“I am mad about children!” Toddlers, pre-schoolers, teenagers, and everything in-between and beyond! This is why I went into Education.
From 5 years old I already knew that teaching was my calling. I thoroughly examined each teacher in every class and created a vision of all the good qualities I would adopt. I also noted the bad traits that upset me and which I vowed to avoid at all costs.
My educational journey
My teaching career has been one BIG adventure; I have learned, I have discovered, I have fulfilled my God-given passion for education and I’ve been able to hug my way through every day!
After having taught Grades 1 to 3 for seven years, I saw a gap in Education for a solid foundation to be laid before a child entered formal education. I’ve always believed that knowledge can never be given, it has to be built on a strong foundation.
We live in a diverse country; every child comes from a different background with unique knowledge, experiences, strengths, and talents. I believe that the 21st century calls for a ‘new’ type of Education that identifies the different intelligences and natural learning styles of each child. I have instinctively taught in this way since 1964.
Fifty-two years ago I would not have consciously put a name to the specific intelligence I identified in each child, but it came naturally to teach in groups according to ability and preferred way of learning. I would tailor-make lesson content and adapt my teaching style to cater to the different personalities.
The eight intelligences
It is interesting to note that every person possesses all eight Intelligences, but some are more prominent than others. According to Howard Gardner they are Creative, Mathematical, Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinaesthetic, Musical, Naturalist, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal. Many people believe that Common Sense falls within the Logical-Mathematical intelligence, but I have found it to be a stand-alone gift. I have also found that Entrepreneurship is an inherent intelligence as is ADD.
In the early ’70s there were very few Nursery Schools in Durban, South Africa. I saw the gap and in 1972 founded the first privately owned Pre-Primary School. I visualised a place where children would learn by doing and looking with wonder and awe and the name ‘Wonderland’ was born. As far as I know, this was the first registered Pre-School of its kind.
As the years progressed I founded other institutions namely; Wonderland Baby Care, Embury College Primary, Embury College High School, and Embury Institute for Teacher Education. A mother could drop off her three-month-old baby and many years later attend their graduation as a qualified teacher with a four-year Bachelor of Education Degree.
I have raised three children of my own and am the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren. I am a strong believer in the saying “Love conquers all”, which was the motto of all of my schools.
I was fortunate enough to use my life experiences in the field of Education in my Ph.D. thesis, An Ordinary Teacher; An Autoethnography. I went on to publish my autobiography, An Ordinary Teacher, which highlights the fulfillment of my passion for children and teaching.
Dr Edwina Grossi is not simply an educationist. She is a woman impassioned by her desire to help young people realise their full, unique potential. At the core of her teachings is the fundamental principle that each child has the ability and a contribution to make to wider society. It is the role of the teacher to uncover the special skills inherent in each boy and girl and nurture them into full flowers.
Despite the demands of her overlapping careers as head of the Embury Group, academic researcher, writer, and artist, Grossi has never outgrown the enchanted world of childhood. That is what distinguishes her from many others in her field. She remembers all the wonder and beauty of youthful innocence, and the hunger children feel to learn and achieve recognition for their efforts.Vivian Attwood (Sunday Tribune Editor and Editor of An Ordinary Teacher)
I might be a grandmother and long in the tooth, but my passion for the well-being of children and their education still burns brightly within.
My dream for this blog is to impart some of the knowledge I have gained throughout my teaching and mentoring years to parents, educators, au-pairs or anyone who works with children. More about me.