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Q&A with Imeelia Ismail, Curriculum Director at Shaws Preschool

shaws preschool
LearnPost Category - LearnLearn - Post Category - SchoolsSchools

Find out why this teacher loves her Shaws Preschool!

shaws preschool curriculum director

What is your background and training?
I started my career in early childhood 15 years ago, as a preschool teacher, then a speech and drama teacher. After completing my Masters degree, I took on lecturing positions both locally and overseas. I’ve always enjoyed curriculum development and teacher training, so for the past five years, I have been responsible for those areas in Shaws Preschool, as Curriculum Director.

What made you want to become a teacher?
I think it’s a combination of a few things: I love learning, and learning about how people learn. This is something I’ve always been intrigued about, and being in the classroom allows me to experience this firsthand. Secondly I feel most invigorated when I help someone “get” something. As a young Primary 1 student, I remember being asked to help older students with reading and it really made me happy when they “got” it! I was a tutor for many of my growing up years and I loved it! Thirdly I genuinely love being in the company of children. I feel I can be myself!

What do you love about working at your school in particular?
In Shaws, I work closely with teachers and principals from our six campuses, in curriculum planning and delivery. I love engaging with teachers and working on their ideas for classroom implementation. Ours is a close-knit group – it’s my second family. I feel empowered to make changes in the curriculum, based on reviews and feedback. There are open channels of communication, and I like that everyone is given room to grow, both personally and professionally. We operate in a very dynamic and organic fashion – we are not afraid to try new things, and we are open to learning and growing along the way. With Shaws, there’s no end product – it’s all about the process. Also I love how rich the curriculum is, and how much our children are learning and growing.

What is your take on ‘play-based learning’?
Play-based learning is so so important to me, because I feel it is respectful towards children – how they learn, how they develop, how they naturally are! Children experience deeper levels of processing, understanding, and being, when they play. It is, as Albert Einstein says, “the highest form of research”!

What is your favourite game or activity to do with your students?
I love tinkering with the children! We have a tinkering space in all our schools, where the children are able to make things, build, create, express themselves, etc. So much learning happens there! Just sitting down with a child at the tinkering space, watching, listening, and discussing their thoughts, is extremely engaging. You get absorbed into the child’s world, and realise just how much is going on in there!

What is one fun fact about you?
I am a chronic harmoniser! I love singing. In fact I can’t go without singing in a day. We sing a lot as a family, and I’ve been teaching my eldest daughter how to harmonise, and lately I’ve caught myself harmonising to Baby Shark!

Read more about Shaws Preschool here!

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