Little Thinkers Schoolhouse Review

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Many parents are surprised at a male child care teacher, let alone a principal. The Asian Parent caught up with Mr Kenny Goh, principal of Little Thinkers Schoolhouse, who shared with us his views towards child care and his centre's play based approach.

Men and Child Care Centres

 
 
Learning through experience

Many parents are surprised and in extreme cases even apprehensive when it comes to having men as child care teachers or anything associated with the caring of children. The stereotype of a woman as the best care-giver and educator for young children brings about curious looks at a male child care teacher. This is best illustrated in the movie “Kindergarten Cop” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There is also a dim belief that more male child care teachers would mean more rough housing and less work. However, Bryan Robinson, a Ph.D. author, researched and mentioned in his 'Vanishing Breed: Men in Child Care Programs' paper that "males appeared to behave no differently from the females, and they scored similarly on a measure of personality". Robinson's studies highlight the differences between male and female child care teachers' attitudes and behaviours showing that these may be flowing together more than others may seem to think. Yet, the general public still seem surprised when it comes to the sight of a male teacher at the door of a child care centre.

Little Thinkers

In North America, men typically represent less than five percent of the childcare field. Here in Singapore, it is equally hard to find a man who is involved in child care duties. After exploring the little red dot, theAsianparent unearthed a centre with a male principal who doubles up as a teacher and a friend to the children. Kenny Goh, principal of Little Thinkers Schoolhouse, meets raised eyebrows from new parents when they find out about his involvement with the children. A former SIA steward, Goh dedicates time to Little Thinkers unconditionally and enjoys the play based approach that the centre offers. A father of four and in the child care field for almost a decade now, Goh understands children and realises that every child is different from the next.

Developing a child's potential and looking at each child as an individual are what Goh lists as his main duties. Steering clear of physical punishments, Goh merely has to reprimand the children to regain order and discipline. Always ready with a hug, Goh crosses any bridge that may be in his way when it comes to the children’s level of comfort around him. He has managed to change the mindset of the parents who have reached an understanding that a fatherly presence brings about a sense of security, especially in the boys. Little Thinkers Schoolhouse adopts a very hands-on play based approach towards educating the children. It is a belief instilled amongst all the teachers at the centre.

 
 
Building a future

Parents, being more academic oriented, have their reservations when it comes to the play based approach that Little Thinkers Schoolhouse adopts. However, Goh accepts such hesitation and merely waits for a couple of months and lets the results of the children speak for themselves. “The children are happier and eager to come to the centre. We do academic work, of course but we emphasise more on children tapping the creative side and exploring more with their hands and using all senses to observe and learn, which they do enthusiastically” he explains.

“The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men,” English theological writer, Julius Charles Hare once said. Kenny Goh, with his simple ways and giant hugs ready for the children, is proof of Hare’s words. In an industry dominated by women, Goh is a trailblazer for fellow men. Parents are starting to move away from the groundless view that a female teacher is always better and as Goh puts it, “when you have the passion and love for educating young children, gender is merely something that can be tossed aside”. The smiles beaming on the faces of children at Little Thinker’s Schoolhouse is testament that ability and passion outweighs gender here.

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