In talks with Inspiring Leader, Jitendra Karsan, CEO Safari Kid

Being a great leader is more about what you do rather than what you know. A good leader is someone who has a futuristic vision & one who motivates his team to achieve the same. In recent years, Safari Kid International Preschool has been expanding its wings in the preschool & daycare industry under the experienced guidance of its CEO, Mr Jeetu Karsan. ProEves team had an opportunity to speak to him recently.

Tell us about your journey. How and when did you join Safari Kid ?

In my career of two decades, I have spearheaded several entrepreneurial ventures be it software, education or advertising, where I have helped position businesses in a sustainable and credible light. I started my first company at the age of 21 and then later went on to head the company operations for a leading advertising agency in India.

My association with Safari Kid began in 2013 where I spent about 2 years researching the pre-school and childcare ecosystem as well as how the Indian market works in this space. We launched our first pre-school in India back in 2015 and have since expanded to more than 10 centres across India.

Safari Kid is one of the most awarded preschool/daycare. What goes behind running a successful brand like this?

Safari Kid launched in 2005 with its first centre in California and in these years, it has become the fastest international chain of pre-schools with 40+ centres across 7 countries (USA, Canada, UK, UAE, India, Hong Kong and Malaysia). A reason of why over 10,000 children have joined Safari Kid is because of the personalised attention practiced in each of our centres. A primary reason for our award winning streak in India lies in the underlying belief that every child is different and has a unique learning curve. This helps us bring personalised curriculum based on their own skillsets and interest areas.

Safari Kid has also developed “Accelerated Learning Program” that has been developed over ten years in the Silicon Valley. The programs are also tailor made for each local market, for instance, our proprietary programs in Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish and other local languages give the right balance between a global and local approach.

As a CEO of a pre-school chain and as a father, I think it goes without saying that parents should feel secure about leaving their children at day care centres/pre-schools. Our primary goal has always been to take care of children and engage with them like how parents would. We treat safety and security very seriously. This is one area where I personally feel pre-schools and day-cares shouldn’t compromise on. Furthermore, the hygiene practices a pre-school follows should be of impeccable quality. Also, as pre-school owners, we should make sure that the staff we hire are trained with international best practices and that they are equipped to handle different types of children at large.

Tell us about the team?

Happy teachers = happy children!

Our teams are trained by Safari Kid’s international staff with 100+ hours on site training on the nuances of child behaviour, development and engagement. This is an initiative to ensure that our teachers and staff receive international best practices from our global trainers and are as adept as the teams in Hong Kong, California or London. We have over 100 teachers who have become a close knit, passionate community working towards making learning fun and interesting for children. We employ the best practices from classical European philosophies of MIT, Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Waldorf Steiner, and Eastern approaches, resulting in the most advanced early childhood program anywhere in the world.

Do you see Safari Kid emerging as one of the biggest brands in the country ? Or Safari Kid is an obvious choice for most of the corporates, tell us why?

For us being the biggest brand is not about opening more and more centres, we want to be the biggest or the best as far as quality of child care services are concerned. Our aim has always been to provide the highest quality of learning for children and help with their most important developmental years in their lives. Learning through play is a large component in our pedagogy and have since, helped more than 1500 children in their all-round development.

Considering our growth curve in the past 3 years, we aim to reach out to more children and parents for disruptive and fruitful experiences in the pre-school education space. More and more parents are opting to enrol their children into Safari Kid centres across Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Gurgaon, because of our teaching practices and unique approach of managing children based on their interest areas.

What is your vision & plans for Safari Kid in the coming year?

A lot of our centres have had more than 1000 footfalls on their launch days and continue to have a waitlist because of the trust parents have in our pedagogy and way to interact with their children. The parent community at Safari Kid is a very loyal and participating bunch. They are a part of all our initiatives like festivals, guest lecturing episodes, CSR activities, etc. and our plan in future is to strengthen this community in more cities in India with several more centres across each city. In 2019, we expect to open 10 more centres.

Your message to parents?

A parent always knows what’s best for their child, once they visit our centre naturally they enrol their child/children with us as they can see and feel the difference we provide. Today with more disposable income and increasingly number of mothers joining the workforce after childbirth, pre-schools and daycares are no longer a luxury or an option, but rather a necessity for parents today. In such a scenario, parents should look for safe, hygienic space for their children which prepares them to be global citizen and that is what Safari Kid imbibes as core requirements for children.

The daycare and pre-school industry is booming, with pre-school industry being roughly Rs. 3,500 crores in India. This has pushed for corporates to provide better schooling options for their employees’ children, as well as for service providers to upgrade their modules and curricula to accommodate more international practices for a child’s correct development.

Come explore the Safari Kid way of learning. Registrations open for  2018- 2019. Register here to book a tour today!!