Name of Recipient:
Ms. Charmaine Soh
It is every parent’s wish to be able to give their children the best education possible. In this instance, the best normally encompasses a holistic approach which not only focuses on academics but more importantly, on life skills. It is with this in mind that Greentree Montessori opened its doors 24 years ago.
Founded by Ms Charmaine Soh, the school offers education using the Montessori Methodology. The Montessori method is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity and succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of a human being. In a Montessori classroom, children engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities and progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities. Montessori children are known to show independence, social grace, awareness, spontaneity and responsibility.
Charmaine founded the school after working in the public education sector for 15 years. In the public sector, she was a Junior College teacher specializing in Chinese Language and Physical Education and had worked with children from all walks of life. Her primary decision to leave the public sector was because she felt that the mainstream education system focused too much on academic results and neglected cultural studies and many other essential elements required for human development.
The mission of Greentree Montessori is to provide quality education in an environment designed to foster a child’s love of learning and their respect for themselves, others and the community. The importance of a robust early childhood education is vital as it builds a strong foundation in preparation for each child’s future social and academic pursuits.
It was not always a smooth journey for Greentree Montessori as the initial stages of operations were filled with much hardship. Charmaine elaborated that she encountered much difficulties in her application for a location to house her school. In addition, the approval process also faced many obstacles cause by now obsolete government regulations and policies. In the 1990s, Singapore followed strict academic guidelines and did not recognize alternative education methods apart from the traditional ones already implemented in the country. Overcoming multitudes of obstacles and proving the Montessori Method’s effectiveness to various government bodies, Greentree Montessori became the first Montessori school in Singapore. Charmaine mentioned that the center saw a boom the moment they began enrollment, and this clearly signals that all of the hard work had paid off.
There are many ways in which Greentree Montessori stands out in the early childhood industry. For example, the center strongly believes that children are natural learners and thus provides their students with personalized lesson plans, one to one coaching and the freedom of choice to pursue various subject matters. The school firmly stands behind the idea of promoting respect and civility amongst their students.
Besides having already expanded their operations to China, Greentree Montessori also provides professional consultation services to various preschools locally and internationally. Countries include Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.
When asked about the meaning of entrepreneurship, Charmaine mentions that passion is the key. She said, “It is important to be honest with everyone you work with but more importantly, being passionate about what you do will drive you on towards a fulfilling life”. Evidently, this attitude has allowed the school to propel towards its achievements today.
Clearly an educator at heart, Charmaine stated that Maria Montessori, the founder of her school’s selected pedagogy, constantly inspires her. Maria Montessori is an Italian doctor who graduated with high honors from the medical school of the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori was in touch with young children and became profoundly interested in their development. Having a solid grounding in biology, psychiatry and anthropology, she paved a way for her pedagogy through careful observations of children of all races and cultures in many countries around the world. Advocating peace education, she was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions. In addition, Charmaine is also deeply inspired by her mother, who was a teacher during the Japanese occupation in Singapore. She went on to add that her mother is a major source of inspiration in her life because of her courage and responsibility towards education.
According to Charmaine, it is of utmost importance for any aspiring businessperson to be truthful to others. It is only by being honest that an individual is able to gain the trust of his/her employees and clients alike. Furthermore, one must always be consistent in their actions and speech and this can only be accomplished through “self-discipline”. The ability to constantly practice self-discipline is one that requires a lot of conviction and hard work. It is also important always deliver products or services that will bring joy and happiness to others.
Ultimately, the success of Greentree Montessori is one that is largely attributed to the school’ sense of pride and responsibility to their service towards education. It is also with those very values that Greentree Montessori will continue to see more success and recognition for many years to come.
45 Jalan Mata Ayer S(759130)
T| 6756 4382