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Bebegarten wants teachers who inspire kids with play

It is often said that young Hong Kong students work too hard and play too little. With this in mind, Bebegarten, an early childhood education provider, has adopted a curriculum philosophy that sets about inspiring children to learn through play and active learning – and is looking for teachers who share the same vision.
“The school believes that parents, teachers and caregivers must participate together to re-imagine education and co-create a seamless environment so that children can meet the challenges of the 21st century,” says Ginny Humpage, head of curriculum at Bebegarten. “To achieve that, we are looking to recruit creative, knowledgeable and passionate teachers who share the belief of inspiring children to be active learners.”
The school, which opened earlier this month, offers a wide range of classes including playgroups, pre-school programmes and enrichment programmes for children from six months to 12 years old. It recruits both in Hong Kong and internationally and currently has openings for Mandarin teachers and specialised under-threes teachers.

Mandarin teachers must have an “early years” teaching qualification and at least two years of early-years classroom experience. They must be native Mandarin speakers who are fluent in English and have a clear understanding of language acquisition in early-years development.

Under-threes teachers must have excellent knowledge of child development and teaching, as well as good classroom experience. They must also feel comfortable teaching and guiding parents and caregivers, since under-threes classes are accompanied. Above all they must have passion and flexibility for early-years teaching.

Bebegarten offers a relaxed, supporting working environment which places emphasis on everybody being valued. “It’s an exciting environment to be in given the team is made up of very experienced and passionate staff who really are keen to reflect upon and share good practice and research,” Humpage says.

Making sure staff are equipped with the knowledge to excel at their job is critical to the school’s success. “We feel supporting our staff with professional development training is critical. We believe that how we learn determines the societies we build, so we feel that supporting our staff with professional development training is critical,” Humpage says.

“We offer a full week of professional-development training before a teacher begins taking classes, and workshops are provided throughout the year. In addition, we are professional members of a couple of educational research organisations, which arrange seminars as well as encourage our own teachers to share their expertise with peers.”

Katie Miller, the school’s lead teacher, taught early childhood for nine years at two international preschools in Hong Kong before joining Bebegarten. She decided to join the school because it shared her vision of inspiring children to be active learners.

“When I was first approached by Bebegarten, I was inspired by their vision,” she says. “When they began to tell me how they wanted to offer families in Hong Kong a better educational choice – rather than just one choice – that allowed children to fall in love with learning, I could not think of anything more appealing than joining this ‘platform for change’.”
Miller is happy to have had a hand in the school’s early development. “I think being a part of something from the ground up is something I have always wanted to achieve. It has been inspiring to have been a part of Bebegarten from when it was just a small group of like-minded individuals to it becoming a reality. In terms of my career, I have learnt so many new things already. I have a new respect for people behind the scenes at schools and I hope that I can use this to help Bebegarten expand,” she says.

Miller shares her colleagues’ passion for children and together the team supports one another. “We work hard but we have a lot of laughs,” she says. “I have never before worked with so many people that are as passionate as I am about children. The teachers all share ideas and support each other, as we each have so many different strengths and we can really bounce ideas and knowledge off each other. The staff are all very well informed and everyone, like me, is keen to keep up with new research.”

She believes that the intensive training she has received at Bebegarten has made her a better teacher and that the best is still to come. “This is the first time that I have worked for a company that invested so much time, energy and money into training,” she says. “We have had a lot of intensive training, but we have also had some really great team-building days too. Having this time together has meant the teachers have really bonded and now trust and respect each other much more,” she says.

“Bebegarten is also very supportive of professional development. The school sends us to workshops and actively encourages and supports further professional development. I am able to pick up better teaching practices from the various training sections and I am sure it won’t stop there. I certainly think I will become an even better teacher at Bebegarten.”