Meet Our Academic Principal

“Early Childhood is not a rehearsal, it won’t come back.”
Dr. Maria-Christina J. A. Weemaes-Lidman
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Dr. Maria-Christina J. A. Weemaes-Lidman

Academic Principal

Dr. Lidman is an internationally recognised advocate of holistic education with 20 years of early childhood education experience in Hong Kong. As a teacher, curriculum coordinator, vice-principal and principal, Dr. Lidman has implemented International Baccalaureate, International Primary Curriculum, Montessori, Waldorf, Nature Education and Reggio Emilia philosophies in school curricula. Dr. Lidman is a qualified Montessori teacher (Early Childhood, Lower Primary and Upper Primary) and holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Management.

 

Prior to founding UCM, Dr. Lidman was principal of the Hong Kong Adventist Academy Kindergarten and a PGDE lecturer in early childhood at Hong Kong Baptist University. Dr. Lidman has been a keynote speaker at all five International Conferences in Early Childhood Education. Dr. Lidman is a member of the Asia Pacfiic Regional Network for Early Childhood and Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association.

Holistic education is educating the whole child. The Head (thinking skills, academics), the Heart (character education, emotions) and the Hands (actions, behaviour), all three will need to be engaged for true education.

Offering a holistic curriculum is based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world and to empathetic values such as compassion and peace. Holistic education respects and facilitates diverse learning styles in response to the needs of evolving human beings. Students learn about nature, respect and admiration for life and a passion for learning through direct engagement with the environment.

Children need a holistic educational experience that does not create artificial boundaries between the different aspects of their development. Learning must respond to children’s current and future personal needs, their future career needs, and the needs of the wide-ranging societies and cultural groups in which they are likely to play a part in. Learning needs to be active, in the sense that children must engage with their own learning. For young children, this means that learning, which is relevant to the future, must be placed in a context that is meaningful to their present lives.

At UCM, we nurture our young learners by offering a solid academic foundation in combination with character education, permeated by resilience and respect, to achieve personal excellence. We equip our pre-primary students with 21st-century skills to embrace challenges with creativity and confidence in preparation to become tomorrow’s global citizens and future leaders.

Children deserve the best possible start in life. UCM teachers honour holistic education by offering their students opportunities to think independently, to cultivate and find ways of practicing caring relationships, to act as role models for character education; they strive to provide quality play, to instill and embed spirituality in daily classroom practice, to nurture creativity and innovation, to become ambassadors for environmental sustainability and to demonstrate through their daily actions the meaning of democracy.

UCM’s holistic enquiry-based curriculum encompasses research-based teaching methods, promotes brain-friendly learning, acknowledges multiple intelligences and applies a variety of teaching styles to address the needs of a diverse student population with individual learning styles involving visual, auditory and tactile learners.