Founder of Mami & Me
What is Mami & Me and why did you start it? We are a Mom&Me playgroup that offers different programs for 0-3 year-olds. We understand a child’s early learning starts at home with the parents and caregivers and we wanted to provide an environment with activities and tools that encourages the parents and caregivers to engage in their early learnings. These programs are not only designed to enhance early learning, build socialization skills, increase confidence and independence for the little ones but most importantly it helps to strengthen the bond between parents and caregivers with their little ones. At the time when we arrived in Shanghai in 2012 with our 3 month old daughter, the amount of playgroups in Shanghai was quite scarce. I eventually found one which let me reconnect with the community and make lifelong friends. Not only was I able to bring my daughter, I was given the opportunity to lead and teach the classes. Since discovering my passion with children, I went abroad for training and upon returning, I created Mami&me playgroup programs which we currently have at Z&B Fitness. What are some of the learning principles behind the activities kids do in Mami & Me class? Mami&me programs have a major focus on sensory stimulation. Each week, I want to give each child the opportunity to explore different textured items which essentially allows them to expand their imagination. For example, water isn’t only just wet, it can be hot or cold as well as slippery and bubbly. Leaves from trees aren’t just brown or green anymore, they can be smooth and also rough. Another objective within sensory play is to develop a child’s motor skills. By putting pom poms in bottles it develops their fine motor skills and by walking across balance beams it develops their gross motor skills. We also teach how parents can interact with their children as most of the learning a child does during these early years is from their parents
Tell us about some of the highs and lows you’ve faced starting your own business in Shanghai?
The highs would definitely have to be the amount of positive feedback from parents or even the child. Knowing that we’ve helped a child overcome his or her fear of paint or seeing a child try new things and really enjoying it. The lows would be seeing caregivers involvement and participation within the class at a minimum.
What do you think makes a good teacher great?
The ability to be able to connect with all the children. To be able to capture the attention of each and every single child within a class.
Finish this sentence “You know you’re an early childhood teacher when…”
The only songs you know are nursery rhymes!
What advice would you give to other women wanting to start a business in Shanghai?
Don’t give up, keep trying as it takes some trial and error. Initially we went through a handful of different venues. Some venues didn’t have the right size or facilities. Some didn’t let us run certain activities such as playing with paint or playing with water. So we spent quite some time searching and searching and eventually we were very lucky to walk into a partnership with Z&B Fitness as we had the same vision to create a space for kids to have fun and learn.
What is your dream job?
Being able to work and also spend quality time with my children everyday.
If you would like to reach Kate to learn more about Mami&me please contact her.
WeChat ID: katechanglee