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 Rob Stewart, Principal of EtonHouse International School, Broadrick.
1. Do you have a nickname? One that I can share is “Stewie” .
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born many years ago in Brisbane Australia. Because my Dad was in the Australian Army we travelled extensively. I spent my first three years in Malacca and actually spoke Mandarin! I have also lived in Papua New Guinea, Tasmania, South Australia and finally settling in Western Australia, Perth.
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? We have a wonderful apartment overlooking parts of the city and ocean in East Coast. I love the East Coast as it has terrific hawker centres close by as well as a seemingly relaxed lifestyle (if you can have that here in Singapore!)
4. What's in your lunchbox? Whatever Chef Patrick, Sarah and staff cook in our school kitchen. I try to stick to a salad but the chicken curry is to die for!
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? I have a number of mentor Principals, colleagues and close friends that influenced me greatly in my education career. I guess working with these inspirational leaders and then wanting to be in a position that enabled me to influence others to benefit children’s education made me aspire to be a leader in Education.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Safe, caring, happy, dynamic, challenging!
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why? I have a number of notes and cards that staff, children and parents give me over the course of the year that have wonderful messages on how I have influenced , supported or meant to them. When I get deep into challenging situations I look at these and it brings that smile back.
2. What are your 3 favorite children's books? "Tough Boris" by Mem Fox, "Mean Jean the Recess Queen" by Alexis O’Neill, and "Three Star Billy" by Pat Hutchins. But, I also am thankful for the Aussie Bites and Harry Potter series as that is when my boys started to enjoy reading on their own.
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Take an interest in what their child is doing. Spend time with them talking about what they do at school. Get to know the teacher and have faith in them. Come to school events and volunteer at least once over the year with parent activities. Most importantly…be prepared to let go… Your children are resilient, courageous, capable young people who CAN do everything we ask of them!
2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? Walk around the school and see how many welcoming smiles you get. See what other children are like. Are they engaged, happy and confident? Ask about the curriculum, quality of teachers, support services and parent involvement. Seek what external quality assurances has the school undergone? Don’t just focus on facilities. Your child spends 90% of their time in the class. Not the 25m indoor swimming pool!
3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? Verbal abuse goes in one ear but not out the other! Treat children respectfully, treat parents as a team member and treat staff as professionals.
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