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We continue our celebration of women's success during Women's History Month. In this feature, we spoke with Kimberly Kwok, Founder and School Supervisor of Mighty Oaks, a local nursery and kindergarten that focuses on character education. While not everyone has the opportunity to realize their childhood dreams, Kim stayed committed to her passion for childhood education, which she found very early in life as a little girl. Read on to follow Kim's business journey!
I started Mighty Oaks before I was a mother, so Mighty Oaks was my first baby. Just like all start-ups, there was a lot of sweat and tears and it was a steep learning curve.
"They say it takes a village to raise a child, for Mighty Oaks this involved a great team with the same vision, prayer warriors who pray for our school, and a supportive family that helped turn my passion into reality."
I always knew I wanted to be in early childhood education. Since I was 3 years old, I would pretend-play “Miss Kim’s School” with my cousins. However, I was not known to be the best student at school. In fact, I was ranked one of the lowest, which gave me low self-esteem. Thankfully, I had a family tutor who kept encouraging me and guiding me. She saw the potential in me and did not give up on me. This made me understand the impact educators have on their students.
"This later inspired me to build Mighty Oaks, where loving educators support kids to grow from acorns to oaks of mighty oak trees through our character education and social emotional learning program."
My mom. I have 4 siblings, so I am not sure how my mom could manage her business, take care of all her children, and still have time for charity work.
My mom always shows by example what a God-centred parent looks like. On Christmas day, when most families are opening presents, my family would go to St. Stephen’s Society to volunteer at Jackie Pullinger’s ministry. This became a family tradition that I hope to extend to my family now. And now that we all have our own families, my mom still wakes up in the morning, and prays for her family for a solid hour.
Working from home and having flexible work schedules is gaining popularity among the workforce. When I became a mom, I wanted to find a place where I could spend time with my son, but also hop on calls or a computer.
"I also felt motherhood can be lonely when the world keeps telling you 'you are behind' or 'you are not enough'. This inspired me to create Acorn Playhouse."
Located in Wong Chuk Hang, Acorn Playhouse’s concept is a space that combines a co-working space for parents, a fun-zone for kids, and a café for both to enjoy. Our café will be run by Hong Chi Association to support the community. The fun-zone will include a play space (with a huge slide) with different classrooms including cooking, sensory, music, and dance room. And while kids are having fun, moms (and dads) can find themselves at our kiosks getting work done.
I can imagine moms and dads having playdates here with their friends, taking work calls, playing with their kids, having coffee with our teachers, or enjoying seminar speakers. This is also why it’s called Acorn Playhouse - it will be a home away from home for our community.
I am proud of our Character Education curriculum at school where we are able to engage the community and many families. A part of this program is to encourage the values of compassion and love. We were not only the first in Hong Kong to extend a full playgroup & kindergarten scholarship, but we have also been hosting an annual Mighty Oaks Green Charity Fair to give back to the community.
My favourite character education activity this year is when our students toured Kennedy Town and started noticing the unsung heroes in our community e.g. the cardboard ladies. The teachers first asked them to try moving cardboard at our outdoor playground. After they experienced the hardship, the students volunteered in making thank you cards for them.
One mentality I have for myself this year is “be kind to myself”, which I remind myself every night. With that in mind, I am able to see how other moms struggle as well. As I know first-hand how hard and lonely being a mom and businesswoman is, I want to support women around me.
"All moms have it hard, stay at home or working. We are all working full time jobs and doing the best we can to provide for people we love."
These apps on my phone are my go-to items. Sometimes I just need to close my eyes, rest my mind and just focus on relaxing. These apps help calm me down.
My next must-have is my gym - Ursus fitness. Working out has been my biggest de-stress mechanism.
"Its one of the few moments during my day where I really feel like I am just Kim Kwok- not a mom, a boss or wearing any other hat."
Lastly, organic bibs are a must-have! My son, who’s constantly salivating, has eczema. We can only use organic fabrics on his sensitive skin, so we always pack an extra bib in the diaper bag!
Shop: The Wee Bean's 100% Organic Cotton Bibs
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We are thrilled to introduce our April Bean Of The Month - Baby Galia! This adorable 3-month-old baby hails from a diverse family with a Hong Kong Chinese mommy and a South African daddy. The family resides in the beautiful city of Singapore, where they enjoy exploring and discovering baby-friendly places.
In this feature, Mommy Viv (@pieceofcakehk) shares her must-have items for first-time moms, her favorite activities with her baby, and her best advice on motherhood. Thank you Mommy Viv for sharing these tips!
Plus special offers and early access to new products