GWOT 2016 Jayne Nadarajoo
Jayne Nadarajoo, 47, Founding Director, Melbourne Specialist International School; White Lodge Education Group Services Pte Ltd; The Pantry @ Loewen Gardens

As a young mother back in 1999, Jayne realised that pre-schools in Singapore did not provide the learning environment that she was so passionate about. Having a wealth of knowledge from being a highly experienced early childhood professional, Jayne decided to start White Lodge Kindergarten, and adopted a learning ethic which focuses on an interactive curriculum, where the children learn by the experiences they encounter. Her then three-year-old son, Saktish, was her first student. An advocate for special needs integration, Jayne welcomed children with learning disabilities into White Lodge each term, and saw how they thrived in a small school setting. But their next school placement was often challenging due to the lack of available special needs schools in Singapore. This led the mum-of-two to launch Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) in November 2014, followed by The Pantry Cookery School, which provides vocational training and life skills programmes for the students of MSIS. Celebrating its 16th year now, White Lodge has since expanded to six kindergartens and two School of the Arts for young children in Singapore.

The opening of Melbourne Specialist International School is a personal achievement…
“I am for inclusive education, and all children having an equal right to education. Our special needs school caters to children four to 18 years of age, and I am working towards a vocational programme for our students aged 18 to 21 years.”

Let’s empower all individuals with special needs…
“Time and again, I hear horror stories about ugly customers who turn abusive and nasty, when a service is slow or a mistake is made. I hate to think that our society can only achieve success when there is a mandate with punishment – if this is so, then perhaps we should have a national campaign on ‘integrating individuals with disabilities into the society’, as we did with the courtesy campaign!”

As a parent I want my children to be independent…
“And hope that they will transfer their knowledge and skills towards self-sufficiency. In the same way, we are giving all our students at MSIS an opportunity to gain more confidence and practise their skills in a safe environment, before going out to the larger community.”

If Jayne Nadarajoo inspires you, vote for her in The Most Inspiring Award here. You will stand a chance to win prizes worth up to $1,230!

The Great Women Of Our Time 2016 is presented by Skin Inc and co-sponsored by Swarovski.