Provider profile: David Chiem, MindChamps Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman
After the recent news of MindChamps adding a further 14 franchisees to its Australian network,The Sector’s Jason Roberts spent some time with David Chiem, Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of MindChamps to learn more about his journey to early childhood education and care (ECEC) and what the future may hold for the company.
What’s behind your passion for early childhood education and care?
“Our family came from Vietnam as refugees when I was very young,” Mr Chiem began.
“I recall as a student starting school back then without any English just how hard it was to fit in and get on. I actually remember being called ‘stupid’ by one of my classmates which created a long lasting impact on me. It was at that moment I realised the power and importance of literacy and the importance of learning as a means to fully actualising one’s potential.”
From these challenging beginnings, Mr Chiem’s mission of wanting to reach and transform the lives of as many young people as possible was born, which then fed, and continues to feed, his passion for providing high quality and inclusive early childhood education and care.
How do you approach each day working in the ECEC space?
“When I came to Australia my father said, “for all of us who made it, someone died.” This experience imprinted a very deep mindset in me, encouraging me to never take anything for granted,” he continued.
“It also instilled in me a deep desire to contribute and give back to Australia.”
This sense of gratitude and desire to give back has shaped the values and team culture of MindChamps, and is central to the day to day workings of the company and its team members.
What is the origin story of MindChamps?
MindChamps started as a small research team in Sydney in 1998, Mr Chiem shared.
“I wanted to understand more clearly what the key drivers of early childhood development were and how they could be harnessed through a dedicated curriculum to achieve academic excellence and long term well being.”
From this point, the first of the organisation’s services were launched. MindChamps, however, did not get its start in the ECEC centre based environment in Australia.
“We all know just how competitive Singapore is when it comes to education so we decided that if we could succeed in Singapore we could succeed anywhere and the results have been amazing,” Mr Chiem explained.
“We were recently voted the number one premium brand in Singapore by parents and currently have around 38.5 per cent of the premium range early education market which is a tremendous achievement and a testimony to the quality of our service and the amazing team that brings it all to life.”
“That being said, I have placed a huge importance on bringing MindChamps home to Australia; the country where this movement started and the country that gave me a second chance at life.”
Can you tell us a bit about the franchise model you adopted in Australia?
“Right from the beginning, I knew if we wanted to create a global early education movement,
there was no way we could do it all ourselves,” he continued.
“In order to reach as many families as possible, we needed passionate people who understood
what we were trying to achieve and believed in our vision and education model. That is where the franchise model comes in.”
“We have been very fortunate to have attracted extraordinary franchisees, many of whom are ex parents of MindChamps students who have seen the impact our teaching and training has had on their children first hand.”
So how does the franchise model actually work?
“Each franchisee owns 100 per cent of their own centres, and MindChamps provides the full support by training their educators and staff in the MindChamps way and systems,” Mr Chiem noted.
Franchisees are supported through access to training, all of MindChamps proprietary research and unique programs including its reading programs and nutrition literacy programs.
What is your ultimate ambition when it comes to delivering early learning services?
Mr Chiem’s ultimate goal for MindChamps is to create “a global gold standard” for early learning.
“In society we often concentrate on our education later in life, when in fact, the building blocks of
this starts when we are very young,” he continued.
“Early education sets a foundation for learning fundamentals such as literacy and numeracy, however it is also the time when a child’s mindset is formed. This is the reason why we created a 3-mind education model, which encompasses the Champion, Learning and Creative mind attributes based on our, and others, research.”
“MindChamps is therefore more than an education organisation. We have broken down silos and synthesised our unique education model based on solid research from the four domains of Education, Psychology, Neuroscience and Theatre.”
“At MindChamps we know that when we prepare an infant today, we are really preparing them to be able to face the world in 20 years time.”
So what’s next for MindChamps?
For Mr Chiem, bringing MindChamps back home is now the key focus.
“Starting from Sydney, we are now going to grow the movement nationally throughout Australia and into New Zealand to bring the benefits of high quality education and our unique approach to as many families as possible.”
To learn more about MindChamps please see here.
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