Interview with Cindee Spies, Tutor Time International Preschool & Kindergarten

Interview with Cindee Spies, Tutor Time International Preschool & Kindergarten

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In Jakarta, there are many preschools that offer supportive and conducive environment for pre-kindergarten children to learn, play, and develop their skills. One of the recommended preschool in Jakarta is Tutor Time International Preschool and Kindergarten. Tutor Time International Preschool & Kindergarten uses LifeSmart™ which develops outstanding age-specific programs focusing in meeting each child’s developmental needs from 6 months to 6 years old. Fun, caring, and enriched environment in this school help to promote learning and the development of children.

Indoindians team member Fauziah Listyo Ayunani had the opportunity to interview District Manager of Tutor Time Indonesia, Cindee Spies to learn about Tutor Time International Preschool and Kindergarten and the importance of early childhood education.

Can you give us a brief introduction about Tutor Time?

Tutor Time has been a leading Early Childhood Education Center in Indonesia since 1996. We provide a secure, fun, caring, and enriched school environment that promotes holistic development of a child and prepare the child for life-long love of learning. Tutor Time schools spread out in various locations throughout Jakarta area (South Jakarta, West Jakarta, North Jakarta, and Gading Serpong), Bandung, and Surabaya. We have large numbers of expat students in our schools located close to the expat communities. On the other hand, we also have large numbers of local students in our schools located close to the local residential area.
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How do you view the importance of early childhood education?

At Tutor Time, we understand that it is important to create an engaging classroom setting that includes areas for playing, learning, exploring, and investigating which also enable children to feel safe, as well as empower children to explore their environment. It is the balance of security and stimulation that encourage children’s cognitive, physical, social-emotional and language development.

Nevertheless, the influence of the external environment is crucial to brain development. If a safe and accepting environment with abundant sensory stimulation is available in early childhood, children will have positive brain development, which is beneficial to their future learning. The good early learning curriculum should focus on meeting each child’s developmental needs through hands-on active learning, the opportunity for self-expression and peer relationships, as well as secured learning environment that prioritize children’s safety.

How about the curriculum at Tutor Time?

We apply the curriculum that is inspired by Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory. Intelligences are the ways each of us perceives and understands the world as we encounter problems and seek solutions. This theory provides an approach to nurturing and teaching children that focus on individual needs and strengths. By providing a variety of experiences to foster each and every intelligence, children become more adept in all intelligence.

At Tutor Time, we believe education is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Every child has different needs and abilities, and every child learns in his own way and at his pace. So we designed our program with this philosophy in mind—to empower with educational options and choices at every age to create the most fitting path for a child. Our teaching strategies are designed to maximize the full development of each child and recognize how they learn different subjects in different ways, utilizing their intelligence, or “smarts”. You’ll find individualized lesson plans in each classroom, in every school, based on the specific abilities and readiness to learn of those students. The result is customized early education curriculum that’s perfect for each child.

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In Tutor Time, what is the aspect of early childhood education that is focused the most?

Our approach is designed to nurture every aspect of a child’s development: cognitive, social-emotional, physical, language, and fine & gross motor skills, while stimulating problem-solving and critical thinking skills. We focus on the child’s unique interests and abilities through hands-on active learning and opportunities for self-expression.

How do you maintain the relationship with parents and alumni?

At Tutor Time, families play an active role in the education of their children. Each classroom has a family communication board to showcase lessons plans and to document your child’s progress. We also organize regular parents meetings, seminars, and coffee morning session to discuss various topics, such as our curriculum programs, educational issues, current issues related to child well-being, and some parenting tips.

We are also maintaining a close relationship with our alumni and their family, because we consider them as our family even after they graduated. As a family, we keep track and update their accomplishment after graduating from Tutor Time. So far, we are pleased with their achievement both in academics and social community side.

What are the keys that enable parents to trust Tutor Time as a place where their kids learn and grow?

First, we invest on our teachers. We developed a customized assessment to select highly competent teachers and care staff. This validated pre-hiring assessment uniquely identifies high-quality candidates. We also provide ongoing training and educational assistance for our teachers.

Second, we also provide an ideal environment for learning. Our classroom are specifically designed to provide a warm, intimate, and secure space for children to learn, explore, and develop at their own place. All spaces and toys that children come in contact with are regularly disinfected to ensure the hygiene.

Our top priority also lies on safety and security. Every location has procedures and standards that are strictly enforced, including secure lobby and classroom, visitor precaution, and equipment safety.

For parents, no need to worry about food we serve here. Menus include a variety of foods, which meet daily nutritional needs, and we maintain the nutritional content of the overall menu and post updates so you know what’s been served.

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Could you tell us more about your background and your expertise in early childhood education?

I gained my Bachelor Degree in Design from Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). Because I’m compassionate in working with young children, I pursued my Post Graduate Diploma and Master Degree specify in Early Childhood Education from The University of Hong Kong.

I have 17 years of experience in early childhood field both in Indonesia and Hong Kong, covers teaching, curriculum development, educational leadership and technology, staff development and training. I also have experiences as keynote speaker in early childhood development area.
Currently I supervise 9 Tutor Time centers in Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya. Aside from my role as District Manager in Tutor Time, I’m also a regular contributor to Jakarta Post specified in educational articles.

Lastly, do you have any advice for parents who’ve planned to enroll their children in preschool?

The key to choosing the right school for the little ones is by being prepared with a solid idea of what parents want their child to gain from his preschool experience. Some key points that need to be considered are:

  • Preschool programs should focus on child. During the visit to school, parents must observe the children’s interaction with peers and adults, whether the setting builds healthy and stimulating relationships.
  • Preschool programs should provide qualified staff. The teaching staff should have the adequate educational background in early childhood development.
  • Preschool programs should build relationships with families. Parents may ask how information and concerns are communicated between the school and families, and check that the program’s policies include families to be involved in the program to meet their child’s needs.
  • Preschool programs should be well-run. Parents should check whether the program is licensed, has policies and practices to help keel children safe from preventable illness and injuries.

Fauziah Listyo AyunaniIn conversation with Fauziah Listyo Ayunani

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