Setting Path to the Early Vision of Childhood Education – Footsteps Preschool, Razana Muzni, Fazra Irfan, and Hasna Maharoof

Footsteps Preschool has built a solid foundation on the dedicated professionalism of its visionaries, Razana Muzni, Fazra Irfan, and Hasna Maharoof. With the goal of providing excellent service, all three of the school’s leaders have studied the fundamentals of learning, gained invaluable experience, and has reached a level of incomparable excellence in the field, ensuring Footsteps Preschool’s bright future.

Razana Muzni identified herself as a blessed mother, a dedicated educator, a resilient trainer and an empathetic counsellor. Beginning her career as a trainee teacher at Crescent Schools International in 1998, she has worked in many prestigious international schools such as Gateway International School and American International School accumulating over 20 years of valuable experience. Razana began as an apprentice under the tutelage of education stalwart Mr. R.I.T. Alles, who mentored and inspired her and following on an inspirational career journey has now established herself as an inspiration to many other aspiring educators notably gaining recognition as the first Kindergarten teacher to be nominated for the prestigious Varkey Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015 in Dubai.

As Razana travelled to Dubai in late 2007 to work as a Teacher/Team Leader at the prestigious GEMS Education group’s renowned Al Khaleej International School, she emphasizes that her experience there vastly enhanced her competencies and enriched her management skills. Following her dedication to her profession, she was chosen to coach trainers and be the focal point during the Dubai Schools Inspection visits by the government’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). This was also an opportunity for her to learn world-class concepts, systems, and practices in modern educational methods.

As a result of this experience, Razana met Fazra Irfan, another inspiring educator and employee of GEMS Al Khaleej. Fazra, a professionally qualified educational leader n early childhood instruction, grew up with the ambition to become an outstanding educator. She now has over 15 years of experience and a proven outstanding track record as an exceptional educator at Al Khaleej International School Dubai, making her ambition a reality. As Fazra reflects on her journey thus far, she is overcome with genuine joy at having had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with fellow educators from around the world, which eventually led to the establishment of Footsteps.

“I was and I am privileged to be presented with the unique opportunity to change a child’s life forever. I’m one of those few teachers who never gives up and connects with them on a real personal level. Personally, it’s the sense of fulfilment I get seeing my ideas materialize. I am a mother of three boys and a wife in love. Striking that balance between work and family, I believe is key to success. “

As a collaborative effort of Razana and Fazra, they gave birth to the organization with the hope of taking their empathy and professionalism a step further. As Razana claims, today’s parents are challenged with an array of choices when it comes to preschool for their children, and selecting the right fit can be cumbersome. 

“Too often, parents had to depend on the meagre choices that were widespread and offered little in terms of professional, well-equipped, and modern facilities. Having recognized this dire need, we decided that something had to be done to fill the void that was prevailing. So, together with my friend Fazra, who was also a Team Leader at Al Khaleej, Dubai, we started planning out our preschool project. Following all the preliminary steps, we decided to come back to Sri Lanka and, together with our spouses and partners, launch our dream venture, and it was an instant success. We have grown from six children when we started to, well over one hundred and seventy at present, with an ever-increasing demand. “

The essence of the school truly lies in the passion these ladies shared for good education, which began with humble beginnings and genuinely generous thought. Believing that a young child’s social and emotional well-being, confidence, and ability to accept and be accepted are all important aspects of well-rounded childhood education, Footsteps was founded with the intention of instilling these qualities in children as early as possible. As Razana regards this thought as the organization’s backbone, she continues to emphasize the unique perspective of establishing footsteps.

“At Footsteps, we consider every child as unique. A sound education is not only one that focuses solely on academics but one that is holistic and focuses on the child’s overall physical and mental development.”

The preschool recruits the best available talent in the field and equips them with additional training, support, and encouragement to reach their true potential as educators of the future, while maintaining a very healthy student to tutor ratio. They have adopted the EYFS, Early Years Foundation Syllabus from the United Kingdom as their core curriculum, which has resulted in a lot of positive feedback from parents, proving to be a testament to the policies and procedures Footsteps embraces.

The third visionary of Footsteps, Hasna Maharoof identify herself as an empathetic soul who has professionally vowed to serve her best and takes great pride in assisting our country’s younger generation to receive the education they deserve. Hasna, a qualified Early Years educator with a Special Education specialization, describes Footsteps Preschool as a dream come true because her goal continues to be to provide ‘inclusive education’ which is encouraged highly within Footsteps and is considered instrumental in changing discriminatory attitudes in our society.

“As an educator, I have a responsibility to create a safe and healthy environment in my classroom. Bullying can have harmful and long-lasting consequences for children, and it is so important for all parents and teachers to pay very close attention to what children are saying, or not saying. We have to teach them kindness, and that can only be done through role modelling the behaviour ourselves.”

The perfect balance of academics and morals is the key to any good education. The path to bringing out exceptional individualism that will one day cater to the growth of society is unquestionably ensured in Footsteps pre-school. The organization ensures that dealing with the many relationships surrounding a child’s growth always takes a human perspective. That is to say, Footsteps has taken appropriate measures to always deliver the best results while maintaining a network of trust and empathy with both the children and their parents. Fazra expresses gratitude for the trust that parents place in Footsteps as she claims her strong belief in the importance of such trust.

“Parents leave their most valuable possession with us—their children. We understand this and work towards making the place safe and comfortable for them. It’s common for parents to have issues at school. Some problems are minor, and some are more complicated or long-lasting. However, all issues can be solved through dialogue and positive communication. “

Because positive reinforcement and communication are highly encouraged in the Footsteps-inclusive learning environment, originality and creativity are also prioritized as key characteristics of development. Hasna, who is skilled in the art of designing and delivering the best-planned lesson structures, believes that a perfect balance is essential for a child’s healthy development.

“As teachers, one must make sure that all students in the class are engaged and interactive teaching methods are utilized. Creativity is key. Creativity lets imagination run wild, and there are no boundaries to imagination. Furthermore, students tend to be more active and attentive in classes where they know the teacher cares for them. Such teachers can change the game and are given an important place in a student’s mind.”

With a well-thought-out system in place to provide the best for their students, Footsteps’ three leading visionaries look forward to expanding their organization’s positive reputation. Taking their next step as a preschool that is changing the course of early education, Footsteps is destined to be distinguished as it will continue to ensure the motive of creating a healthy learning environment is in sync with their future goals. 

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