Education is such an important aspect of life, even in paradise. A new school is about to open its doors, and that can only be good news for the islands youngsters. The Samui Times caught up with Nathalie Harrington, who will be working at the school to find out where she comes from, why she came to live here and of course find out all about the new school
Hi Nathalie, thanks for giving us some of your time today where do you come from?
Hello!, I am from England.
I have been on Koh Samui for roughly four months now
What made you want to come and live and work in Koh Samui?
I have always loved Asia, since first traveling around 3 years ago, it was always a dream of mine to come and apply here, the knowledge that I have gained as a teacher in the UK,
What do you do in terms of work here?
At the moment I am currently setting up a new school on the Island called T.L.C, which stands for Thailand Learning Centre.
Can you tell us about the school and its learning concepts?
The school has been a dream for over two years now, fortunately I came along at exactly the right time. I am so happy to be apart of this project, I have always wanted to be apart of the set up of a new school, its exciting as the possibilities of what it can become are endless. The learning concepts are a combination of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the Montessori Philosophy.
What do you think the main benefits of this learning technique are?
The Early Years Foundation Stage is a framework for the care and learning of all children, it describes how early years practitioners should work with children and families to support development and learning. These terms are very familiar to the Montessori Philosophy stating that every child is unique and that positive relationships form the basis for personal respect, supporting learning and development; and that children develop and learn in different way and at different rates.
Currently between 10-15 and we have the future hopes of expanding to 20 +.
What sort of plans does the school have for the future?
We aim to dedicate our time to provide a happy and caring environment, where the children feel happy and relaxed. We want every child to feel special and appreciated and allow them to develop at their own pace and in the direction that most suits them. I feel that the future of T.L.C looks positive and bright.
Where is the school?
The school is situated in the midst of the beautiful Bangrak hillside, in Phatong Residence just off the airport Road.
How can our readers find out more information?
We have a facebook page that the readers can find all our contact information on and we will have a website available shortly.
What are the entry requirements for the school?
The only entry requirements that we have are that children are aged 1-6, we offer placement to children from all walks of life, background and ethnicity.
Currently we have one international teacher, myself and two Thai teachers who have over two years experience and are absolutely fantastic with the children.
What sort of facilities are there?
The school is situated in a large, spacious building which is idyllic for a school; it is surrounded by beautiful communal gardens that contain a large swimming pool plus a toddler pool, we want to use this for lots of fun and exciting activities, such as nature walks and obstacle courses. When the weather is nice I want to utilize the gardens as much as possible and really feel at one with nature, have the children exploring and investigating koh samui’s wonderful wildlife.
What are the opening hours?
The school will be divided into three main term times but also be open throughout the year with a camp during the holidays. Monday to Friday we will be open 8.30 – 3.00pm.
Where did you learn to teach and where have you taught?
I learnt to teach over 8 years ago in a small surrey town called Woking. I was given the opportunity to work in a Montessori School and decided that, that was the direction I wanted to go down. I studied alongside teaching for the next three years, working in two separate half day Montessori’s. Once I completed my training I wanted to work in London, so I got a position working at a Montessori School and became team leader of 18 children and three members of staff with the first two months. After my time there I moved onto St Andrews Montessori in North London, until I was given the opportunity to come and work in Asia. I’ve always loved being a teacher and really feel it is a vocation for me, there’s nothing more rewarding than inspiring the next generation.
I thoroughly enjoy experiencing all that Thailand has to offer, the food, the culture, the people and of course I love spending time on the beach and with friends.
What aspects of life in Samui do you like the most?
I will never take for granted how beautiful this island and the surroundings are, I often catch myself thinking ‘wow I actually live in Thailand’ and how privileged I am to live in such a stunning place. I love how you can get on a ferry and be on another island within the space of an hour to an hour and half, what is there not to love?
What changes would you like to see on the island to improve island life?
Ideally it would great if there were more safe and secure facilities for children to play and explore, after being here for a short time now and knowing many families with children this is the main subject that is often brought up in discussion.
What is your favorite part of the island?
There are so many beautiful places to mention for example Maenam and Bangphor, I love how they are so peaceful and quiet and there are some lovely local Thai restaurants that serve delicious food.
What advice would you give to somebody that would like to come and live and work here?
It depends whether you are thinking of coming alone or with family but to really research what is best for you in terms of location, job opportunity and lifestyle. This is a wonderful place to live but it doesn’t suit all as it’s a very different style of living from the hustle and bustle of a major city. For me personally I love it and wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else.Stay updated with Samui Times by following us on Facebook.
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