In this Meet & Greet, we speak to Priya Nathan, Curriculum Coordinator at EtonHouse Vanda.
- What inspired you to become a teacher?
I’ve always wanted to become a teacher since young and as I was pursuing my tertiary education, I realised that I wanted to make an impact on young children’s lives and inspire them. That’s when I joined the EtonHouse Education Centre in 2006 and pursued my Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching which I felt was one of the best decisions in my life. Soon, I went on to complete my Bachelors in Early Childhood Studies from Monash University. It was EtonHouse that gave me a new meaning to what Early Childhood education is all about, and inspired me to be who I am right now.
- What do you love most about teaching?
I love the fact that every day is filled with new and exciting journeys as I plan my inquiry for the children. It's priceless, getting to see how deep and rich we can go with our inquiry, how the children take ownership of their learning, and pushing their boundaries so it's not just me facilitating the learning journey but also them being a co-learner regardless of which age group.
- What is your favourite part of the school and why?
My favourite part of the school all time is definitely the outdoor space at Vanda as it gets us connected to nature and the outside world. Though our centre is small, we are privileged to have such a beautiful outdoor space for the children.
The most memorable moment for me is receiving the 10th year long service award as its not just the number of years that counts, but it is the drive in me to be inspired to work with children which has brought me this far.
- What do you love most about your job as Curriculum Coordinator?
It’s about inspiring other teachers and supporting them in developing an effective curriculum in the centre based on the EtonHouse philosophy, vision and mission, and ensuring that we work together as a family.
- Describe a typical day in your job
My day starts off by setting up the environment according to the learning proposals of the day, including provocations. Along with my Mandarin teaching partner, we gather all the children upon their arrival and head out for our outdoor play/ learning followed by having our snack at the dining area. We gather again for our morning meeting where we share our agenda for the day and discuss our inquiry, storytelling, and songs. Our inquiry commences with both of us working with small groups on the learning experiences planned for the day while the rest of the children visit learning areas and provocations left in the classroom to explore and investigate. This is followed by lunch, when teacher dine along with the children and then its nap time for the children. That is usually the time when I get to work on my documentation, as well as meet up with the teachers whom I’m mentoring/ supporting as a curriculum coordinator.
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Apart from spending quality time with my daughter, I have acquired the interest and love in engaging in Doodle and Zentangle Art which I started about 5 years ago as a way to de-stress and calm my mind. As I got more involved in this art, I grew fonder of it and began designing and selling notebooks, totebags and diaries with my own designs to a wonderful response. I still continue doodling during my free time and intend to specialize on mandalas. I’ve already have several of my works on canvas displayed in my home.
- What is your most memorable project?
My most memorable project would be my K2 graduation project in 2013. That class only consisted of boys and they were inspired to create a movie based on the Indian epic titled ‘Ramayana’. It was a project which they undertook with 6 months of planning and preparations. The preparations also included designing their own costumes, coming up with their own dialogues, selecting a female character for their movies by conducting an all school audition inviting girls from other levels to participate. Parents also participated in the project enthusiastically and, at the end of the day, the children were proud of premiering their very own movie during their graduation. It is a project which will always stay close to my heart because it was entirely the children’s production.
- A quote/saying/belief that inspires you? How does it inspire you?
“Play your role in life with such passion that even after the curtains comes down, the applause doesn’t stop.”
There are many quotes which have inspired me, but this particular quote which I came across recently got me thinking about how we should inspire others, whether young or old. Why it has made an impact is because it was mentioned in an article which I read recently that it was the last WhatsApp status of a Colonel in the Indian Army who died fighting terrorists in Kashmir, India. So that got me to reflect really hard on how I should play my role as an educator for as long as possible to inspire not only the children, but also teachers with passion.
- Any advice for parents on how they can support their children's journey?
Being a parent myself, the best advice I would give is to truly believe in your child by recognising their strengths and abilities, encouraging and praising them for their efforts and achievements, which will in turn help your child make good choices because behind every young child who believes in him/herself is a parent who first believed in them.