By: Lynda Gomez
Today, there is considerable competition in the educational services market. Alongside numerous state preschool institutions, private kindergartens and child development centers are emerging. Often, these are opened by young mothers dissatisfied with the quality of the educational process in municipal childcare facilities. As it is well-known, the first years of a child’s life serve as the foundation for their future development and the formation of knowledge, skills, and abilities. This is precisely why there is a demand for child development centers. A successful entrepreneur from Kazakhstan, the founder and director of the “Allem” American Educational Development Center, Gaukhar Urazgaliyeva, confidently occupies her niche in the educational services market. We asked her how the idea of starting a business in a segment where she wasn’t initially a specialist came about, how she manages to balance her career and family, and inquired about her plans for the future.
Gaukhar, how did the idea of opening a children’s educational center come about?
When my first daughter was born, I actively engaged with her using various early development methods. Even then, thoughts about creating my own center, which would help parents save time and allow children to develop in multiple directions simultaneously, began to take shape in my mind. This idea was worked on for several years because I needed to find something that was not yet present in the preschool education market. Dreams began to turn into plans after the birth of my second daughter, and after some time, the work on creating the “Allem” center began.
In recent times, there has been a proliferation of private kindergartens and development centers. Were you not afraid of competition when opening your center?
Indeed, statistics show that both state and private preschool institutions are growing rapidly. This is due to the increasing number of children every year. Currently, only in Astana, there are around 500 municipal kindergartens and about 200 educational centers. However, this did not frighten me at all when I opened my business, as the issue of a shortage of places remains relevant in Kazakhstan. I generally view competition positively. It only encourages us to develop and become better.
What sets your center apart from others?
The main distinction of “Allem” from other preschool educational institutions lies in its teaching methodology and individualized approach. In our center, children engage in activities either individually or in small groups. Separate schedules and programs are created for each child or group, initially chosen by the parents. All of this makes us unique and distinguishes us from competitors.
Tell us about your teaching methodology for children.
Our methodology follows the American education system and is unique. It focuses on learning a new language, instilling a love for learning, and fostering a passion for reading books. Through a carefully crafted curriculum and activities in music, choreography, drawing, and sports, our educators bring out the positive qualities, intelligence, and creative abilities of our students.
What opportunities do children who attend the “Allem” center have, and how many children have you educated in the 5 years of operation?
The level of preparation enables children to easily enroll in the most prestigious schools in Kazakhstan and abroad. Over the course of our center’s operation, we have educated more than 400 children, receiving an equal number of positive reviews from grateful parents.
One aspect of the teaching methodology at “Allem” is instilling a love for reading books. Although it’s rare to find adults who read them today, why is it important for you?
To acquire new knowledge, our children increasingly use the internet. According to discouraging sociological data, we are witnessing the rise of a second generation of children who manage without books. With the advancement of new technologies, libraries are fading away, but it shouldn’t be so. A nation of readers is not only a country’s cultural heritage but also a necessary condition for breakthroughs in economic development. Personally, I love reading books and make it a point to allocate time for it. I enjoy reading books to children, especially illustrated ones. I’ve even established my own English children’s library in Kazakhstan and the first English children’s reading club.
Where do you find the time and energy to be a good mother, wife, and a successful businesswoman at the same time?
I believe that each of us has a mission in this life, and I strive to follow the path that the Almighty has set for me. He is the inexhaustible source of my strength and inner energy, enabling me to draw inspiration and motivation not only from my family and loved ones but primarily from within myself. With His help, I can achieve my goals and be successful in both business and family life. I think that is the key to my success.
I am also immensely grateful to my husband, Aidos, for his tremendous support, to my daughters and son who encourage me to move forward, and to my parents and my spouse’s parents, as well as my dear sisters.
I love my family, my children, and what I create.
Gaukhar, do you have strategic plans for the coming years?
I plan to conduct research in the field of preschool education in Kazakhstan and implement the program in all educational centers. I also want to introduce an improved American education methodology developed by me into state libraries and schools. In my plans, I aim to open similar educational creative centers in the United States and increase the number of libraries in each state. Everything behind this will serve the interests of America and undoubtedly bring benefits of national significance.
From the editorial team: We thank Gaukhar Urazgaliyeva for the interesting conversation and sincerely wish her success in realizing all her ideas and plans.