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ITS EDUCATION ASIA ARTICLE


SMALL WORLD CHRISTIAN KINDERGARTEN - CELEBRATING 30 YEARS


“Nurturing a child’s sense of personal worth and therefore hope and dreams for wonderful future is perhaps the most important responsibility of every grown-up in a child’s life.”

Thirty years ago, a small team of young teachers took up this responsibility towards the children of Hong Kong. Opening its doors in 1986, Small World Christian Kindergarten pursued a vision to invest in the next generation, building them up with strong foundations of love, self-esteem, and learning.

            A sense of history is immediately apparent when you walk through the doors of No. 10, Borrett Road. The premises that this not-for-profit kindergarten has operated out of for the past 30 years is a Grade II heritage listed building, formerly a British military hospital and, for a time, the site of Island School. Today, Small World’s campus is a bright, bustling hive of activity, but when Gail Maidment and Barbara Nizza, the school’s founders, first entered the building, it had been unoccupied for some time and needed considerable work. The team prepared the space for a kindergarten: cleaning, painting, and making repairs; and then set about the task of letting Hong Kong know that Small World existed! They handed out flyers in Central, and even chatted with parents on the bus. They soon had one morning class of eight students. Over the next year, this small cohort grew to 66 students across a number of morning and afternoon classes.                                                                  

            Small World has always valued the strong support of its families and wider community, with regular events such as Dad’s Dates and Parent & Helper Courses being a vital part of the life of the school from its inception. It has also extended its vision of Christian education outside its own community, providing training for teachers who have gone on to start kindergartens in Hong Kong and across Asia.

            As Small World celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year, a number of these first students got in touch. One said,

Its remarkable to look back and realise that my earliest memories are indelibly marked by Small World Christian Kindergarten. It was there that I first experienced the joy of making new friends, the delight of playing on slides and sandpits, the affirmation of my value and self-worth, and the sense that behind these gifts stood a Person of infinite goodness and love. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I learned what it meant to be a human being during those years! As a 34 year-old, its easy to gloss over the influence of my kindergarten, yet I know that Small World has instilled me with a sense of identity which has grounded and guided me throughout my life.

And then there is this from a former Small World parent:

 “Im so grateful for the marvellous foundations laid down in our lives over those years. I learned as much about Gods love on Borrett Road as my children did”.

            Small World has always had strong roots in Christian faith, but has also warmly welcomed the many families of other faiths or none who have been attracted by its commitment to high quality, whole-child learning. The kindergarten is dedicated to cultivating individuals of character, compassion, courage, and competence, and for 30 years they have seen this approach build confidence in children over and over again, igniting their desire to learn and setting them up for a great start in their primary education.

            Small World continues to pursue best practices in Early Childhood Education, and along with its sister schools in the Generations Christian Education family is an enthusiastic proponent of the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). The IPC is a perfect fit for Small World’s educational ethos, combining strong academic learning in areas such as early literacy and numeracy with defined goals for personal development, such as resilience, adaptability, respect and communication. These elements are woven together into an engaging, inquiry-based program that gives young learners the skills to begin to explore the world around them.

            Small World Christian Kindergarten is excited to go into the next thirty years of loving for today, learning for tomorrow, and living for eternity, and invites you to join them on this journey. Find out more at www.smallworld.edu.hk.

[1] Wess Stafford (2010), Too Small to Ignore, WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, p.35

Why we love Small World Christian Kindergarten

By June Li

“I’m always amazed by how well the teachers know my child, his personality and his preferences.

            Small World Christian Kindergarten has been a wonderful place for my child – he has grown and flourished there.

            In an environment where education is often viewed as a business, and children are pushed to do academics at an ever earlier age, Small World is truly a place that is counter-cultural to this - from their child centred, inquiry-based curriculum to the caring and dedicated teachers. Each new theme has been met with enthusiasm and excitement, and the teachers’ dedication and passion really shine through in the creative ideas and the ways that learning is made fun. 

            I’m always amazed by how well the teachers know my child, his personality and his preferences. He’s not just another kid in the classroom, the teachers truly see the uniqueness of each child and are able to encourage them to develop at their own pace.  At the parent-teacher conferences, I’ve often found that the things that I wanted to bring up with the teachers were things that they had already noticed and addressed. 

            As a Christian family, I’m also glad to see the school’s Biblical curriculum taught in an integrated and lively way. It’s so important to me that my child knows God as our Father and that they are not just taught Bible stories, but that the entire staff and school embody the Christian worldview.

            The administration as well has been very welcoming and helpful, always finding time to get to know families personally, and have always been open and communicative to parents.  As a result, the school runs smoothly and efficiently.

            As an early childhood educator myself, I look for a school run by people who are passionate about children and education, a curriculum that is child-centred and developmentally appropriate, and teachers who are talented and who genuinely love teaching. I have found all this at Small World Christian Kindergarten.


Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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