My name is Foong Kwin and my family name is Tan. My kindergarten students call me Ms. Kwin, my trainee teachers call me Mrs. Tan and my boys call me Mum. And as if that is not enough I also have an English given name, so you can call me Queenie.
I specialise in Early Childhood Education; helping teachers and parents work effectively with children under the age of 7 years, so that you can stay motivated and passionate about connecting with young children, while avoiding being overwhelmed or frustrated.
I’ve always dreamt of being an early childhood educator and making a difference to the lives of young children so when I was 17, I finished school, and went straight into a Montessori teacher’s training course. I’m not sure if it’s their energy or the sparkle in their eyes, which draws me to them, but I feel so inspired, happy and alive when working with young children.
My passion to be a great teacher was inspired by a string of really unforgettable teachers. The first, was my year one class teacher who often embarrassed me in class for having learning difficulties. I became her least favourite student when I was failing all my subjects. One day, she dragged me right across the classroom by my hair braid for “bringing the class aggregate down”. At that time, all I remember was asking myself ‘would someone please tell me what on earth is an aggregate?!?’
I had another teacher who made me stand outside the class for failing his subject exam and one who made me stand on the table! I hated school, I thought of it as an awful waste of my time and I didn’t think I was cut out for it. Amid this string of teachers who couldn’t manage me, was one who actually could, and this teacher made a world of difference. She was my English Literature teacher in high school who was able to magically turn dusty old stories and poems (yes, the whole dusty lot from Shakespeare to John Keats) into interesting lessons about life, which helped me understand my purpose and place in it.
Through literature, my teacher helped me see the irony of life. How people shape the way they saw the world, which they later found out, had more to it if they only stopped to widen their gaze. It was such a revelation when I found out that there was more to life than just school or passing exams. There was also a chance to make a difference and to help others shape their perspective of things so that they too can feel empowered like I did!
It was this point when I realised that this world needed more teachers like my literature teacher. Teachers who could connect with their students, who were able to get them to engage and to take charge of their own learning, who help their students believe in themselves as unique human beings who were capable in their own unique ways. That was when I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to being the best teacher that I could be, little did I know that it was also going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do!
Aside from my determination to make a difference, coupled with painstakingly learning all the skills required for teaching such young children, I was also faced with my father-in-law who felt strongly against me being a teacher. He spent over an hour talking me out of it and literally told me to go and get a job in a bank so that I could have ‘a clear path to success’ apparently. Did I also mention that he was a retired teacher? The irony of it all!
A few years into my preschool teaching career, I found out that besides being really good with children, I was also getting really good with parents. I found a technique of communicating with parents so that we were able to maintain home-school continuity when it came to their children’s learning. Fostering strong ties between home and school was a huge contributing factor to my success as an effective early childhood educator. I loved it and it was empowering to see my students develop in leaps and bounds over the course of just one academic year.
I felt empowered after becoming a highly sought after teacher and started getting offers from top kindergartens but I quickly realized that no matter how good I became, I could do more! I could teach others what I know so that the difference I could make could be compounded and multiplied! As soon as I’d completed my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Early Childhood Education, I got an offer to train teachers and I jumped at it.
I have to admit that my public speaking skills and computer skills were not that great when I started out lecturing and training teachers. However, my passion to share what I knew about Early Childhood Education propelled me through all 7 years of working with trainee teachers, daycare providers and nannies (while still holding down my pre-school teaching job in the mornings) in universities, teacher training colleges, Montessori teacher’s training centers, and vocational institutes.
Now, I am living my dream. I am a mom of two boys and a published author who teaches young children on a part-time basis, does private consults for parents, gets to work with teachers by conducting in-house teacher training sessions at kindergartens and by speaking at teacher’s conferences, writes inquiry-based learning curriculum
as a guide for teachers, develops mentoring programmes for busy teachers to develop themselves professionally, creates online courses for enthusiastic parents who want to be their child’s first and foremost teacher, and produces podcasts to inspire, inform and educate both parents and early childhood educators.
I believe the secret to my success is due to my relentless effort to learn and to develop myself professionally throughout all 16 years of my teaching career. It has opened up opportunities for me to be an early childhood educator in every way from working with young children to teaching parents and teachers about how to work with young children.
“I can’t emphasize more on how important continual professional development is to becoming an effective and happy teacher.”
My goal is to help early childhood educators be the best that they can be so that they too can make a difference in the lives and learning experiences of young children. I want to help educators be really good at what they do so that they will (1) enjoy every minute of their work, (2) overcome the plague of being overworked and overwhelmed and (3) be well compensated for their skills and their passion for working with young children. Ultimately, I want early childhood educators to proudly say that working with young children defines who they are as teachers.
I am here to serve you and this website is set up especially for people like you, who are passionate about early childhood education just like I am. It has tonnes of quality content, which reflects my years of working with young children, training teachers, curriculum writing, kindergarten set-up, coaching parents and research. If you still can’t find what you need, please shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
PS – If you haven’t already, do pop down to my Facebook page and introduce yourself. I’d love to get to know you better.