From creating age-appropriate learning activities to getting a cuddle: it’s all in a day’s work for Daisy Nicholas, who teaches at Woodland Pre-School Kennedy Town.
How long have you been teaching, both in Hong Kong and overseas?
I started teaching gymnastics when I was 17 and I’ve always loved working with children. I’ve been teaching in Hong Kong for more than two years.
Tell us about the structure of a typical day for you.
Our classes are either one or two hours long, and are usually broken down into 15-minute segments of play, circle time, art, Mandarin, music and movement and snack time.
How many students and staff are in your classes?
Playgroup classes at Woodland Kennedy Town have between eight to ten children per class with an accompanying adult. I often find the adults are having just as much fun as the children! I always encourage singing and dancing and silliness.
How do you plan activities that demonstrate the children’s specific learning objectives?
At Woodland, we use the British Early Year Foundation Stage curriculum and I pick activities that will stimulate and excite the children mentally, physically and socially. Our lessons are filled with music and dancing, sensory, art and literacy, and are all planned to help the children reach age-appropriate milestones while having fun.
What are some fun activities that parents can do at home with their preschoolers?
I would recommend doing sensory and messy play using easily accessible materials such as water, sand, flour and shaving foam. Sensory play is incredibly engaging and will help develop children’s nerve connections, build fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Heuristic play is also super easy to do at home; it involves letting children play with and explore real world objects from around the house.
Do you think the early childhood education needs of children in Hong Kong differ to those of kids overseas?
Although the UK and HK education systems differ, the overall needs of young learners are the same. Children must be engaged and happy and encouraged to ask questions at every stage of learning.
Do you have a teacher’s trick to get children focused when attention is straying?
If I’m reading a story and the children aren’t listening I will make a funny noise or sound to get their attention. Make your activities as exciting as possible to keep children focused.
What gives you the greatest job satisfaction?
I build strong relationships with all my students, so watching them grow and gain confidence in themselves and making friends is amazing. The cuddles at the end of class are pretty lovely, too!
Woodland Kennedy Town Pre-School is at G/F-2/F, Hau Wo Building, 3C Davis Street, Kennedy Town. Woodland Pre-Schools has nine campuses around Hong Kong. Call 2559 4855 or visit woodlandschools.com for more.
Hear about one mum’s experience at Woodland: ‘We immediately felt at home’
This article first appeared in the December/January 2017/18 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.