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Expatpreneur Awards 2018: Here’s How Jackie Barkham Turned Her Love For Preschool-Age Children Into An In-Demand Kindy In Singapore

What once used to be a plant nursery now cultivates young minds in the form of Swallows and Amazons Early Learning Centre – a preschool set in the green, open spaces of The Grandstand in Bukit Timah.

“We opened in 2008 with holiday art and music camps for older children. I took on a fantastic teacher, who had taught my children. We got to six or seven children fairly quickly,” recalls Jackie, who moved to Singapore as a trailing partner 19 years ago.

Her inspiration for the school’s name came from the title of a book she read as a child – an adventure story that touched upon children learning through discovery and exploration, and being open-minded, caring and communicative. “I really like the preschool age group!” says Jackie, who explains she used to organise a lot of activities for her own three children and the children of friends. “I got a very good idea on what works well when creating an inclusive and fun learning environment.”

By 2007, she shares, “I felt I needed to do something entrepreneurial on my own,” and officially registered her kindy business. The secret to the school’s success? Avoiding lecture-based learning. “Children are always willing learners. They want to touch, explore and learn about the world around them. So, we expose them to experiences, presenting concepts to them in ways that they can engage with and understand.”

Read more about Jackie and her preschool here.


About The Finder Expatpreneur Awards
In 2017, The Finder debuted its first-ever Expatpreneur Awards to honour foreign-born entrepreneurs running successful expat-owned businesses in or from Singapore. This 2018, a new batch of 23 Expatpreneur Awardees have been unveiled! All of them have one thing in common: Their brands help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s core mission. (Find out more about the Expatpreneur Awards judge who coined the term “expat-preneur” in 2015 while you’re here!)


By Sushmita Mohapatra and Savitha Venugopal, The Finder Issue 292

Like this? Read more about The Finder Expatpreneur 2018 Awards here and download the digital magazine from the App StoreGoogle Play or Magzter.

More on The Finder:

About The Finder Expatpreneur Awards 2018

Expatpreneur Awards 2017: 6 Of Our Favourite Kids And Family Services By Expats And Locals In Singapore

Expatpreneur Awards 2017: Being A Third-Culture Kid Inspired This Expat To Start An International School In Singapore


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