In this latest feature in our HEAD Space series, we talk to Paula Craigie, Head of Infant School at Tanglin Trust School and find out what inspired her to go into education, who she would most like to be for the day and more…
Who or what inspired you to teach?
Working in a pupil referral residential unit for 11-16 year old boys in the UK. These are alternative education provisions for children who are unable to attend school and may not otherwise receive suitable education. I remember thinking that I wanted to be able to inspire and support children before it got to that stage.
What was your favourite subject at school?
English and History – I had excellent teachers who inspired my love for their subjects. They were skilled at bringing their subjects to life through role play, drama and trips to the theatre to see alternative versions of classics such as A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney and Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra.
What is your all-time favourite book?
Anything by Thomas Hardy – but more recently, ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ and ‘The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes’ by Ruth Hogan. Females, past and present, showing strength of character often against the odds.
What do you consider your greatest personal achievement?
Learning advanced diving with my husband 20 years ago. My eldest son enjoys diving too and my younger son is going to try bubble maker when he is old enough. We can then all dive as a family!
Tell us about something you always have on your work desk?
- Photos of my family. These remind me about the importance of balance in what is a very busy role
- A jug of water to keep hydrated in the tropics!
- My top five to do list for the day to help me prioritise.
Who would you most like to be for the day?
A child in our Infant School. I would love to explore and investigate all the amazing resources, being captivated by different artefacts. Being able to enjoy academic challenges in a fun and stimulating learning space with time spent outdoors riding bikes, or inside, climbing to the top of the climbing wall! Our school really is a magical hive of activity and positivity.
Your favourite school moment this year?
We are the first Nursery in Asia to achieve Curiosity Approach Accreditation. Taking parts from Reggio, Steiner, Te Whariki and Montessori, the approach creates an environment where children’s natural desire to learn can grow and flourish.
We increased the use of natural materials, recycled materials and authentic resources in a purposeful and aesthetically pleasing way, allowing the children greater independence and access to resources. The Nursery was transformed into an even calmer and more tranquil unit with cosy, comfortable play spaces for our youngest learners.
I felt incredibly proud when I saw our school featured in the Curiosity Approach book, From Ordinary to Extraordinary. I know the effort that went into this achievement and the positive impact on our children but also how this approach continues to motivate and inspire our colleagues.
What three things do you need to be a successful Educator?
Compassion, integrity and understanding of how children learn.
In one sentence, what is your school’s ethos?
Respect, Responsibility and Purpose. I am continually struck by how relevant our values for everyone, from 3 year olds to 18 year olds to adults, are.
What was your journey you took to living in Singapore?
I began my teaching career in London, where I was also awarded a scholarship to study an MA in Education. In 2002, I was looking for a new challenge, so we moved abroad. I was Head of Year at a large international school in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Singapore in 2004. I am also an Ofsted Lead Inspector and regularly inspect schools in the UK. This has enabled me to keep up to date with the British curriculum and to ensure that we are at the forefront of educational best practice.
What or where is your favourite place to go on the “Little Red Dot”?
As a former dancer, I love supporting the arts. Singapore has a fantastic arts scene and I attend a range of performances. One of my monthly highlights is watching Ballet@One by the Singapore Dance Theatre. It is a glimpse into the world of a dancer – a Q&A and an opportunity to see the company rehearse excerpts from their performances in a small dance studio.
What makes the Singapore international school experience so special?
Sense of community, self-motivated teams and children who all want the very best and will do their very best to achieve it.
Tanglin Trust School is a Not-for-Profit, British-based International School in Singapore for Students age 3 to 18 years with IB and A Level at Sixth Form. We run a series of Open House Events throughout the year for you to find out more about our Nursery, Infant, Junior, Senior and Sixth Form.