5 years of Bilingual Education at Hatching Dragons
It seems an odd time to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of providing bilingual education at Hatching Dragons. The world is going through a crisis of a scale never before seen in peacetime. The pandemic has affected all of us, whether it is with the prospect of our jobs no longer being available to us, the financial uncertainty that places upon our futures or with our loved ones being taken from us too early. We at the school know this last point only too well.
And amidst the anxiety comes VE Day. It is a day of remembrance, to celebrate our heroes. A day to never forget the tyranny and polemicism that took us down the catastrophic path to war.
And so rather than celebrate our birthday, I wanted to celebrate all our heroes, past and present. All who died in the war and those who are dying today to save us from this disease. We should never forget. As we should never forget that, as with the war, crises do indeed end. And when they do there is cause for hope.
A glimmer of hope
I think that many of us are seeing that hope even now. Amidst the tragedy, I’ve found myself reconnecting with friends, family and neighbours in ways that I would never had time to undertake before. I was heartened by the news that 250,000 people had volunteered to help with their local communities and over a million for the NHS. Having signed up to work with Hackney volunteer service on Wednesday mornings. I find that there is a sense of collective purpose and communal identity. One that I felt we had lost. Something my parents tell me they last felt, indeed, during the war.
I find myself asking the question, why is it that it takes a catastrophe to bring us back to the simple things that matter? Having the time and space for friends, family and your community? Many of us are pondering the post shutdown work life balance – is it time for a rethink?
The Future of Childcare and Bilingual Education
Such questions make many of us in childcare anxious. After all, we exist to provide a service to families who, like all of us did pre-covid, had no choice but to prioritise work over life. And it seems that my prediction of up to 50% of childcare providers ceasing to operate post-crisis is becoming real. As employers employees consider a “new normal” of flexible working that negates the need for childcare to the level and extent that makes the provision viable.
It is clearly too early to tell. It may be that as the economy rebounds, there will be a resumption of demand for high quality education and care. And if it does, I do wonder what the birth rate will be 9 months from now and what impact that will have on childcare 18 months on.
But for those of us who have decided to continue to operate between now and then, we must adapt to survive. And with Hatching Dragons we’ve taken the view to pivot into areas that will position us well for either scenario.
- Our new teacher placement and nannying service intends to provide parents who are lucky enough to be offered a more flexible arrangement with work with home-based childcare support. Offering qualified educationalists (unlike so many nannies), with Paediatric First Aid to help educate children whilst parents work from home.
- Our new online preschool will bring our teachers and curriculum to your homes. Intended for families who need short interactive class formats for children in subject areas such as phonics, STEM, numeracy, music and more. We have seen an online boom to our nannying service as well.
- Online early years teacher training will also be available to students of preschool education. As well as parents, in short course format, to further our accredited teacher training provision, particularly overseas.
We’ve found that these new service areas provide much-needed support to our nursery schools. Our staff are trained and nursery parents can attend the online preschool. Moreover, the City nursery that we’ve kept open during shut down benefits from new service areas that create a better, varied curriculum experience for our children.
This experience will bring many of us closer together. But it is also used as a tool to drive people apart. Crises past and present are used by some to exacerbate division for their own ends, be it financial or political. I do worry that instead of using this crisis to galvanise international engagement between countries, the opposite may become true. And history teaches us, or should teach us, where that path leads. We should all resist attempts by those who offer overly simplistic and reductive analyses of the problems before us. The truth is, as ever, much more complex than what we would prefer it to be.
I founded Hatching Dragons in 2015 in a bid to help children see the benefits of a global community. To teach them about the importance of communication, cultural understanding and collaboration. So that we could work towards a better future, together. After all, the challenges we face are increasingly global in scope – they will require global solutions. And, I know in my heart, we need people to work together in ways they have never before been able to achieve. I wanted our schools to be the place where they start.
This is our first test as those values appear to be increasingly under threat. So, on our fifth birthday, I won’t celebrate but I will reassert my commitment to the reason why we came into being. It has never been more important to do what we do and I hope that parents who share those values will continue to find what we offer meaningful, valuable and critical in this day and age. We will come out of this and when we do, we should do so together.
A word of thanks
Overall, I must communicate my deepest and sincerest thanks to all of our heroes. Those who share those values, be they hospital staff, frontline workers or those silent supporters who keep our world running during such difficult times. The love and support you embody by doing what you do for all of us is very much the kind of values I want our children to appreciate as they grow up. Personified, as I think they are, in my own personal heroes, the Hatching Dragons team. It has been an incredibly difficult period, but we should look back to what we’ve achieved over the past 5 years of delivering bilingual education and look forward to all that we can achieve in the next.