What’s New Indonesia recently had a conversation with Vriti Mahtani, the School Coordinator of Tutor Time, Kemang. She’s been dedicating her professional experience since 1997 to provide high-quality care for children at Tutor Time. In this interview, she talked about Tutor Time, her leadership, her hopes for children education and more.

Could you tell our readers more about Tutor Time? What do you want to highlight more about the school, etc? 

Tutor Time Learning Centers was founded in 1988, in Boca Raton, Florida. Within a span of 28 years, Tutor Time has grown to more than 200 corporate and franchise schools, throughout United States, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. Tutor Time Indonesia is an early childhood education specialist, since 1996, applying programs developed by Tutor Time USA. It provides care and learning opportunities, for children aged 6 months to 6 years old.

The Kemang Center is the first center that started outside the USA in 1996. As of 2018, Tutor Time is available in 9 locations in Indonesia, located in Jakarta, Tangerang, Bandung, and Surabaya collectively, having over a thousand and more children under our care.

Tutor Time has been a leader in early education with an expert-driven curriculum created by our research and development team. The research department continuously develops innovative educational solutions for families and children. The curriculum creates a School Readiness Pathway Integrated Program that is based on intentional planning, around the skills and capabilities of children. Following this philosophy, that education is not a one-size-fits-all experience has led us to tap on children’s potential to its fullest

Tutor Time provides facilities, that are needed to support students learning outcomes, such as self-contained classrooms with designated learning areas, the interesting Tutor Towne village, the spacious Tumble and Movement area, a green Environmental Science area, and a fun sandy and an equipped big playground that follow an early child care center layout.

Having been 21 years in operation in Indonesia, it has been very rewarding to receive continuous parent referrals and testimonies informing us of the smooth transitions, their children have made, into schools here and abroad. It is also very heartening to receive the School of Excellence Award, year after year from Tutor Time USA and Corporate Office, Indonesia.

What’s the ratio of Tutor Time’s nationality?

Currently, about 40% of our students in Tutor Time Kemang are Indonesian. The rest are a mix from Asia, Australia, North America, and Europe. This ratio might vary in other Tutor Time schools.

What can parents expect when they enroll their kids to Tutor Time?

At Tutor Time, success means that the children have strong foundational skills and the knowledge to prepare them for a smooth transition, into a national or international elementary school. Our goal is to lay a positive first step, for a child’s subsequent education, and to inspire in them a love of lifelong learning. We develop their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development to make them productive members of society and leaders of tomorrow.

Could you give us background information and take a moment to introduce yourself?

My tenure at Tutor Time Kemang began in 1997. I take great pride in being part of this establishment since then and heading it since 2001 till today. For 21 years, we have proudly provided high-quality care for more than a thousand children from diverse communities here in Jakarta. As a young adult, I was always curious to understand the mind and world of children in their early years. Children are precious and I wanted to be a big part of their formational years, years which have a big impact on their personalities and the course of their future education.

I was fortunate to encounter such a dynamic team and program at Tutor Time. Its values and philosophy are very similar to the parenting style that I applied to both my children, which is making them build confidence about themselves, and then followed by learning through play. I take pride in this journey in all its aspects, whether it was being part of the change to a new approach to kindergarten two decades ago or being able to create the awareness of the importance of self-esteem in a balanced program – alongside reading and writing – or addressing various economic or political challenges. Making a difference for so many years to so many families have indeed been very fulfilling!

How would you describe your leadership style?

Effective communication and being open to new approaches, has allowed me to consistently stay within the direction of the organization’s goal and objectives. My commitment to reflect, revisit and reframe practices has led me to be solution driven primarily. The “highest retention rate of teacher award” that our school received, shows our stability that has led to service success. This would not have been possible, if the spirit of teamwork, is not the ruling sentiments here at Tutor Time

What are some ways you have dealt with challenges, and how did you find solutions?

Having English as our medium of instruction, there have been instances, wherein it becomes a challenge when a child has a different first language. In this case, we work with the families so there is consistency, in our approach, such as asking for common phrases, in their native tongue with its translation in English. This approach has successfully led the children, to being bilingual enabling them to make a smooth transition into elementary schools.

Another challenge has been identifying a delay in a child. Making use of Tutor Time’s class observation record, which shows age-appropriate developmental milestones, we are able to recognize such delay like speech, motoric. We communicate such observations to parents to work on family solutions for the best interest of the child.

What steps would you take if you’re dealing with a student discipline incident in Tutor Time?

First, we reinforce certain rules, to the children to set the boundaries, and also try to determine what needs of that particular child have not been met. Children misbehave for a variety of reasons. A child might be at a developmental stage, where they need to test the limits of their own control. Sometimes, children also behave inappropriately, simply because they are bored, tired, curious or frustrated.

At Tutor Time, our SEL (Social, Emotional Learning) program teaches the children, the skills to learn acceptable social behavior, through redirection and modeling positive behavior. It also encourages children to use language to resolve conflicts. Children are therefore able to understand and develop self-control and build upon their self-esteem.

Could you give some examples of how you have communicated with parents of challenging students?

While we are aware that parents have a different coping mechanism, we also understand the importance of early intervention, which we can achieve through an open communication. Concerns like speech delay, temper tantrums, biting incidents are raised to the parents with sensitivity without disregarding the strengths of the child.

What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture in Tutor Time?

“When children feel good about themselves, learning will take place”. Keeping this in mind, Tutor Time has consistently provided a nurturing, safe and stimulating environment with an age-appropriate program. We have done this, for our diverse Tutor Time families, and some of our graduates have already started University. Parent referrals and testimonies are pieces of evidence of our dedication and success. This to me translates to an ideal school environment, which we have proudly been offering for the past 21 years, here in Indonesia.

What can you advise our readers what are the most important things they need to consider when browsing for school for their children?

A number of things should be considered, including accreditation, the quality of the teaching faculty, the degree to which the environment is safe and secure, facilities, and a low teacher-student ratio, as well as location.