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Q&A with Helen Black, Principal of The Childrens Garden Barsha

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LearnPost Category - LearnLearn - Post Category - SchoolsSchools

Find out why Helen Black loves being Principal at The Childrens Garden Barsha!

With a desire to ‘make a difference to others’ and a huge satisfaction in ‘being part of a team who has truly helped a child feel special’, Principal Helen Black tells us why The Childrens Garden Barsha is a very special pre-school. 

What is your background and training?

I have a BEd with QTS in Primary Education from Greenwich University in London. I also took an additional specialism in Early Years at the same time so have experience from birth to 11 years. I have always been passionate about early education as I firmly believe this is where we lay the foundations of our children’s experiences. The experiences they have and the support they receive at this age shapes their future relationship with education, learning and themselves. During my NQT year, I studied language development at Masters level through Canterbury University in Kent and was lucky enough to get my first leadership post shortly after qualifying. I spent many years in the classroom, which I adored and took on several different leadership posts across the school, including SENCO, Head of Subject, Head of assessment and DHT. In 2010 I became one of the youngest qualified Headteachers in the South of England when I successfully completed my NPQH and have further continued my studies in Educational Leadership at Masters Level over the last few years. As you can see I love learning!

What made you want to become a teacher?

I always wanted to be a teacher, I enjoyed school and was lucky enough to have some fabulous teachers and experiences. I always saw education as a gift. I am a naturally inquisitive person who wants to know everything!

I also have a desire to make a difference to others’. I find huge satisfaction in going home knowing I have been part of a team that has made a child feels special, or helped them achieve more than they thought they could. I enjoy seeing the look on parents face during assembly when their child is on stage. I am also honoured that every single parent at TCGB trusts me to lead their child’s school, they trust that I will always put their child first.

What do you love about working at your school in particular?

Our school is a wonderful place. It is full of happiness, laughter, singing, creativity and languages. Our children often speak more than two languages and even if they meet a child in the hallway who doesn’t speak their language they sing a common song or play a common game. Our children are experts in communicating in a variety of ways and this makes them very successful in social situations. We are also a very creative school, creativity is a pillar of our curriculum. This ensures we focus on creative arts, movement, creative thinking and problem solving. All skills that we know our children will need as they move into the 21st century.

What is your take on ‘play-based learning’?

It is simple, you must have fun (teachers, children, learning assistants, administrative staff…you must enjoy the place you spend your days at). Play can take so many different forms and each child will have their own favourite way of expressing themselves through play. Our job is to give them as many opportunities to develop their favourite ways and to find new and exciting ways to explore the world. If a child is laughing they are usually learning.

What is your favourite game or activity to do with your students?

Reading, I love to read to our children. I make silly voices, we pretend to be the characters, I ask the children what they think will happen next – if I can I will get a song or some actions in there!

What is one fun fact about you?

My middle name is Fiona – my grandmother chose this and named me after her pet budgie.

Brought to you in partnership with The Childrens Garden Barsha.

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