伊顿25周年庆 | 从一位母亲的梦想，到一群教育者的坚持 The Story of EtonHouse
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of EtonHouse International Education Group.
What started as a mother’s dream 25 years ago became the shared goal of a group of educators. Today, 25 years after founding the school, EtonHouse gradually grew from a humble pre-school into an international education group with over a hundred schools across a dozen countries.
There is nothing more rewarding than working with children, and we’d like to share this story with you.
Becoming An Entrepreneur
Mrs Ng Gim Choo, Founder of EtonHouse, has led a remarkable life. She began her career as an accountant, spent 12 years as a stay-at-home mother and housewife, then finally became an education entrepreneur at the age of 43.
Mrs Ng’s college graduation.
“When i was a young girl, there was nothing joyful about education. Everything was dictated by teachers. In college, I struggled because I came from a Chinese school. When I became a mother, I wanted my children and all children to have a different experience from mine. This motivated me to start EtonHouse 25 years ago. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I am glad I persevered. I am humbled by what we have achieved,” said Mrs Ng Gim Choo in the book ‘25 Tales – The Story of EtonHouse’.
Clockwise from top-left:
1.Mrs Ng’s grandmother, who inspired the entrepreneurial spirit in her.
2.Mr and Mrs Ng’s wedding day.
3.Mrs Ng working as an accountant in Ernst & Young in 1981 before she followed her husband to London.
When she sent her daughter to kindergarten, she came to realise that schools had not changed very much. The teacher would scold her daughter for the most trivial of reasons. In 1982, her husband, Mr Ng Hark Seng, had the chance to work in the UK. Her whole family moved to London and Mrs Ng found a new pre-school for her daughter: a girl’s school named Pembridge Hall. She was astonished to see how much her daughter loved it. Mrs Ng was so curious about the school that she began attending classes as a parent volunteer. For the first time, she witnessed how students could learn through play, and how teachers could show children respect by bending down to their eye level.
当女儿上幼儿园的时候，胡锦珠女士发现女儿的学校和她小时候的学校相比并没有什么改变，老师经常会因为一些琐事而责备她的女儿。1982年，她的先生黄学成获得了一个外派英国的机会，所以全家不得不移居伦敦。在英国安顿下来后，她把女儿送到一所名叫Pembridge Hall 的女校读书，一段时间后，她很惊讶女儿竟然开始喜欢上学了！为了探索其中的奥秘，胡锦珠女士主动申请去学校做义工。当她亲身体验了女儿的学习环境后，她才惊奇地发现原来孩子是可以在玩乐中学习的。在这所学校，老师会尊重每一个孩子，俯身平视与他们交流。
In 1986, her husband was posted to Hong Kong. She placed her children in Quarry Bay, a primary school that followed the English school system, and volunteered there as well. At Pembridge Hall, she learned the British philosophy that learning should be a fun and joyful experience. In Quarry Bay, she got a sense of the bigger picture of how to run a school: the structure of an organisation, from the principal to the school community.
1986年，丈夫被派往香港工作。她把女儿送到Quarry Bay 小学就读，这是一所传统英式学校，她同样申请了学校的义工工作。在英国的幼儿园，她接触到了快乐学习的英式教育理念；在Quarry Bay 小学，她学到了先进的管理方法，包括学校的组织架构，运营策略等。
Mrs Ng’s love for young learners has never wavered.
Her brother, Mr Jimmy Oh, encouraged her to pursue her dreams. Together, they opened the first EtonHouse Pre-School in 1995. Mrs Ng still looks back fondly on those early years of running the business.
Mrs Ng, a proud grandmother, welcomes the addition of twins to the family.
“Every child is unique,” she says. “They want love and support and to be able to express themselves. I’m very grateful for having been able to touch so many young lives these past 25 years.”
Honesty takes you very far in life.
Mr Jimmy Oh, Chairman of EtonHouse International Group, also brother of Mrs Ng Gim Choo. With his encouragement and support, Mrs Ng founded EtonHouse International Education Group.
When he joined EtonHouse in the 90s, he wanted to work with his sister, Mrs Ng Gim Choo, to create something meaningful. “My sister was 40 then. I told her that she should not retire. She should start a business that she is passionate about. She has so much to offer to the world.” he shares.
Mr Oh learned many life lessons at a young age. He started working after completing secondary school to support the family business while his siblings continued their education. It wasn’t easy, but he did not shy away from hard work and learned the ropes of being an entrepreneur through grit and perseverance.
“The people in a company will ultimately determine the success or failure of any business.” says the successful entrepreneur.
胡先生和妻子Betty、孩子Mark 和Gilbert 在伊顿普洛力路学校。
Mr Oh with his wife, Betty, and their children, Mark and Gilbert at EtonHouse Broadrick.
A devoted family man, Mr Oh emphasises the amount of dedicated nurturing a family needs. Throughout his more than 40 years of fatherhood, he always makes it a point to have dinner with his family every Sunday. Both Mr Oh’s grandchildren are graduates of EtonHouse Pre-School and he observes that its warm and positive environment has helped shape them into respectful, generous and confident individuals. His commitment to EtonHouse remains unwavering, as he continues overseeing EtonHouse as if its students are his family.
Obstacles can become stepping stones
Mr Ng Yi-Xian, Executive Director of EtonHouse International Education Group, wants EtonHouse to nurture students who can achieve success anywhere in the world. He took a leap of faith when he left his successful financial career in the US to join the family business, but testifies that embracing change comes with priceless insights.
“Mom is a very strong person,” Ng Yi-Xian describes of Mrs Ng, the founder of EtonHouse. “So when i came back to Singapore and saw her vulnerable and not looking good, it was quite a painful sight.” In his late 20s at that time, Yi-Xian had reached the incline of his career as a hedge fund analyst in the US.
After Yi-Xian made up his mind, he called his mother to tell her that he wished to return to Singapore to help the family business. “I came in the door with an openness to learn. I was constantly asking the various heads and principals many basic questions and asking them to recommend books that i should read.” he shared.
In time, he became a firm believer in the EtonHouse philosophy of forstering a strong sense of community, where parents play a huge part in celebrating each child’s success. Yi-Xian also came to discover the EtonHouse open-ended way of allowing children, and teachers, the time and space to grow.
Yi-Xian is an avid technical diver and adventure sports enthusiast.
Young Yi-Xian striking a pose.
“An organisation can try its best to deliberately create the conditions to foster ‘magic’. It can find these ‘magicians’ and help create physical and mental space for them, yet it can’t force magic. You can create the right conditions for a plant to grow, but the growth happens on its own, albeit curated by the gardener!”
As a young parent to twin boys, Yi-Xian treasures his newfound closeness with his parents. He divulges that he’s learned to “enjoy the dance of life”. Yi-Xian reveals that his dream is to establish EtonHouse as a world-class education group, which develops young people who are able to achieve success anywhere in the world.
Yi-Xian and wife welcomes the arrival of their baby twins, Keegan and Kiran.
The EtonHouse story goes on……
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