14th December 1997


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Step into a bright, coulourful world

By Sandrina Abeywardena

Remember your first day away from home, at nursery school? The memories may be hazy and might not be your best. Yet that initial step taken by your parents to provide you with proper training would have paved the way for higher education in the later years.

It’s important for a young child to be encouraged to read and enjoy learning in the early impressionable years. With more and more mothers working to make ends meet, parents need to know that their child will be under proper care in a warm and friendly environment.

The bright and colourful swings, slides, toy cars and the doll house in the garden surrounding the Young Minds Pre-School and Toddler Group, soon to be opened is a welcome sight to both young and old, assuring the parents at a glance that here the child will be encouraged and nurtured.

The trio responsible for this school scheduled to begin next month, share a deep bond of friendship and count fifty years of teaching experience between them. Not surprisingly Ms. Shermila Rajaratnam, Ms. Nelum Ratwatte and Ms. Laila Ismail are good friends who studied and have also taught at their alma mater - Ladies College, Colombo. Getting together, they said that finally their dream is a reality. When looking through the school, one can see that each room has been thought of and decorated with the child in mind. Colourful pin-ups of Disney characters, interesting informative posters, pictures drawn by children all create a carefree environment.

“We wanted to give the children a better deal and give them a better education as well as individual attention which is very important at their age. At Young Minds we aim to prepare a child for national as well as international schools. So that when they enter a school they will be able to cope without difficulties,” said Ms. Rajaratnam. The motto of the pre school encourages a child to stand on his own feet. “I can do it myself.....I do and I understand.”

“It is our aim to instill a love of reading and we intend to emphasise the importance of reading at this school,” added Ms. Ratwatte gesturing towards the reading room. Apart from the kiddies library, there are three separate rooms for the various age groups, which will accomodate not more than ten children to ensure individual attention.

“We are hoping to get down music/drama teachers and a story teller. The parents will also be encouraged to come and visit the school and see their children at work,” said Ms. Ismail. Given this kind of enthusiasm, the Young Minds Pre School and Toddler Group situated at No 2, 33rd Lane, Off Bagatalle Road, Colombo 3 has already enlisted quite a number of students and is all set for a successful start.

Young Hotelier of the Year

Elushka Gunatunga, Food and Beverage Promotions Manger of the Colombo Hilton was presented the award ‘Young Hotelier of the World 1997, by the International Hotel and Restaurants Association at its 50th Anniversary congress in Amsterdam. She was a nominee of the Colombo Hilton and was sent to Amsterdam, to attend the Congress and receive her award.

This is an annual award by the International Hotel and Restaurants Association and the Hotels Magazine, to a person under 30 years of age from the hospitality industry with an outstanding record of career achievement.

The award criteria are: leadership, expertise in the discipline, communication skills, a commitment to continuing education and community involvement.

Elushka, who describes herself as ‘always ready to take on a new challenge-and see it through,’ is in charge of marketing the 16 food and beverage outlets in the 387 room Hilton. She has short cross exposures in Hilton Hotels in Singapore, Brussels and Korea.

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