MindChamps believes that by staying true to its DNA and not being tempted into short-term decision making for the past decade has helped establish its dominance in Singapore's preschool sector, that's according to Michelle Peh, its chief brand officer.
The premium preschool operator began life in 2008 after Vietnam-born actor David Chiem wanted to disrupt the education model and create a place for children to learn the craft of how to learn, instead of being told what to learn.
MindChamps has since built 39 preschools in Singapore, allowing it to gain 38.5% of the preschool market in Singapore, with the help of a more than $12m investment from Singapore Press Holdings in 2014. SPH currently holds a 26.84% stake in MindChamps.
“When a decision is wrongly made without proper planning, it shakes the energy of our entire force,” Peh tells The Drum.
“As David mentioned before when we first started out, it was so important and key to our vision that we focused on clinching pole position in Singapore's preschool sector, particularly among premium brands, before even venturing overseas.”
“That is why as a result, this discipline and focus that we adopted as an organization has led us to become who we are today.”
Explaining why Chiem chose to headquarter MindChamps in Singapore, Peh points out Singapore is rated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as having the best education system in the world.
She notes the MindChamps pedagogy, which has proven a success by gaining the number one brand position in such a competitive market.
“Singapore is also known for its [business] transparency, and this has certainly helped us build up a dynamic company culture of integrity which is one of our company values,” says Peh.
“We are in the perfect position as the gateway to both the East and the West. This has allowed us to create a brand that is easily accepted in both Eastern and Western countries as we expand globally throughout not only Asia but later into UK and US.”
MindChamps focuses its education model around three pillars, which it calls the Champion Mind, Learning Mind and Creative Mind. The model involves pulling together the latest research from neuroscience, educational psychology, mindset formation and Chiem’s own background in theater.
It claimed the way it delivers its curriculum stands the school apart from its competitors because it requires its teachers to undergo up to 200 hours of on-going professional training and accreditation, regardless of prior qualifications and experience.
“MindChamps has on our world research, advisory and education team, highly acclaimed leaders in their respective fields of neuroscience, child psychology, theater and education, including professor Allan Snyder, a neuroscientist who is also a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society,” says Peh.
“The team is constantly upgrading the curriculum to ensure that our students are prepared for a future which no one can accurately predict.”
Peh explains this is important because there is an urgent need to adopt a new educational approach during the early years of a child’s education. One element of such an approach lies in the ability to think like a champion, as nurturing such a mindset in children will effectively ‘future-skill’ them for the world of 2038 and beyond.
She adds that this will allow children to succeed in a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming an everyday reality.
“MindChamps' mission is “To build a world of Mind Champions who possess the 'three minds' - Champion, Learning and Creative Minds - and are empowered with the mindset of 100% respect and zero fear,” she says.
“For almost two decades, professor Snyder has worked closely with the MindChamps team, preparing to bring its breakthrough Three Minds Movement to the world.”
The preschool market its Three-Mind education model to target an audience of parents through channels such as EDMs, banners, editorials, product listings and newsletters with media partners that target parents.
It buys ads in publications such as Sassy Mama, Young Parents, Little Day Out, Kiasu Parents, New Age Parents, Expat Living, Rise and Shine and Serious About Preschool.
It also engages its audience on its channels on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
“Besides reaching out through targeted channels, we are very blessed as MindChamps has proven to be able to deliver beyond what is expected in the preschool industry with our cutting-edge software (pedagogies), this has also resulted in very good referrals by strong word of mouth,” explains Peh.
Beyond Singapore, MindChamps also operates in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Malaysia. However, Peh says the operator’s focus at the moment is on Australia, which holds a special place in Chiem’s heart as he was granted asylum in the country after fleeing Vietnam.
MindChamps opened its first location in Sydney after forming a research team in 1998. Today, it operates 20 early learning and preschool centers in Sydney.
“Having operated and studied the market, we can say that we understand the market pretty well, and are confident of seizing the number one brand position there,” explains Peh.
“As for our long-term plans, in the pipeline are markets like the UK and the US, where we have world research, advisory and education team who are from those regions and know the education landscape and market there well.”
The MindChamps story has been turned in to a case study published in a book called “The MindChamps Way” by Dr Joseph Michelli, who wrote Mercedes-Benz (Driven to Delight), Starbucks (Leading the Starbucks Way), and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company (The New Gold Standard), which analyses the strategies and unique qualities of legacy organizations.