Taska Tulip (Montessori curriculum)
Choosing a kindergarten is quite daunting for parents. Weighing up considerations like costs, type of education, distance to the home, safety and what kind of teachers are there can cause sleepless nights, particularly for first-time parents, even more so if you decide to send your child at an early age. The best way to make a decision is by word of mouth followed by visiting the establishment to get a feel of the place and teachers, and even then you can be unsure.
Taska Tulip is one of those kindergartens where you walk in and you immediately notice that the kids are genuinely happy to be there, which is very important. Founder Geraldine Arulsamy has been in the industry for more than 20 years and immediately knew this was her calling as soon as she started teaching. ‘The early years of a child are fundamental. I chose to be involved in early childhood education because I know I have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and to be able to complement what parents do with them at home. I see my role as an educator not as work, but a personal mission to make a difference.’ With these words alone Geraldine shows how committed she is to her calling.
When she started working, she dreamt of having her own kindergarten but at that time she had two young children and realised how challenging it would be to manage everything. But, as fate would have it, she was put in a situation whereby decisions had to be made and a couple of months later, Geraldine got her wish and Taska Tulip opened.
When asked whether her teaching techniques and attitude changed when she became a mum, she had this to say, ‘Teaching has helped me become a better mum, and being a mum of three has made me a better educator. Being a parent certainly helps with being more patient and understanding why kids do the things they do. It’s not just textbook knowledge, but experience that helps me make sense of things.’
Do parents make better teachers? The hard part is to be able to distinguish the roles and as Geraldine noted being a parent does help in certain situations like when a kid cries as instinct takes over and it’s easier to handle the situation. That’s not to say that teachers who aren’t parents are lacking in any way, but there are times when it must be difficult to understand the problem especially when the kids are very young.
Teachers may even find themselves teaching their own kids and Geraldine has first-hand experience of this and admits it can be quite a challenge as parents always have higher expectations for them. ‘Sometimes mum mode can be more demanding to teacher mode. I always remind myself that parents are the primary educators and I need to find a balance between the two. From my experience, I know it’s hard but not impossible.’
It’s not just textbook knowledge, but experience that helps me make sense of things