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Bangkok Faces: Kelly Jones-Purves, Director of IPC Green International Pre-school

Your Name: Kelly Jones-Purves
Job Title: Director of IPC Green International Pre-school

What is your nationality and background?
I have both British and Thai nationalities as my mother is Thai and father, Welsh. I was born in Singapore, raised in Hong Kong and Bangkok, studied in Australia and now back in Thailand with my husband and daughter.

What is your profession?
I am the Director of IPC Green International Pre-school, Bangkok’s first green school.

What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?

My main responsibilities are to conduct campus tours, manage the overall operations of the campus, administrative management, parent liaisons, general admissions as well as supervising our Education Co-ordinator’s leadership. I also have to make sure the school environment is a positive and welcoming atmosphere for the staff, the parents and most importantly, the children. We are a green school, which means added social responsibilities including monitoring the overall consumption of non-biodegradable products, conscientious disposal and recycling as well as making sure the children are also understanding the same environmentally-conscious behaviours.

How did you get involved in your profession?

My husband and I had always had a passion for environmentalism, for renewable energy and we shared fearful concerns for the future world our daughter would have to live in. Especially in Southeast Asia, where Thailand is still in the early stages on scale of sustainability.

My daughter was attending IPC International Kindergarten, on Sukhumvit 31, now IPC Green’s sister school. It was Bangkok’s first international kindergarten and it was evident that it had 34 years of experience under its belt. I appreciated the story behind the founders and also the unmistakeable feeling of being in a family home.

Several years ago, I used to manage a small theatre school that taught children performance arts from singing and dancing to role playing and set designing. This is where I truly learnt that creativity and teamwork were valuable skills for early years development. Skills that, I think, are necessary for the future restoration of our planet.

These three elements of my life drove me to become a part of the amazing group of people that made IPC Green, come to light. I was lucky enough to be offered the job as Director by the founding team behind the IPC on Sukhumvit and now here I am, doing my best to honour their same philosophy as well as our childrens’ future on this planet.

How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children? 

On a more personal level, I think my role enhances the wellbeing of the children by making their school a home away from home. It is a strong belief of mine that fun, comfortable and nurturing environments are easier to learn in. To get through to a young child is to be in their world and to be in their world is to speak their language, which is, put quite simply, to play.
I also feel that thinking sustainably also triggers creativity in unexpected situations which is the kind of mindset I hope my role as the Director, will allow this school to enhance in these childrens’ minds.

What challenges do your face in this role?

There will always be challenges that we will learn to overcome each year, but a consistent one is to remain as eco-friendly as we can. We will never be able to be 100% environmentally friendly, but we can do our very best to set examples for the community. It irks me sometimes how Thailand can be a very liberal with their individually-wrapped straws!

What do you hope to achieve within your industry?

I hope that our school will help spread the concept of green education throughout Southeast Asia. The green initiative is not something we can do alone, it’s a community effort in order to make a real difference. I also want children to love coming to school, to not have fear of thinking outside of the box or standing out and being themselves. It’s this exact creative, unique and bold behaviour that will build the foundation for a better future.

Who or what inspires you?

This might sound silly, but when I was a little girl, my father met a children’s author who wrote a book called ‘The Last Nut’. His name was Gavin Coates and my father had asked him to sign the book for me. I was ecstatic as I had never had that before and I really loved the book and its artwork. The book was about the environment and the effects of the choices we make – do they eat the last nut on earth or do they plant it to grow more trees to save the over-developed world?
This book has never left my mind to this day and Gavin Coates has always been proof that you can help the future of this planet by getting through to the mentality of children.

Only a Bangkok local would know …

A great place I love to go for a nice coffee or cake is Flowerpot Café in Ramkhamhaeng 21. It’s a cozy and fairylike café that reminds me of The Secret Garden. You can sit in any nook, work on your laptop whilst enjoying the beautiful tropical surroundings.

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