Head of the Preschool (Kindergarten) Programme shares her thoughts on GIIS’ close-knit community, passionate teachers and award-winning Montessori programme where little ones learn through play
Global Indian International School has an award-winning Montessori education programme for students aged 2.5 to 5 years. We catch up with Ms. Rema Rajiv, who has been an Early Years Educator for over 15 years and is Head of the Preschool (Kindergarten) Programme at GIIS, Punggol campus. Rema shares what makes GIIS’ Kindergarten different – from a new extended hours programme (9am to 3.30pm), to how the programme strikes the perfect balance between academic, physical, sensory and socio-emotional skills while encouraging leadership skills from an early age.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your Early Years Education journey.
I have always loved interacting with young children. After the birth of my daughter, that passion increased ten-fold when I observed how responsive she was to our daily interactions and engagements. I found myself engaging with her friends in the park every day through fun activities and this gave me a lot of insight into the world of young children. Noticing this, my friends encouraged me to get myself trained professionally as I seemed to have a natural inclination to work with this age group. This is how my early years journey began.
What is special about the Montessori-Plus curriculum at GIIS for young learners and how is it different from other preschools?
The preschool curriculum at GIIS, called the Global Montessori Plus programme, is a tailored curriculum developed by our preschool experts to cater to the needs of our early learners. With years of experience in preschool education, our educators have customised the Maria Montessori method into a programme that provides additional value through an age-appropriate curriculum filled with opportunities to play and learn.
Our GMP programme helps in moulding learners and striking a good balance in providing academic, physical, sensory and socio-emotional skills development among students.
Young learners are also taught about their environment and community so that they are sensitised towards important issues from an early age. Kindergarten children at GIIS have practical life lessons and assume leadership roles in the form of class monitor, board monitor, star helper etc. which boosts their self-confidence.
GIIS has a brand new Extended preschool programme offered for children from 2.5 to 5 years. Tell us more about the activities for young learners.
The pandemic and the restrictions imposed on all have taken a toll on the social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills development of students all over the globe.
Our Extended programme will benefit our young learners as they would get an additional 3 hours of meaningful time to spend with their peers as they engage in Story-telling sessions, Dance, Speech and Drama, Art, Design thinking and Physical activities on a rotational basis in the afternoon session each day.
Tell us about your team of kindergarten educators at GIIS.
Our kindergarten teachers are experienced, highly qualified with Masters’ degrees in Education, and are caring Montessori trained preschool practitioners adept at working with young children. Some teachers also have training in special education needs. Learning is an ongoing process for our teachers who constantly keep upgrading their knowledge and teaching practices.
Any lessons to share from your extensive teaching experience?
I would say that one should never underestimate young children – provide them with ample opportunities for experimentation, stimulate them with a print rich environment, spend quality time reading to them every day to foster a love for reading.
Encourage children’s curiosity – answer all their why’s! Impart values that are important to you and be there for them as they need that nurturing environment to develop into well rounded individuals. These are the foundational years of a child and a supportive environment will go a long way in their overall development.
What is your favourite time with your students?
Young children bring out the best in me and I love my kindergarten students at GIIS. I lend a listening ear and respect the opinion of my students when I interact with them daily. Each child is unique and the pace at which each child learns is different.
I like spending one-on-one time with students who are struggling, particularly with phonics, and when I notice the positive change in their development after consistent practice, that gives me immense satisfaction.
Do you have a favourite memory at GIIS?
Recently, a Grade 12 student came over to me as I was talking to a group of teachers, and wanted to share something with me. She was the same student I had taught in kindergarten at GIIS 11 years ago! This was a child who would howl, yell and throw tantrums as a kindergartener – all those memories came to me in a flash, as she asked me for my opinion on a particular topic. This is the kind of bond we form with our students, that keeps them in touch with us even after so many years.
Thank you very much Rema! If you’d like to know more about the Extended Preschool Programme at GIIS, schedule a school tour here.
Global Indian International School, SMART campus, 27 Punggol Field Walk, Singapore 828649, Tel: (+65) 6914 7100,
GIIS East Coast campus, 82 Cheviot Hill, Singapore 459663, Tel: (+65) 69147000,