Our School

Principal’s Welcome

Welcome Message

Welcome to EtonHouse E-Maison International Pre-School

Dear Families,

Welcome to EtonHouse E-Maison International Pre-School Thao Dien. I am delighted to be leading a school that is committed to a play-based approach to learning. This is only made possible with our passionate and dedicated teaching team who align their practices with the philosophy of a child-centered curriculum.

As a true international setting, our families represent 20 different nationalities with our children and teachers coming from diverse backgrounds. We bring with us our own experiences and cultures which are embraced and shared with respect.

EtonHouse E-Maison International Pre-School Thao Dien is a Reggio-inspired school which holds the Image of the Child at the core of all decision-making. We view children as capable, competent and leaders in their own learning. With us upholding this image of the child, it will lead us to “give them the recognition of their rights and of their strengths” (Malaguzzi). Our children co-construct knowledge and understanding of their world as researchers alongside our teachers. Learning further occurs through collaborative conversations and respectful relationships between our teachers, children, parents and the environment, who all form part of our learning community. 

EtonHouse E-Maison International Pre-School was founded in 2016 with the dream of our founder, Ms Ann Low, who believed:  “Everything that you can imagine you can do … and whatever you dream will come true!” (Martin Luther King). Her dream is true for our children as they work in an environment that allows them to explore their ideas, thoughts and feelings, and realize their potential as global citizens of the present and future. 

Our environment, referred to as the 3rd teacher, is inclusive where children negotiate and interact respectfully and reciprocally. Our Reggio-inspired classrooms create a sense of awe and wonder where children have the freedom to explore their spaces as inquirers, thinkers and learners. Our outdoors environment, designed FOR children, allows a safe space for children to take risks and work with nature. 

You are invited to explore our spaces and discover the joy of learning through play. I welcome you to EtonHouse E-Maison International Pre-School.


Ms Kirsty van der Westhuizen


Kirsty van der Westhuizen has been involved in International Education for over 20 years in South Africa, Botswana, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Kirsty has worked in schools with the IB programme and Reggio Emilia approach as a music specialist teacher, PYP curriculum coordinator and Principal. She has led teachers and schools through the PYP and CIS accreditation process and implemented whole-school literacy programmes as a certified literacy intervention trainer. 

Kirsty’s true passions lie with inquiry and play-based education, as inventing is the ‘play’ of adults essentially. She believes that we as educators are co-parenting with our families, which is only successful through reciprocal and respectful relationships, a core element of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. 

She is a firm believer that we as adults need to trust children to reach the next developmental milestone when they are ready. Children are communicators from the time they are born and we need to ‘listen’ in a variety of ways to facilitate their learning and development. 

Kirsty is looking forward to the collaborative conversations with our families and making these years a positive and enriching experience for our children. 


“Our job is too difficult and too beautiful to be done alone” – Amelia Gambetti  

(Reggio Emilia 2015)

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