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Fiona Walker
Fiona Walker
Group Managing Director, Julia Gabriel Education
Qualifications:

  • Master of Education and Bachelor of Education (Honours) degrees in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Australia.
  • Diploma in Montessori Teaching from the Maria Montessori Training Organisation.

Background Information:
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My family comes from Scotland, however I was born in Singapore and spent my childhood living in the United States, Canada and South Africa before my family returned to Singapore, allowing me to finish high school here. After completing a Montessori teaching diploma in London, I came back Singapore and joined Julia Gabriel Centre as a teacher of the PlayClub and Written Language Arts programmes in 1991. I quickly found that the philosophy which underlies all of Julia Gabriel Education’s programmes strongly mirrors my own belief in the importance of respecting and nurturing each individual through positive interactions and collaborative experiences.

I left Singapore in 1994 to help establish a nursery school in Scotland. I enjoyed this experience, but I missed the warmth and passion which was integral to the environment at Julia Gabriel Centre. So I came back to Singapore two years later and re-joined the centre. I then moved to Chiltern House and became the Head of Centre at Chiltern House Forum. I subsequently became the Principal of both Julia Gabriel Centre and Chiltern House in Singapore before becoming the Managing Director of the Julia Gabriel Education group. I also work closely with other professionals to help establish best practices in childcare in our community in Singapore.

I thoroughly enjoy working with all our staff to ensure we provide the best possible education for our children and their families, and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work with so many wonderful children, parents, teachers and support staff.

Personal Interests:

I have two children and my favourite thing to do is spend time with my family and friends. Whether I’m walking my dogs, preparing meals, travelling, doing yoga, watching movies or just chatting and catching up, I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by those who are dear to me. I also love reading and my Kindle is usually within an arm’s reach. I believe we never stop developing and learning, and that we should constantly try new things, eat new food and visit new places. That must be why I love planning meals and holidays when I’m not at work!

Iris Lim
Iris Lim
Principal
Qualifications:

  • Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Studies from Roehampton University.
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics from Massey University.
  •  Diploma in Education from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.

Background Information:
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Working with children has always been a passion for me. I began my career as a primary school teacher at CHIJ Bukit Timah, where I taught for four years. I then decided to move into early childhood education and I joined Chiltern House as a Kindergarten 2 teacher from 2001-02.

After my first stint at Chiltern House, I went on to work for other early childhood organisations, teaching for a further three years before moving into management roles. I also wrote a preschool English Language curriculum and two series of assessment books on mental mathematics and English grammar, as well as lecturing part-time in Communication Skills and English Language at Nanyang Polytechnic.

I returned to Chiltern House as a Senior Teacher in 2007, and I was the Head of Centre at Chiltern House Forum from 2008-10. I’m now the Principal of Chiltern House, overseeing the running of all our centres in Singapore.

Personal Interests:

I love listening to music, particularly jazz music, musicals and original soundtracks. I also really enjoy attending concerts, plays and musicals. I love making embroidery beading accessories like earrings, bangles, broaches and necklaces, as well as adding “bling” embellishments to bags, shoes or anything else within my reach using Swarovski crystals, lace, ribbons, etc, to make my things unique and one-of-a-kind. I’m a travel bug and I make sure that I travel to at least one country every year. I love the unexpected and therefore enjoy adventures of any kind during my trips abroad. 

elena Jayaratna
Noa Joy D. Sunga
Head of Centre,
Chiltern House East Coast
Qualifications:

  • Master of Arts degree in Education from Ateneo de Manila University.
  • Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Santo Tomas.
  • Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education from Advent Links-SAUC.

Background Information:
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When I was young I wanted to be a paediatrician because, as clichéd as it may sound, I wanted to be instrumental in helping children to grow up healthy. However after finishing a pre-medical course, I decided that I wanted to effect change in children on a more personal level by moulding their minds and hearts to help them become caring, smart and strong individuals. So I became a teacher.

I’ve worked in the field of education since 1996. I started out by teaching computer skills to young children (back when computers weren’t yet a household necessity and everyone was scared that they’d reset back to zero once we reached the year 2000!). I developed a curriculum for preschool-aged children so that the skills could be passed on to the youngest members of society. I then started teaching in a preschool in the Philippines and, after a few years, become the Head Teacher at an English-Chinese preschool.

I came to Singapore in 2005 and while I was out shopping, I became enchanted with the happy laughter and music coming from a children’s centre in a shopping mall. I instantly knew that I wanted to be the type of teacher who gave children the warm, fuzzy feeling that I witnessed in children coming out of Julia Gabriel Centre. So I applied to join the Julia Gabriel Education group and was delighted to be hired as a teacher at Chiltern House. Two years later, I became a Senior Teacher. I worked at a few different Chiltern House centres in Singapore in a variety of roles before becoming the Head of Centre at Chiltern House East Coast in 2019.

Working in the field of education has been a wonderful blessing for me. I get to work with beautiful and passionate people every day – both adults and young ones – and I’m always learning new things. I’m constantly excited about what tomorrow brings!

Personal Interests:

I’m an avid reader. Stories and characters come alive when I read and I always find it fascinating to see how a plot unfolds. (If a zombie apocalypse happened, I’d wish to be trapped in a library or a bookstore with my family, where I’d happily wait out the days until a miracle serum is discovered!) I also love writing – an interest which has led me to make contributions to magazines and self-publish an e-book.

I enjoy cooking, baking and doing DIY projects at home. I love taking nature-walks, and am a frustrated gardener and a grateful traveller. I’ve included all the places mentioned in ‘Having a Coke with You’ by Frank O’Hara in my ‘bucket list’ of places to visit in this lifetime!

ford
Ford Lim
Head of Centre,
Chiltern House Forum
Qualifications:

  • Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Background Information:
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I began working in the field of early-childhood education back in 2004. I worked at a few different preschools and international schools in Singapore as an assistant teacher, teacher and senior teacher and Head of Centre, before joining Chiltern House in 2019. I’ve also had the opportunity to impart my knowledge to others through part-time lecturing for an interdisciplinary module at Nanyang Polytechnic.

Working with children has been my lifelong passion. When I was growing up, I had a lack of male figures of influence in my life and I strongly believe that children in their early years should have the opportunity to have both male and female role-models. My experience working at a number of different schools has exposed me to a variety of philosophies, cultures, settings and programmes. I continue to feed off positive vibes from working in a vibrant community of educators and children. For me, there is nothing more fulfilling than moulding future generations and working with the educators who are part of that process.

Personal Interests:

I love baking, especially filo pastries and Peranakan treats. I also enjoy attend theatre productions, and exploring countries and living their cultures.

I’m very into fitness and testing out my body’s physical and psychological limits. I’ve raced in ultramarathons (winning a couple of events in Singapore and representing Singapore in some overseas events) and am a certified as a CrossFit trainer for both adults and children.

When I have the time, I also love dismantling items and rebuilding them back to their original form.


Masita Abdul Rahim
Head of Centre,
Chiltern House Mountbatten
Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies degree from Monash University.
  • Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education from Advent Links-SAUC.
  • Diploma in Montessori Education from Modern Montessori International.

Background Information:
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I started my teaching career in 1987. After working at a couple of different preschools, I joined Chiltern House in 2002. I have taught nursery and kindergarten classes, served as the Curriculum Co-ordinator for Nursery 2, and was the Deputy Head of Centre at both Chiltern House Halifax Road and Chiltern House East Coast before I became the Head of Centre at Chiltern House Mountbatten in 2013.

I think that teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs that anyone can have. I’m a firm believer that a safe, warm, secure and nurturing environment can make a big difference in children’s lives, helping to bring the best out of every child and allowing them to achieve their potential.

Personal Interests:

I have two children and I am happiest when my family are busy cooking or spending time reading together. I am blessed that my interests are very similar those of my children and my husband so we can enjoy them together as a family. We’re a family of travel-bugs, and we’ve enjoyed many interesting and adventurous trips around Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea and Australia. There are many more places that I hope we’ll be able to discover. I also love listening to music and enjoy watching plays and musicals.

Charmaine klyneCharmaine Klyne
Head of Centre,
Chiltern House Thomson
Qualifications:

  • Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education from Advent Links-SAUC.  
  • Certificate in Preschool Teaching from the Julia Gabriel School of Education.

Background Information:
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I was born in an era of big families. There were always get-togethers and parties throughout the year and it was the norm for the older children to care for the younger ones. My experiences growing up left me with a love of spending time with young children. I worked in banking for 26 years before opting for early retirement. I soon became bored, and I jumped at the opportunity to work at Chiltern House in 2002. Since then, I’ve never looked back. After starting out as an assistant teacher, I then became a class teacher before becoming a Head of Centre in 2013.

What attracted me to Chiltern House? Firstly, I’d have to say it’s the warmth that exists between the staff, the children and the parents. We’re like one big family, taking every challenge as a gift and an opportunity to learn. And secondly, it’s the programme which gives each and every child respect, support and the opportunity to shine with confidence. Chiltern House has taught me that learning is a lifelong process. I continue to learn every day, not only from my colleagues, but also from the children. They constantly remind me what life should be all about.

Personal Interests:

I have six grown-up children and am now a grandmother, and I love spending time with my family. I also love entertaining guests at home and, when I do, everything must be perfect! My mother always told me that if you want to do something, you must do it right and give it your best. This is evident when I entertain as I go all out to give everyone the best experience possible.

Music helps me relax and unwind after a long day. I love sentimental tunes and songs with deep meanings in the lyrics. One of the songs which often runs through my mind, especially when I’m surrounded by young children, is ‘The Greatest Love’ by George Benson. (Listen to it if you can – it’s a reflection of my thoughts.)

elena Jayaratna
Selena Jayaratna
Head of Centre,
Chiltern House Turf Club Road
Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies degree from Monash University.
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Studies from the Singapore Institute of Management.
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education from Advent Links-SAUC.
  • Certificate in Preschool Teaching from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang
    Technological University.
  • Certificate in Speech and Educational Drama from Kinderland Learning Centre.

Background Information:
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I joined Chiltern House as a teacher in 1999, having spent the previous seven years working at a various different preschools, international schools and children’s centres in Singapore. During my first few years at Chiltern House, I was also a part-time teacher of the Written Language Arts programme at Julia Gabriel Centre. I’ve taught classes of all four of the year-groups at Chiltern House, and have served periods as the Curriculum Co-ordinator for the Nursery 1, Nursery 2 and Kindergarten 2 year-groups, helping to develop the curriculum for our centres in Singapore and overseas.

After eight years at Chiltern House Forum, I moved to Chiltern House Turf Club Road in 2007, and was the Deputy Head of Centre before becoming the Head of Centre in 2012.I thoroughly enjoy working with the preschoolers at Chiltern House. It is my firm belief that only through a warm, supportive environment can our teachers bring out the very best in every child.

Personal Interests:

I love exercising as it’s my way of keeping myself physically and mentally balanced and relaxed. I have a strong interest in fashion and try to always keep myself up-to-date with the latest trends. I also enjoy cooking, especially experimenting with exotic recipes from the countries I visit.

uang Ying
Huang Ying
Head of Mandarin
Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Language & Culture from Beijing Language & Culture University.
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Beijing Preschool Teacher Training Academy.
  • Julia Gabriel Foundation Teaching Certificate (Speech & Drama).

Background Information:
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I was born and raised in Beijing and spent the first ten years of my career there, working as a kindergarten teacher before becoming a preschool principal. I then moved to Singapore in 1997, where I worked initially at Julia Gabriel Centre and then moved to Chiltern House. Since then, I’ve held a variety of roles within the Julia Gabriel Education organisation. I’m currently the Head of Mandarin at Chiltern House and the Principal of Chengzhu.

During my career, I’ve developed a teaching philosophy which is both outward looking and culturally responsive. Recognising the diverse and individual needs of students from different cultural backgrounds, I employ ideas and methods gathered from a wide range of progressive Western and Chinese pedagogical systems.

My time in Singapore has brought me into contact with many gifted teachers from different countries and cultures, each of whom have brought with them a rich diversity of competencies. These influences have helped to broaden my outlook and strengthened my ability to work within a modern and progressive team. I’m dedicated to learning and always willing to embrace new challenges. I’m fortunate to work with a wonderfully creative team who have established a special and unique learning environment and who treasure the sense of family which is at the heart of Julia Gabriel Education’s philosophy.

Personal Interests:

My family is very important to me and I love spending time with them. I met my British husband, Matt, in Singapore, and we have a son, Jim (who is fluent in both English and Mandarin). In my spare time, I also enjoy visiting the theatre, reading good novels, cooking for the family, walking my dog and cuddling my cat!

iona McDonald
Fiona McDonald
Head of Learning Support
Qualifications:

  • Master of Education, Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies and Bachelor of Education from the University of Tasmania.
  • Diploma in Special Educational Needs from the London Montessori Centre Teacher Training College.
  • Advanced Certificate in Training & Assessment from the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.
  • Julia Gabriel Foundation Teaching Certificate (Speech & Drama).

Background Information:
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After graduating from the University of Tasmania in Australia, I spent three years working in Tasmanian primary schools. I then moved to the UK and spent two years working there, during which time I completed a Diploma in Special Educational Needs at the London Montessori Centre Teacher Training College.

Keen to experience somewhere new, I moved to Singapore in 1995 and was involved in setting up a new preschool where I worked for three years. I then returned to Tasmania to complete a Master’s degree programme (with a focus on special needs education). I came back to Singapore in 1999 to work as an Assistant Principal at a centre where I established a class for children with additional needs. I then joined Chiltern House in 2000 to help establish the first Green Room (a class for children with specific needs) at Turf Club Road.

I became Chiltern House’s Head of Learning Support in 2004. I thoroughly enjoy this role as it allows me to focus on my two great interests – working with children with additional needs while simultaneously supporting our teaching team through training and curriculum development. In addition to this role, I also oversee the programme quality and training in our overseas centres.

Personal Interests:

I love reading, especially mystery and crime novels and biographies. I also enjoy travelling and exploring different cultures. I like eating out (although I’m still trying to learn to enjoy spicy food!). I value the time I’m able to spend time with my friends here in Singapore and, when I get the chance, with my family who are overseas.

Genevieve Pereira
Senior Curriculum Specialist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies degree from the University of Melbourne.
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Studies from the Singapore Institute of Management.
  • Certificate in Preschool Teaching and Certificate in Preschool Management & Administration from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.

Background Information:
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My initial entry into the field of early childhood education was accidental. Back in 1992, I substituted for a friend who was working in a kindergarten. I found that each day was a joy and that I loved working with children and developing young minds. So I decided to make this my career.

After working at two other preschools, I joined Chiltern House in 1995. Over the next 12 years, I taught both Nursery and Kindergarten classes and became the Kindergarten 1 Curriculum Co-ordinator, overseeing the development of curriculum for Chiltern House in Singapore and our overseas centres.

I left Chiltern House in 2007 to explore a new teaching opportunity with another organisation where I worked with children up to the age of eight. In that role, I continued to be involved in curriculum development while also in mentoring and training teachers, setting up new centres and establishing quality control procedures.

I then returned to Chiltern House in 2010 to take on the challenge of becoming the Senior Curriculum Specialist. Since 2017, I’ve also been responsible for developing the curriculum of the English programme at Chengzhu Mandarin Kindergarten. I truly enjoy my role, which allows me to develop my interest in curriculum development and staff training.

Personal Interests:

I enjoy reading, baking, dancing, watching movies and working on creative art projects like making jewellery, candles and flowers. I love spending time with my friends and family and, when the opportunity and time permits, I really enjoy travelling, sightseeing and exploring historical sights.

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The preschool years mark many significant milestones, for the children as well as the parents. We have a large number of educational specialists who are happy to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have.

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