An introduction from our founder, Cheryl Raper:
The original edition of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum dominated the New York Times best seller list throughout 1989. I mention this in the hope that it will remind you that your choice of kindergarten will have a significant impact on the rest of your child’s life.
My vision for Southside is to be a role model kindergarten that serves as a catalyst for the continuous improvement of all kindergartens in Hong Kong and China. At Southside we all understand our important role in helping you to lay the foundations of your child’s character and attitude to school.
As an educator I am a great admirer of the work pioneered by Helen Parkhurst and subsequently developed within the Dalton School. The Dalton Plan, with its focus on House, Assignment and Lab, creates a framework that cultivates a high level of self-responsibility. It also uses a highly individualized approach that adapts to the differing needs of each student. I find that many of the teachers I admire the most adopt similar methods, even though they may not explicitly follow the Dalton Plan.
However, when looking at the needs of preschool children I am also influenced significantly by the work of Lev Vygotsky. The main strength of his approach is the emphasis on the underlying cognitive skills that most concern parents and teachers; self-regulation, deliberate memory and focused attention. It is the development of these skills that can have a radical effect on a child’s entire outlook toward school.
The other hallmark of the Vygotskian approach is its use of play as a primary learning activity. It provides the tools to help teachers strengthen play’s contribution to childhood.
Finally I must acknowledge the proprietary systems developed by Sylvan Learning. Their diagnostic assessments and prescriptive approach enables teachers to provide a level of individual service that would otherwise be exceptionally demanding in a typical classroom environment.