Advice for parents from a super mom

Advice for parents from a super mom

Yvette Ho

As I write this blog, I think about my three children, who all took different paths and ended up in the university of their own choice: HKU Medical School (HK), University of Cambridge (UK) and Brown RISD Dual Program (USA). The most rewarding part of parenthood has been seeing each of my children develop into a unique person with their own character, talents and interests, while at the same time having a strong sense of identity within the family.

As an analogy, if we think of education as the vehicle that helps children get from where they are to a future where they can be successfully making a living and leading a good life, I can see that students need a new form of transportation in this day and age. My children were lucky to have a “super bullet train” of excellent traditional schools but to me, keeping the spark that kindles deep interest and real engagement with learning is most important in raising a child.

My son, who graduated from Cambridge with a Neuroscience degree, has a promising full-time job in private equity. As a home chef, he was recently named “Ten Chefs you should be following in HK” on Instagram, alongside Michelin-star chefs from Caprice and Arbor. My youngest daughter was admitted to a very competitive keyboard department at HKAPA at the age of five. In the following 10 years, she received numerous awards, including the Gold Medal from World Choir Games twice. But she only found her life’s passion when she took up GCSE Art. In the four years that followed, I didn’t have to urge her to practice but she would stay up endless nights to paint, which won her the accolade of SCMP’s Most Outstanding Student Prize in Visual Art and admissions to her dream dual program at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design. An avid athlete, my eldest daughter aspired to be an orthopedic surgeon at the age of 12. She was the one who took me on my first volunteer trip to the remote areas in China to serve with Operation Smile. After numerous volunteer trips and countless exams, she is now a doctor at Queen Mary’s Orthopedic Dept.

From these personal experiences, I realized children will be most successful when they decide which interest and talents to pour their hearts into. As they become more competent and excited about learning, it will most likely lead to grit and perseverance, the key ingredients to future success. We share the same beliefs at Bloom KKCA Academy. Through weekly excursions, students are exposed to a wide array of opportunities and fulfilling educational activities to help them imagine a larger world than their neighbourhood. Through Bloom's Other Learning Experiences (OLE), students will be given the agency and freedom to explore and develop their creativity and curiosity. We do not encourage competition but rather, adopt an individualized approach which allows students to progress at their own pace.

Positive education is at the core of Bloom Primary’s education philosophy. Our emphasis on effort and praise, persistence and encouragement for students to work outside their comfort zone is an integral part of our philosophy. Teachers are the support to lend a hand when needed and model enthusiasm for challenging tasks. We strongly believe students need to be invested in their own choices, goals, and accomplishments to understand that some interests become hobbies and some lead to passion that ultimately focuses their time and efforts to become their dreams and successes

Thankfully, my children are remarkably resilient. Strong family identity has helped us build close relationships. Family life has been exciting, demanding and sometimes challenging, but bonding time with my children, sometimes as a family, others one-on-one, has been the best times of my life. Bloom KKCA Academy highly values quality time families spend together. The school curriculum is planned so that the heavy lifting part of learning is all done at school. After school, students are encouraged to try out leisure activities where we value the journey more than the destination. The remaining time is left for quality family time, when families can enjoy and relax without the pressure and stress of homework and deadlines.

It is worth considering long term when parents pass on moral values and beliefs to their children. We cannot guarantee our children’s future beliefs and lifestyle, but certain things we do can affect the entire direction of their lives. Sending them to Bloom KKCA Academy may be the best start. With our signature Forest Adventure Program, we cultivate essential coping skills to take your child through future challenges in life. Through Campfire at the beginning and end of our school day, we teach our students to identify, understand and manage their emotions. Our daily emphasis on emotional resilience and positive character development helps them build a strong character and moral foundation that aims to help them navigate the ethically complex world we live in.

Academic excellence will always matter, and parents are right to maintain a high bar for their children.  But there are other skills that are likely to be particularly important to success in the twenty-first century such as creativity, innovative thinking, flexibility, resilience in response to failure, communication skills, and the ability to collaborate. There has never been greater need for schools to be committed to developing the potential of every student and be just as vigilant about their physical and mental health as they are about their test scores. Our current education system of standardized testing looks at only a limited number of skills, and as a result, much in-class time is taken up preparing students for assessment, cutting significantly into the class time needed to introduce other content and to develop critical thinking skills. It is primarily rote memorization that is tested and not the far more important and complex skills needed for difficult problem solving to guide them in their daily lives.

At Bloom KKCA Academy, right from the start, we encourage our students to dive deep into interesting questions and design challenges, leverage the synergy of the group to reach new ideas by building on other’s ideas. Through unstructured play as well as project-based learning, we are able to achieve higher retention of knowledge than traditional rote memorization of facts. And as a bonus, it's a much more fun and engaging way to learn.

Bill Gates once said, “Surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self”. At Bloom, we cultivate collaborative skills and not competition. In order for our students to bloom in the hundreds together, we adopt an individualized approach to discover our students’ talents, and along the way, teach them the skillsets to unleash their passion and realize their dream. Bloom KKCA Academy creates the perfect environment for students to discover their passion by trial and error. We ask our students to open up, work hard, learn intently and be themselves. I am confident this is the best way as I have mentored and guided my own children with the same philosophy and it seems to have worked well.

We look forward to welcoming you and your children to Bloom KKCA Academy in 2021!

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