We continue the Little Steps Talking Heads series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Singapore’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 Karen Nicholls, Principal of EtonHouse International Sentosa.
1. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Perth Western Australia, but grew up as a third culture kid. My family lived in various places around the state of Western Australia, Cocos Keeling Island and in Jakarta in Indonesia before returning to Perth where I completed my schooling.
2. Where do you live in Singapore and why do you love it there? In Singapore I live in the Tanjong Rhu area, on the Kallang River. I love it there because I am surrounded by greenery, open spaces and parkland. After work and on weekends it is refreshing and relaxing to be part of a community that is playing with children in the park, flying kites, walking dogs or playing cricket and soccer, jogging or taking a relaxing walk along the river. It is a pleasant relief from the hustle and bustle of city life.
3. What's in your lunchbox? Whatever is on the menu that day!
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? I was strongly influenced by my mother who insisted that education was the key to a good job. She encouraged life-long learning and insisted I achieve as much as I could in my chosen profession. She strongly believed that opportunities were open to boys as well as to girls; a novel idea in those days.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Warm, rich, engaging for children
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why? My electronic photo frame. During the course of a busy day I can glance at images that are special to me. This always puts a smile on my face.
2. What are your 3 favorite children's books? As an Australian I love the May Gibb adventures of Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie. I remember loving these stories as I grew up and connecting with the beautiful illustrations of the Australian bush. Eric Carle has a wonderful range of books that I love to share with children. House for Hermit Crab would be one of my favourites and I also love the delight children get when they listen to the story Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Parents will build a strong relationship with their child when they listen to what their children are telling them. Children already know so much about their world and by really listening parents have opportunities to celebrate that knowledge and to consider extending it further to support their child’s learning further.
2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? Not all schools are the same. Each setting is unique in its delivery of a particular curriculum or learning programme, and each school will have its strengths. Parents should ask the school deep questions about the curriculum and how the school’s particular teaching and learning environment supports learning. This will ascertain if it suits who their child is as a learner, and what they also want from the school for their child. Choosing a school is about the best fit for the needs of the child and the parents.