edition, we say hello to Shaun Chapman, Head of Enrichment at Bebegarten Education Centre!
1. Do you have a nickname? Many! But the majority are unimaginative and based on my surname E.G. Chappers, Chaps, Chappy. However one that has always stuck through teaching is “Shaun the Sheep” - even more so since the cartoon show went global!
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in a tiny rural village in England just outside of Norwich. I lived there the majority of my life before moving to London at 18 to attend Drama School.
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? I live in Kowloon and I love it because it’s vibrant. It has always been perfect for me as it allows me to experience the absolute breadth of what Hong Kong has to offer and brush up on my very limited Cantonese.
4. What's in your lunchbox? My lunchbox is always a mystery in itself. More often than not I will take in cereal or salad with fruit - allowing me to greedily sample the almost unparalleled variety of food that HK’s restaurants offer for dinner.
1. What or who inspired you? The most important influences in my life that drive me to succeed have always been constant - my grandparents shaped me from a young age and the nurturing environment of my own family is something I look to inspire for families that pass through our system. However the greatest inspiration is always the children themselves - having the privilege and responsibility to improve their learning experiences drives me every day.
2. Describe your education centre in 5 words or less! Inspiring, Creative, Home.
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why? My gorilla paperweight that my grandfather gave to me. They’ve always been my favorite animal and their strength is sometimes lost in their seeming simplicity - perhaps an image I like to think I can relate too.
2. What are your 3 favorite children's books? Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss; Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne; The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Engage and be involved. It’s invaluable that a child’s education is everywhere, not just at ‘school’, so shortening the gaps is invaluable and can be done in a variety of ways. Continued communication with your child’s educators, making an effort to really understand what their children are doing and why and often overlooked in my opinion is allowing children the freedom to learn - they will make mistakes, they will have highs and lows but their resilience and adaptability will serve them well; not just as children but as they continue to grow and find their place in the world.
2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? The most important person in the process is the child - what environment do they need to thrive? A parent can best facilitate this by listening to their child’s teachers and building a foundation of what learning styles and environments suit their son or daughter. Then, as calmly as possible, begin the discussions and processes as early as possible so you can assess things as they develop.
3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? “Whatever you do in life, whether you are a builder, truck driver, teacher or cleaner - be the best at what you do.”