Penpals Montessori Children’s House
5395 Victoria Drive | Phone: 604-783-6398
By Monique Koningstein
Special to The Post
Saraphina Yung runs a bright clean beautiful Montessori school on Victoria Drive. Her dream and passion of owning and operating her vision school, “Penpals,” started with a business plan in 2010 and became a reality in September 2011.
Her education reads like a travel glossary. At the young age of fourteen, she left her family to study at a private school in England, followed by higher education in Scotland. She then moved to the USA where she obtained her BA Psychology in Minnesota. She was influenced by psychologist B.F. Skinner and wanted to pursue clinical psychology, but family circumstances led her back to Hong Kong. Here she taught grades one to three in elementary school and cared for her grandmother.
After the death of her grandmother in 1993, Yung moved to Canada to join her family. Unlike many new immigrants, Yung did not find it too hard to adjust to Canadian life. Having grown up in a British colony, the mannerisms of Western culture were not new to her and this helped her assimilate to Canadian life.
Through hard work and perseverance, Yung eventually started Penpals, which operates on Victoria Drive in Vancouver.
What sets Penpals apart from other preschools? Penpals has both morning and afternoon sessions from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Theme days are offered from Monday to Friday, and include the introduction of music, French, Chinese, yoga, phonics, and arts and crafts. Local fields trips are included at no extra charge.
Penpals promotes core values based on the importance of family, respect and courtesy for each other and embraces diversity. Her highly qualified staff operate at a ratio of 2:10 children, and deliver an enriched curriculum based on the best of the Reggio (play based) and Montossori (structured) learning philosophies. Healthy eating habits are promoted, and children are offered snacks such as fruit, veggies and crackers.
Yung is also trilingual and speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese. She is a member of the Soong Ching Ling, a children’s foundation where she sits on the Board of Directors. Yung also tutors elementary, high school and some university students, but her main focus is preschool for children from the age of thirty months onwards.