FOUNDER and chief executive of MapleBear Singapore Patricia Koh believes that the early childhood education industry has plenty of room to develop, and her goal is to work with her team to offer quality pre-school programmes.
MapleBear Singapore, a Canadian education brand, has over 20 centres for children aged four months to six years.
Mrs Koh, 66, has nearly 50 years’ experience, in the education sector. She has been involved in research, curriculum development and teacher training during her time as lecturer and head of the Early Childhood Education department at the National Institute of Education (NIE), then known as the Institute of Education.
Now, she regularly visits the MapleBear centres or prepares for talks or events as a speaker.
She also guides and mentors teachers on coming up with interesting lessons for children, shows them fun ways to teach and look for creative ways to make stories come alive through music and dance.
Empowering young ones
Mrs Koh says she is known as the “children’s ambassador” as she ensures that the children at her schools receive the best from their teachers.
She recalls an interesting conversation she had with a five year old about what he would like to be when he grew up and was surprised by his reply.
He said: “It depends on who gets to me first.”
She says: “A child’s future can be easily affected and shaped by their early experiences. This is one of the key reasons why I am dedicating my life to making sure children get the best start.”
Not only does she personally recruit teachers who “truly want to be with children and spend meaningful time with them”, her team has created a stress-free environment to enable teachers to spot a child’s potential easily and to develop each of them skilfully, she says.
“The real joy of teaching is witnessing the transformation of a child—taking their first steps, achieving their developmental milestones, seeing their confidence grow, gaining proficiency in various areas, developing an interest or hobby and eventually a readiness to explore the world,” she says.