Learning Should Be As Effortless As Breathing

【Interview with Ginny Humpage, Head of Curriculum at Bebegarten Education Centre】

Located in Wong Chuk Hang, Bebegarten Education Centre offers an inspiring and well thought out educational platform which truly places the children first. Providing a nurturing and interactive learning environment, Bebegarten focuses very much on the process, as well as the breadth and depth of learning in every child. “At Bebegarten, every decision we make always reflects back to the notion that we must take time to reflect on what is in the best interest of our children before any changes are made. We provide students with an inspiring and memorable early years learning journey, focusing on the process first, and the product naturally follows” says Ginny, Head of Curriculum at Bebegarten Education Centre.

Born and raised in England, Ginny moved to Washington DC at the age of 20. She was inspired to pursue a career in the field of early childhood education by the family whom she initially worked for as an au pair. After becoming involved in education projects with them (for example, going into prisons to teach incarcerated men and women  how to educate and build relationships with their children through literacy-based and other meaningful activities), Ginny realized early on that she wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of young children. To pursue her teaching career, she taught at the World Bank Child Development Centre in Washington DC as well as the British School of Washington before she decided to move to Hong Kong to become a pre-school teacher.

Seven years ago, when Ginny was the Head of Curriculum for a group of pre-schools in Hong Kong, she was introduced to Claudine Ying, the Founder of Bebegarten Education Centre. “Claudine and I have the same vision for education. We both believe that learning should be as effortless as breathing. We therefore worked together with a dynamic team to launch a platform for change in early childhood education here in Hong Kong” says Ginny. That passion and commitment has not stopped and now Ginny is in her final research stages of a Doctor of Education Degree.

Bebegarten Education Centre was established as a progressive and inspirational early years platform which encourages children to learn in a natural way. Focusing primarily on children’s learning processes, Bebegarten created their proprietary Language of Children™ (LOC) educational framework by drawing from five globally recognised  early years models, - the Reggio Emilia approach from Italy, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) from England, the High Scope approach from the United States, Te Whāriki from New Zealand and Experiential Education from Belgium and embedding the best pedagogoical practices into the LOC. “The LOC framework places much emphasis on the lifelong journey of learning in children. It is designed as a play-based and child-centred approach, which integrates the best aspects of effective pedagogy” Ginny explained. “Education doesn’t stand still and is constantly evolving. We are confident that our unique educational model is able to fulfill the developmental and learning needs of every child.

To deliver an optimal learning experience, classroom activities at Bebegarten usually follow the interests of their students. This stimulates children to become more engaged and active in their learning process. Inspired by the Reggio approach, Bebegarten also uses the environment as the third teacher, allowing children to safely and freely explore their surroundings to enhance their sensory development. The flexible classroom setting is designed to encourage children’s independence, curiosity and creativity.

 

In addition to their Over 3’s program, Bebegarten also offers playgroup courses for toddlers aged 6 to 36 months; including bilingual classes. The playgroup classes aim to prepare children with a solid foundation for their future learning. Class activities are designed to enhance whole brain and body development, including sensory activities, singing and child-initiated time in the playground. Children are required to be accompanied by a parent or caregiver in the playgroup classes. This helps to promote positive relationships between toddlers and their parents or caregivers. This is very important especially in Hong Kong, where parents tend to be very busy at work.

“Schools and parents should always work together to provide consistent support to children in order to enhance their development. To do this, we run parenting workshops on a regular basis to encourage home-school partnerships” says Ginny. Teachers share with parents what their child is doing at school so that their learning can be extended from school to home. Through conversations with parents, teachers also develop a stronger understanding about the children’s interests and personalities.

To foster children’s creativity, Bebegarten enrichment classes are filled with a variety of activities, allowing children to explore and express their voice and interest within a familiar environment. “Expressing creativity is not limited to what a child can paint or draw, but the expression of children’s creative languages in many different forms, such as writing, acting, singing, dancing, or even playing,” Ginny explained. She believes it is absolutely critical that children are given the opportunities to express themselves in different ways. Their enrichment classes cover a wide range of topics including language, art, sports, performing arts, STEM etc. Classes are opened to both internal and external students.

“Learning, no matter how old we are, should be fun and interesting - otherwise we are going to struggle with the motivation needed to learn.” Ginny stresses the importance of learning through play for children. “Play is a natural vehicle for learning – it’s how children learn best – that is through making choices about what they engage with, observing others, trial and error, taking risks, testing concepts and ideas out, being given time for deep level learning – all through playful activities that interest the child.” However, Ginny believes that the meaning of play is sometimes misunderstood here in Hong Kong. Parents should really give their child enough room to independently make choices and explore the activities that really interest them. Each child is unique and learns differently. Parents should really try to avoid putting unrealistic demands on children.

Over the past six years, Bebegarten has had an excellent track record of having their students accepted into various well-known international schools here in Hong Kong such as Hong Kong International School (HKIS), French International School, Canadian International School, and the International Montessori School (IMS). “Learning should not be a race, but an enjoyable, fulfilling and meaningful life-long journey. After all, learning doesn’t just stop when we leave school or university” says Ginny. In the future, Bebegarten will continue to inspire and have a positive impact on more children, not just here in Hong Kong, but globally.

 

See what other parents say about Bebegarten Education Centre.

Bebegarten is celebrating their 6th Birthday on Saturday, 30 March 2019. There will be lots of fun activities including bouncy castle, magic shows, messy play and many more!
Free admission for everyone! Register now for the event!