NewsMindChamps in top 1.5% of Singapore SME companies

April 1, 2014

We are proud to announce that MindChamps has been ranked in the top 1000 Singapore / Singapore SME companies by ACRA for the 6th consecutive year!

Out of the 60,000 companies reviewed by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), MindChamps is ranked in the top 1.5% of Singapore SME companies.

This stellar achievement was reported in the Business Times on 25 March 2014:
An Education Business with Soul
MindChamps’ Singapore SME 1000 ranking (top 1.5% of 60,000 companies) for six consecutive years is due to its winning combination of solid business acumen and a visionary approach to education

Pre-school and enrichment provider MindChamps has come a long way since 2002, when it had only 5 people on its team. Its current staff strength numbers over 500. This year, the group will open 4 more MindChamps PreSchools and 4 more MindChamps Reading and Writing Centres, further strengthening its current number one market share in Singapore for an early childhood education provider in the premium range.

By the end of this year, MindChamps will operate 25 MindChamps PreSchool Centres and 9 MindChamps Reading & Writing Centres, in addition to their corporate headquarters and general enrichment centre which serves over 3,000 students annually.

On the subject of a 21st Century pre-school curriculum, MindChamps founder, chairman and group CEO, Mr David Chiem stated, “We are the only pre-school organisation with extensive practical experience in ‘filling the gaps’ in primary and secondary education – our 16 years of researching and developing programmes that complement the national school curriculum has provided us with unique insights into where challenges can develop in the early childhood years. This is when most of the learning habits and negative attitudes are formed, affecting the child’s future love for learning and his/her relationship with it.”

Mr Chiem concluded, “Knowing where the gaps are, we are able to apply our proprietary learning-how-to-learn methodology to our early childhood curriculum to give any child an ideal foundation for primary school and beyond.”

MindChamps owes its success today to its focus on unlocking confidence, imagination and a love for learning in children – a synthesis of educational pedagogies drawn from research done by a team of international experts in education, neuroscience and psychology. They include highly distinguished neuroscientist Emeritus Professor Allan Snyder FRS (University of Sydney), award-winning author and educator Mr Brian Caswell, New England Conservatory music education chair Professor Larry Scripp, early childhood experts Professors Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, and renowned former Raffles Girls’ School principal Mrs Carmee Lim, to name a few.

“What is unique about MindChamps,” Mr Chiem explains, “is that we have managed to incorporate ground-breaking scientific research into practical program elements – distilling the key ingredients of Professor Snyder’s exploration of Champion Mindset into our curriculum to help every child become the best that he/she can be.”

Professor Snyder’s Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney studied champions from all walks of life and across such diverse fields as the sciences, entrepreneurship, sports, the Arts, Politics – even studying Nobel laureates and Olympic gold-medallists.

Research demonstrated that these champions almost inevitably possess 3 characteristics that separate them from the rest of the pack: an abhorrence to being ‘just ordinary’, the willingness to transcend conventional wisdom, and the ability to accept and learn from adversity.

In Mr Chiem’s words, “MindChamps’ unique Champion Mindset pedagogy is based on the philosophy of 100 per cent respect but zero fear. In Asian culture, we have a lot of respect but we also have a lot of fear. At MindChamps, we teach our children to respect and understand ‘the rules’ but then to not be afraid to ask the hard questions and go beyond convention.”

MindChamps encourages children to express their unique ideas via teaching methods imbued with the discipline of theatre – and theatre is something that Mr Chiem is intimately familiar with. He played lead roles on mainstream Australian television (the first Asian to do so in 1984, in the acclaimed drama series Butterfly Island), as well as working in film, radio and theatre and obtaining a master’s degree in film-making.

As an accomplished theatre and film practitioner, his next step was an educational breakthrough. In founding MindChamps, he married what he had learned in the art world with education.

“I could have stayed in the entertainment industry, telling someone else’s story, or I could focus on creating a totally new story – the story of an educational approach that we believe will change the paradigm of education,” he says. “At MindChamps, we believe our education story will continually be told, even in 100 years’ time.”

“Children are encouraged to become, rather than to mimic,” Mr Chiem says. “Either the curriculum content becomes a part of you, or you are just memorising without actively understanding and synthesising it to apply to different aspects of life.

“First and foremost, we train our teachers, to do far more than simply teach the content. Rather, we teach them what it is about, how it relates to them, and what the relationships are between each of the discreet concepts within the content.

“Everything in a great story or metaphor has a purpose. We create lesson plans in which things connect – where the ‘What’s it about?’ is clear for the child – and in this way we activate their curious minds to discover answers for themselves. This is what makes active and engaging learning.”

MindChamps began as a research institute in Sydney in 1998 and established its World Head Institute in Singapore in 2002. Its vision is to reach a global clientele. Singapore, where East meets West, is the perfect headquarters and is a country that has an internationally-recognised high standard of education.

Now, the next step is to bring the MindChamps Pre-School education model to the rest of the world. Mr Chiem plans to expand into Malaysia this year and Australia the next, before eventually going to the US and China.

“Ultimately, the human mind and its social environment will continue to evolve, and MindChamps will evolve along with it,” Mr Chiem says. “MindChamps owes its success to its brand culture statement which is One Heart, Connected Minds, Nurturing Champions, and its 5 core values of Heart, Integrity, Prosperity, Growth and Expansion, in that order.”

“We are proud to be ranked in the top 1.5% of Singapore companies for the 6th consecutive year. In my mind, it is clear we could only have achieved this as a team, united under our 5 core values and driven to make a difference.

“I have learned 2 profound things that have impacted my life. On my first day of acting school, the head of the school said that if any of us were there to be a movie star, there was the door. Most of us laughed, but we realised he was serious – that he wanted to ensure we were there because it was our calling. Likewise, in an education business, the desire to improve the whole lives of children has to be your calling.

“The second thing that I’ve learned is this: You can have the most beautifully written script, e.g., Shakespeare, but it means nothing, until you put your soul into it. I’m very blessed to have a truly incredible team who have brought so much soul into the making of who we are,” said Mr Chiem.

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