Shanam Saini, founder of the Windsor Preschool Academy, was publicly acknowledged for her hard work Sept. 7 at the annual Sunnyvale State of the City event when she was named Sunnyvale’s 2013 ‘Businessperson of the Year’.
Saini, born in India, who has lived most of her life in and around Silicon Valley, first became interested in early childhood education while studying developmental neuroscience at UC Berkeley. Originally considering medical school, she spent time researching at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.
At the institute, she was quickly struck by the divide between what researchers were discovering in academia, and what the educational system was actually putting into practice.
“Researchers know so much about how the young mind develops, but so little of this knowledge is directly used by teachers to develop school curriculums,” explained Saini. The Indian American entrepreneur realized that the best way for her to make an impact was to found a school that embodied these principles. In 2008, with her family’s support, Windsor Preschool Academy officially opened its doors.
Although Windsor’s success was founded on its cutting-edge curriculum, the school features a curriculum that changes based on the interests of the students, field trips to businesses and locations around Sunnyvale, guest speakers, and an emphasis on learning other languages, according to a press release.
“It is much easier for someone to learn Mandarin, for example, when they are still young,” explained Saini.