Belinda Chong from Pat’s Schoolhouse wins Principal of the Year (Kindergarten) 2022 in this parents and students’ choice award.
What’s a school without a great principal? Nothing, that’s what! That’s why in this year’s Singapore Education Awards, we wanted to shine a spotlight and give a shout-out to the huge contributions of both teaching staff and school leaders. And who better to decide this than the parents and pupils themselves?
From the public vote, we were looking for a principal who was knowledgeable about all things classroom and school-related and also played an active role in supporting students, lifting them up so they can be their best! Pat’s Schoolhouse principal, Belinda Chong, ticked all these boxes and more as far as the parents and pupils at the West Coast branch were concerned. She won the Kindergarten Principal category, and here are all the reasons why…
Why Belinda Chong won Principal of the Year (Kindergarten)
Belinda Chong has been the principal at Pat’s Schoolhouse West Coast for two years. Belinda actually started her teaching career with Pat’s before leaving to join a government-supported kindergarten, only to return due to the appeal of Pat’s and its family culture. “Pat’s offered me the flexibility to hone my pedagogical skills and enabled me to also be a happy explorer with the children,” she shared. She has risen up through the ranks and now holds the position of principal at the West Coast centre.
Kind and caring with a can-do attitude
Belinda has been described as an inspiration by parents and teachers alike. She’s hands-on and able to work towards solutions to whatever challenges the school might face. She’s also very forward thinking. Since taking over as principal at Pat’s Schoolhouse West Coast, she’s been integral in improving the learning environment for pupils. “I tapped on the strengths and interests of the staff members to enhance the learning space. The team wanted to look into constructing certain spaces to enrich the outdoor play and learning experiences for all ages, and they proposed a mud kitchen and an edible garden. All I did was offer my facilitation, time, and space for them to make this happen. This year, the K2s had the chance to explore their school space with the teachers to also look for usable and unusable space. I have tasked them to come up with an idea for an arch that was due for replacement. Through the ten weeks of learning, and interviews with the school’s body, the children came up with a proposal to change the wooden bridge into a climbing structure with ropes. They presented this proposal and I saw it through,” Belinda shared. That’s not all; she’s also extremely thoughtful and caring towards the staff, ensuring that they have a staff lounge available on-site.
Being a good listener and valuing everyone’s contribution and opinion
Belinda recognises that making time for all stakeholders is key to being a successful principal. “Making the time to be present for all stakeholders seems like a simple thing to do, but it is so easy to get lost in all the sea of administrative work. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but being there for the people who trust and need you is what matters,” she said. And it’s clear from the nomination entries that Belinda does just this and provides a listening ear for everyone – pupils, parents and staff alike. “I have been told that I am a good listener. People need to know that there is someone who is willing to listen.”
But it doesn’t stop at listening for Belinda; it’s also about acting on people’s ideas and opinions. Belinda acknowledges this, “I like to engage staff members before making certain decisions and planning for the school. They always come up with the best ideas! School events at West Coast are always memorable and meaningful and this is all due to the teamwork of the staff members. I recognise that the school does not function with me alone. We have great people at Pat’s West Coast who are the very core reason why the school is a vibrant and cohesive campus”.
You’re invited to visit Pat’s Schoolhouse and find out more!
Inspired by Belinda’s story and want to find out more? Well, the good news is you can with a visit to Pat’s Schoolhouse. With 17 locations across the island, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to options. Pat’s takes playtime seriously and adopts an inquiry-embedded play approach, so you can expect super cool facilities to match. Want to see for yourself? Schedule a visit today!
This post is in partnership with Pat’s Schoolhouse.