Parent coaching in Hong Kong | Early childhood education
Check out our interview with Abigail, a parent coach in Hong Kong to families and caregivers. Let’s find out how she moved from being a kindergarten principal to starting her own coaching programmes.
Tell us about your business! What inspired you to start parent coaching in Hong Kong?
Abigail: I provide parent education and coaching to families and caregivers (including domestic helpers) as a specialist in Early Childhood Education. During Covid when schools were online, I observed the difficulties all stakeholders – parents, children and educators had when trying to settle into a new normal with online learning. Especially in early childhood, these methods didn’t ‘fit’ at all with what we know about how children learn. Using screen time to teach has actually been shown in research to be much, much less effective for learning, especially in areas such as language and social development.
That’s when I saw the need to empower caregivers, parents, grandparents and domestic helpers with the knowledge and skills so they could rest assured that even with schools closed, effective learning could take place at home, simply and easily with no extra fuss or stress. This then led to the understanding that even as schools opened, those tasked with raising and looking after children could continue to make a difference in their family time, despite schools and kindergartens being back face-to-face.
Can you share your journey as an entrepreneur?
I moved to Hong Kong in 2005 as an Early Childhood teacher, I trained in England and became qualified in Hong Kong. I began school management roles in 2010 and became a Kindergarten Principal in 2015. After opening a few kindergartens and pre-nursery programmes from scratch and working closely with parents in different capacities, I knew very well the challenges they faced raising children in the competitive education field in Hong Kong. They were always wanting what was best for them educationally, while also wanting to support their moral development and have them succeed in a good school.
As Covid hit the world, I branched out of schools and into my own practice of coaching parents and domestic helpers through home learning. It spiralled from there when parents realised they could have the support of a trained and qualified preschool educator to provide authentic day-to-day learning in their homes, and understand their children’s behaviour and motivations.
There are not many options out there for parent education that are customised to a family’s own lifestyle and children’s specific needs, so it has been so fun and humbling to work with many parents in this capacity. I feel I can touch more lives in a deeper way since beginning this entrepreneur journey into parent coaching.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
At first there was a big learning curve with all the new technology, I think most people went through that. I am so grateful to have been thrown in the deep end with it all, that’s where we learn most and best usually.
What's something important you've learnt along the way?
Over time, as I worked with clients, I found that alongside learning and ensuring children were supported in all areas of development, parents also wanted support with guiding behaviour and how to use gentle, positive parenting. And as I added this to my programmes, schools became interested as well. I provide coaching in positive parenting and early learning, and I also provide teacher and leadership training in various areas now as well.
What makes your program stand out?
My 1:1 coaching programmes are rather unique as they are tailored specifically for the needs of the parents and caregivers I am working with. We work on SMART goals for parenting, which gives the power back to the parent in how best to fit it into their family life. They do not need to visit a coaching centre or spend time doing paperwork or homework, all their learning is done through discussions with me and practice with their child at home. This is a truly personalised experience for every family.
A personalized experience is key 🙂 Can you share a tip with us for people who are entering the entrepreneur journey?
A general tip I’d love to share is listen to your clients. I provide free advice and support to my social media followers and often hear from them in comments and direct messages about struggles and challenges. I listen and act upon those concerns and then I can serve them even better in my programmes and with my content. Listening is so important!