Dr. Khoo Kim Choo and Ms Magdalene Teo share how Preschool for Multiple Intelligences sets itself apart from the pack by seeing each child as intelligent in their own way
The best way to know if your child’s preschool is a right fit is to speak with its team of educators to see how they’ve got their finger on the education pulse in Singapore. Today, we speak with Dr. Khoo Kim Choo, the founder-director of Preschool for Multiple Intelligences and the school’s Senior Principal, Ms Magdalene Teo. With years of experience under their belts, this impressive duo talk about how their experiences shape the fundamental values that form Preschool for Multiple Intelligences’ overall approach to early learning in Singapore.
Meet Dr. Khoo Kim Choo, Founder-Director of Preschool for Multiple Intelligences
What is your training and your background?
My first PhD (Social Welfare) in 1983 focused on young children and families, particularly on resilience and holistic development. In 1992, I was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Wheelock College, Boston, USA; and in 2007, I was awarded the Public Service Award (PBM) from President Nathan for my contribution to the early childhood care, development, and education in Singapore. I have more than 35 exciting years in various capacities in this field. I was a child development specialist, Head of Training and then first CEO of the largest childcare organisation. I initiated upgrading the quality of childcare and started a training centre which lead to the first Masters in Early Childhood Education in partnership with Wheelock College in Singapore. This in turn lead to the launch of the first Diploma in Early Childhood Education when the Master’s students graduate to teach at the diploma level. In fact, my consultancy work – both locally and abroad – has enriched my experience in the early childhood field.
Tell us something we would never guess about yourself?
I have written for parents as well as three rhyme books for children – Going Downtown, House by the Woods and Whose Cat is That. The second edition of all three books is to be launched before the end of the year. Meanwhile, I have a new children’s book, The Reading Tree, which is in the process of being published.
What made you decide to set up PMI?
The only reason I started Preschool for Multiple Intelligences was because of my first grandson, Matthew. I wanted to create a preschool that would nurture him in the best possible way. Matthew was born in January 2006 and by August the same year, PMI was up and running.
What is unique about PMI?
At PMI, we see every child as intelligent in his or her way. Every child is unique- which explains why we don’t have uniforms. PMI is built on two pillars. The first pillar is Howard Gardner’s theory and research on Multiple Intelligences which recognises eight different intelligences in us in varying degrees. If it is one of our strong intelligences, we can go far and deep, while all other intelligences can be developed to the next higher level in varying degrees.
What are these eight intelligences?
The eight intelligences are: interpersonal intelligence (ability to solve interpersonal problems, to play and work well together); Intrapersonal intelligence (self-esteem, self-management); logical-mathematical (mathematics, science, logical thinking); linguistic (speaks, writes well); visual-spatial (art, imagination); musical (sense of rhythm, plays musical instruments, composes songs); bodily kinaesthetic (fine and gross motor skills, coordination) and naturalistic intelligence (understanding and love of nature).
What other features make the school unique?
These lie in PMI’s second pillar – the core values that shape who we are as a person. Are we kind, responsible, honest? Do we stand up for ourselves and do we respect others no matter who they are? Are we independent and do we have initiative to solve problems instead of waiting for things to be done and taken care of by others? These are values for life that will stand a child in good stead. Overarching the two pillars is how children learn. At PMI, learning is experiential, meaningful and most importantly, learning must be applicable in real life. Throughout the child’s journey at PMI, parents are treasured partners for the care, development, and education of the child.
Meet Ms Magdalene Teo, Senior Principal of Preschool for Multiple Intelligences
What do you love about working at your school in particular?
There are so many reasons to love working at PMI and one of the reasons is the children. They are the reason I get up in the morning and head to work with a smile on my face, as I wonder who is going to make my day. I love the energy they have, not only physically but the strong need to engage with their world and their innocence.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with many teachers with a genuine love for children and who will put in a lot of effort to ensure that the children’s physical, emotional, social, and educational needs are met. Without them, there is no school.
And I must include the parents who are a large part of their child’s whole education process. The symbiotic relationship the school has with its parents is just wonderful. I’ve often found parents to be a great resource through their participation in school activities events and reinforcing the learning at home, which creates such a positive experience for the child.
What is your take on ‘play-based learning’?
I believe that play is very important for children, and for adults as well but for different reasons. The benefits of young children’s play are far reaching. Besides the fact that play is the way children learn, play allows children to practice skills. For example, some skills a child would pick up during play is social skills like taking turns, respecting the other person by listening to their ideas, and language skills as they talk and negotiate during play. If they are playing outdoors, they pick up knowledge and understanding of nature around them or learn about their physical abilities. As they play, they develop personality from understanding themself. Play allows creativity to develop and nurtures critical thinking and it is fun. Children who have fun don’t resist learning.
Read more about Preschool for Multiple Intelligences here! If you’d like to book a customised school tour, email the Preschool for Multiple Intelligences team at [email protected] (Newton) or [email protected] (East).
Quote SassyPMI to receive a complimentary set of three rhyme books when you register your child before 31 December 2020!
Preschool for Multiple Intelligences,
37 Newton Road, Singapore, 307965, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6259 9661;
39 Lorong Melayu, Singapore, 416923, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 6747 1343, www.pmi.com.sg