As Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of Reggio Emilia’s educational philosophy said, “Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible. No one can do more.”
I am excited to start the new school year with happiness, joy and endless possibilities.
—— Angela (Pei-Chin) Tung, Division Head of Early Learning Center
Jeanette Miao, Early Learning Center Teacher
Erika received her Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola University of Maryland and her Bachelor’s in Exercise Science from Truman State University. She has been teaching and working in education for 12 years. She has an extensive background in health and wellness coaching for children and adults, and spent 6 years coaching gymnastics for children of all ages. Her home away from home is Portland, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest of the US, but she has lived and worked throughout the US as well as abroad. She has been living in Shenzhen since 2017, and also spent 3 years living and teaching in South Korea. Erika strongly believes that through cultivating joy, movement, intention, and mindfulness practice, teachers and leaders can guide children and young adults in the direction of following their curiosities and discovering their magic. “I believe we are all beautifully unique, so a supportive community in which everyone works together and supports one another’s strengths and respects multiple perspectives, rather than the old way of competing to be on top, is the way to a more peaceful globalized world.”
Jianping Pratt moved to England in 1994 where she rediscovered her passion for Mathematics and studied to achieve a 1st Class degree in Mathematical Science. Jianping completed her teacher training at Brunel University, Langley Grammar School and Slough Grammar School. Jianping has accumulated a vast amount of teaching and management experience from her 25-year career. She has taught English at a vocational school in China, acted as an interpreter and taught Mandarin Chinese at various colleges and university language centres in the UK. She has also spent the past 18 years teaching Mathematics up to GCSE and A level in both private sector schools, such as Eton College and Brigidine School Windsor, and in the state sector, such as Slough Grammar School. For the past seven years, Jianping has worked for the Chinese International School (HK/HZ) where she led the Mathematics department in dual-language education. Jianping’s love of truly international education and her multicultural teaching experience are perfectly matched to Whittle School & Studios’ vision. Jianping also has exceptional language skills: apart from mother-tongue fluency in English, she can communicate with people in both Spanish and Japanese. Extracurricularly, Jianping loves sports: she used to train in Karate as a Black belt and is a competent horse rider. While working in HZCIS, Jianping helped to run the school Equestrian team and tai chi club and she still practises tai chi and tai chi sword most days.
Alex has a master’s degree in transmedia storytelling from Canada’s preeminent school of media, Ryerson University, where he was featured on the Top 30 Under 30 List and won the Innovative Storytellers Award for his thesis project about children with superpowers. He was selected for the sought-after Telefilm Canada New Media Producers’ Program, where he developed new ways of extending stories across multiple media platforms for children’s entertainment. Featured in The New York Times, Alex is a published photographer, an award-winning filmmaker, and has been mentored on over a dozen feature films and television movies, including the Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Into the West, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Little House on the Prairie for Walt Disney.His latest project, Alex in Lotusland, which is about his life in China, was recently nominated for a 2018 Webby Award.
Tianyu Zhang has a Master’s degree in Bilingual Education and Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching Chinese as Foreign Language from Beijing Language and Culture University. Upon graduation from college, she joined Teach For China on a two-year commitment and served as a second grade home room teacher in a minority elementary school in Lincang, Yunnan. There she founded the Voice Of Kids online podcast to spread the voice of the students. She has experience of working in different educational institutions in New York. Currently she is working as a 3rd grade inclusive class special education teacher in one of the oldest bilingual Chinese-English schools in New York. From Yunnan to New York, the experience of studying and working in diverse environments has deepened her understanding of the education systems of both China and the United States. She believes that a good teacher should first be a good listener and that every adult is a grown-up child.
Passionate about how traditional and modern media bridges cultures, Alessandro completed his Bachelor’s and Masters’s Degrees in Multimedia Design and Production, and was recently awarded a Certification in Evaluating Design with Users. In 1999 Alessandro founded The Web Agency, specializing in animated interactive websites, and started off his Academic career teaching Design and Multimedia. In 2004, he moved to China, where he became Program Director of Graphic Design and Interactive Media at Raffles Design Institute attached to Changchun University and Donghua University in Shanghai. He became Associate Professor through application of Multiple Intelligence combined with Learning-by-Doing while teaching Design. Alessandro’s most recent project was the design of the e-Learning platform for La Sapienza University in Rome.
Kathleen Prevost is a kindergarten teacher with over 15 years’ experience in international education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University and has studied both English Language Learning and Social Emotional Learning. Her international experience spans four countries, most recently serving as a Student Teacher at the International School of Beijing. Kathleen has dedicated significant time to teaching in China in particular, serving as the Director of a Foreign Language Department for over two years here in Beijing. One of her strengths lies in the diversity of her experiences; she has been a teacher, a coach, and has developed numerous educational programs, from traditional classroom courses to outdoor camps and online learning. In her free time, Kathleen also enjoys creating books, games, and songs for young children.
Cici has been teaching for 6 years and still enjoys it everyday. She has TEFL and TKT teaching certificates. Cici has teaching experience in China, Canada, Scotland, California and Hong Kong. She would love to share her knowledge about the world with her students. Her classes are always engaging, interactive and fun. She loves to have her students be the center of her class. Each and every class is different so she believes in tailoring learning activities to students’ individual strengths and weaknesses.
Chad Skunda graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in philosophy, and received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from The University of North Texas. After writing for the local newspaper for about a year, he began teaching secondary English. He spent time designing the 10th and 12th grade curriculum whilst teaching poetry and writing to eager learners. Chad moved to Beijing in 2015. There he tried something new as a Primary Homeroom teacher and developed a passion for teaching younger students. The past two years, Chad has been working at Kaiwen academy that caters to Tsinghua University as a Language Specialist. Chad continues to progress his ability to speak Chinese with plans to take HSK 6.
Chad’s wife, Bella Skunda, is a Chinese teacher with a global perspective and an international education background. She received her bachelor’s degree from Shandong Normal University and studies for her master’s degree at Renmin University of China. Bella is a certified teacher（K-12). She has been teaching in public and international schools in Beijing for nearly 11 years. Her rich teaching experience has led her to form a unique teaching method that combines Western and Chinese approaches. Bella has completed and participated in several years of project-based learning. She participated in a project-based learning concept called “March Madness” (3rd Grade-5th Grade) that combines mathematics, language, art, information technology, and social sciences. Her teaching plan “Give You a Bunch of Flowers” (5th Grade) won first place in the national teaching proposal contest. With her deep understanding of education and rich experience, Bella will continue to practice the Chinese teaching concept of “happy learning and happy harvest” at Whittle School & Studios.
Yan Xiaoxu graduated from China Central Normal University with a degree in Chinese Language and Literature. She studied at Trinity College Dublin and studied the combination of drama and language. She has taught Chinese in key middle schools in China, and is familiar with the knowledge and abilities in primary and secondary schools. Then she conducted research and development of k-12 language teaching courses. She has long-term experience of combining education and drama with other disciplines. The concept of interdisciplinary, integrated education at Whittle fits her educational ideals. She believes that the teacher is not only a teacher, but also a connector, organizer, and co-learner. We keep our curiosity about the world, open the space of dialogue with love, and discuss and explore the possibilities of the future with our children.
Jiani received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Australia. She holds a teaching certificate in Speech & Drama and has been teaching and working in education for 15 years. Born in Singapore, Jiani has been living and working in Shanghai for seven years, serving both as a senior teacher and in a leadership role as Principal of the Julia Gabriel Center. She has worked with children using play-based learning, as well as the Reggio Emilia approach, and has taught children of diverse backgrounds. She is a bilingual English-Mandarin speaker and is a firm believer in the benefits of immersive language environments for children. She encourages children to express themselves using speech, body movement, arts and crafts and music. Jiani believes as a teacher it is important for her to reflect on how she views children. “Children are capable of becoming independent individuals and should be encouraged to do so. They should be respected as individuals and be given appropriate guidance and support to grow into themselves.”
In our forthcoming articles, you will be introduced to more of our faculty. We believe that they, with their passion for teaching, will play an instrumental role in leading young children through what we hope will be an incredible journey here at Whittle School & Studios.
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Address and contact information:
Chinese Name: 荟同学校
Place Address: 18/F CM Port Building, Industrial 3rd Road, Nanshan District, Shenzhen 518067深圳市南山区工业三路招商局港口大厦18层
Website: Whittle School & Studios’s Website
Place Phone: +86 (755) 26691818
Email: [email protected]