Voice From Alumni
And so, I was back here once again. As I patiently stood at the gates of my childhood kindergarten, a rush of emotions engulfed me like a tidal wave. From feelings of nostalgia to nervousness, I never thought that I would be back here again. The renovated buildings were a testament to the time that had passed, but the vibrant playground brought back past echoes of carefree laughter, memories of old friendships, and cherished experiences.
My name is Bella Musuwan, I’m 15, and I attended Noddy Playgroup in my early years. I then transferred to NIST International School where I’m now a highschool student. Currently, I’m proud to say that I perform well academically, continuously achieving academic excellence and effort awards. I also participate in various extracurriculars such as Varsity Fencing, Piano, and community service. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Noddy’s summer program for almost two weeks. In this article, I’ll discuss my childhood experience at Noddy, and what I gained from revisiting their campus as an intern.
My childhood at Noddy can be accumulated into one word; colorful. During my time there, every interaction, every conversation, every activity was vibrant and full of life. In fact, my childhood memories are tinted with colors and rainbows. From finger painting, to doing obstacles in the gym, to singing songs while dancing offbeat, learning through play was an essential factor at Noddy. However, the daily storytimes were my favorite. It was where the teacher would bring a book to life, transporting us to worlds of fantasy and wonder, where everything would go silent as the kids listened closely, where I felt like I was truly part of a community.
Previously, I had briefly attended a Thai preschool before Noddy, where Thai was the only language I knew. But attending Noddy immensely developed my English, which is a crucial part of my life today. Through interactive activities, playing, and engaging conversations, Noddy’s curriculum introduced me to English in an enjoyable manner. The patient guidance of the teachers made learning English feel natural and exciting. This exposure not only allowed me to transfer to NIST, a widely recognized international school, but also became the support pillars for my bilingualism. Today, my fluency in both Thai and English has enriched my understanding of different cultures, facilitated communication, and is a valuable asset for navigating our globalized world. Ultimately, Noddy’s english-speaking program allowed me to flourish lingually at my ‘big school’, enabling me to become bilingual and embrace the opportunities that come with it.
Choosing to do an internship at Noddy was a decision driven by my passion for working with children and my desire to contribute positively to their development. I realized Noddy was the perfect place where I could gain valuable insights and skills that would shape my personal growth, whilst giving back to the community that played a pivotal role in my childhood.
After completing the internship, I achieved several valuable outcomes that enriched both my knowledge and skill set. Firstly, I learned how to communicate effectively with young children. Understanding their unique needs, finding creative ways to engage them, and adapting my communication style were all essential skills I developed.
Moreover, the hands-on experience I acquired was incredibly valuable. Actively participating in team activities allowed me to witness firsthand how these activities facilitated the development of essential skills among the children, including decision-making, problem-solving, and resilience.
The internship at Noddy also broadened my understanding of child psychology and development. Seeing students progress from tearful first days to confident individuals was rewarding. A particularly impactful aspect was the teachers who display active listening, devoid of judgment, which not only exemplified respect for each child’s uniqueness but also bolstered each child’s self-confidence, an attribute greatly valued within Noddy’s nurturing environment.
After revisiting their campus for a total of 12 days, my perspectives about the institution have evolved greatly. What I initially perceived as a simple playgroup has transformed into a crucial stepping stone for childhood development, which has greatly contributed to my success today. By learning through play, Noddy fosters growth, meaningful connections, and a passion for lifelong learning. And Noddy continues to commit to this mission, a decade ago when I was a young impressionable child, and now, as I revisit their campus as my own distinct person.
My name is Pimmy Soongswang, and I attended Noddy from 2001 to 2005. I then moved to Shrewsbury International School from Year 1 to Year 13. At school, I took part in sports and drama while maintaining a strong academic record. This gained me a place at the University of Cambridge where I studied Law and Economics and graduated top of my class. I am now a law student in London, sponsored by a law firm to complete my studies before joining them as a lawyer in September. Today I am writing about my experience at Noddy and how it equipped me with valuable skills to succeed in school and life.
As children, we are often taught that learning happens in a traditional classroom setting with textbooks and lectures. However, from my own experience, I know that play is an essential part of any child’s development. Learning through play creates wonderful benefits and Noddy’s play-based curriculum gave me a fantastic foundation from a young age.
I vividly remember my time at Noddy where I had so much fun painting, singing, swimming and playing with friends. The teachers were so warm, and I felt very cared for. I was always listened to and felt that I could approach my teachers about anything; they took the time to get to know me very well. Furthermore, the teachers encouraged us to explore different materials like paint, clay and blocks which made the classroom environment very exciting. They gave us the freedom to create our own projects and express ourselves through art which helped me to become more independent and confident in my ideas.
In addition to art, we had opportunities to learn about science, music, and nature. We made solar systems, learned about different animals and sang songs together. One of my favourite activities was going to the library because we were encouraged to love reading and I could not get enough of the marvellous books around me. Of course, break times were also incredibly fun as my friends and I would unleash all our energy and come up with the wildest games together.
Noddy also developed my softer skills as a child such as compassion and teamwork. We were always taught to share and be kind to each other, as well as basic manners and respect. In my opinion, this type of social learning is one of the best parts of Noddy as everyone was so generous and considerate which made it a lovely place to be. Additionally, many of our activities were focused on recycling and gardening which extended this sense of kindness to our planet, not just the people around us.
Overall, Noddy was a truly fantastic environment which sparked my curiosity and love for learning. This is something that I have carried throughout my life and education. I was always excited to be at school every day just to learn more about the world around me. Being at Noddy also developed my creativity. Through play, I was able to use my imagination to create new worlds and explore different scenarios. This greatly benefitted my problem-solving skills and critical thinking which has helped me approach new challenges with enthusiasm and originality.
Most importantly, Noddy instilled a strong sense of self-confidence in me. Teachers trusted me and valued my ideas, and I was encouraged to express my thoughts and opinions. In school, this meant that I always contributed in class and was excited to share my thoughts. Even when education got tougher, I maintained this strong belief in my own ability which gave me the grit to overcome difficult scenarios. Looking back, having good self-esteem has been so important as a student and I’m so grateful to Noddy for helping me develop this.
Overall, Noddy built a fantastic foundation for me to become a successful life-long learner. By focusing on play in my early years, rather than tuition or rote learning, I developed creativity, critical thinking and self-expression which have been crucial to my academic success. As such, I am a firm believer in learning through play for a child’s development. By giving children the freedom to be creative, they develop their own confidence and love of learning to thrive and be happy in whatever they do.