meet our team

Meet the team behind Girotondo.

Hello from the girotondo team!

We are a small group of educators with different experience and backgrounds but with one main thing in common: a passion for education and drive for innovation. We look forward to meet you and tell you about ourselves and our vision.

Dr Elisa Forestan-Barnes
Founder and GENERAL Manager

I am a social scientist with extensive experience in academia and research. I have a passion for education as one of the most important factors affecting individuals’ development and opportunities in life. After getting a teaching diploma and working in a nursery for a few years in Italy, I ventured into a different path and studied sociology getting a Ba and MSc before getting into Oxford University, where I achieved my DPhil in sociology in 2010; my research interests have always revolved around social and educational inequalities and education policy, in particular education inequalities and the impact of social, cultural and economic resources on children’s educational attainment. After years working in higher education, lecturing on research related subjects, I decided to take some time off to rethink about my career. It was my daughter, who was 2 years old at the time and going to nursery, who got me to think about education approaches for young children and that was when I discovered the Reggio Emilia approach.

That changed everything for me and Girotondo was born, first as a plan mostly in my head and then as a preschool, with its own unique environment and enthusiastic educators ready to share their knowledge and passion into providing the best education for children.

Thing Thing Koh
SCHOOL Manager

After obtaining my first degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology, I decided to travel for a year in the USA. By chance, during volunteering sessions in a Montessori school in Seattle, I have found myself enjoying working with children, who, I felt, were teaching me more about life and the outside world than the other way around. That is how my journey working with children began. Since then, I have worked in early years education for over a decade over Malaysia, the USA and the UK. I have a broad range of practical experience using different educational approaches including the Multiple Intelligence and Montessori methods. These experiences have provided me with valuable insights into the diverse philosophies and approaches in early years education. As well as having a wealth of practical experience, I completed my Master’s degree in Early Years Education at the University College London in 2012.

I am a strong believer in maximising a child’s learning through play - play is the work of the child. Children have a natural curiosity and a sense of wonder for play and learn so let children be children and let them have control over their own learning.

I have two young children myself, which has only strengthened my view on children being born playful and needing time and space to develop. Their natural desire to engage with other people and the environment in which they live in is the founding philosophy here at girotondo pre-school.

Angelica Cervero'

Angelica is fresh from Chile, where she gained a Ba in early years studies and fell in love with the Reggio Emilia approach working in a pre school there. With her husband she recently decided to move to London and found our website browsing the web one day. Lucky for us, she agreed to join girotondo, enriching our curriculum with her creativity and passion and getting children to love their daily yoga session!

Marzia Lucente
Educator and senco coordinator

Marzia comes from Italy, where she gained her level 3 diploma in Early Years Education and decided to move to London a few years ago, working with children and gaining a wealth of experience as an educator. She is currently working with our 3 and 4 year old children, focusing on different projects and reading and writing skills. She is also our SENCO coordinator.

Amanda Adami

We have known Amanda for a few years now. She has been working in nurseries while studying for her Ba in childhood psychology and has been helping us at times while gaining her MSc. She is currently working on her dissertation and helping us at girotondo in the afternoons. Bubbly and approachable, she keeps all the children entertained with crafty activities and fun outings.

we'd love to hear from you

Dear prospective parent, thank you for taking an interest in our school.
We will be happy to show you around the school anytime, talk you through our approach and answer your questions. And if you'd like your child to attend, you can join our wait list.

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