Ensuring smooth operation at PCF Sparkletots @ Punggol West Blk 222 is a daily challenge for centre principal Uma Devi Veeraya. She works with her team of dedicated teachers to ensure that all 169 children are well taken care of.

Even though the 43-year-old has been in the Early Childhood Education industry for 26 years, she is still learning from the little ones. They never cease to inspire her, she says.

Ms Veeraya believes that when there is passion in your work, a love for young children and a desire to help them realise their potential, you will excel in this industry.

“One of the most important attributes as a leader is the ability to empathise. With that, you can build and lead a successful team,” she says.

She shares five things that educators — and adults alike — can learn from children.

1. Start each day afresh

“For children, a new day means fresh opportunities to make more friends, and experience and learn new things. They don’t hold on to their sadness and anger for long, unlike adults.”

2. Stay curious

“Children are naturally inquisitive and eager to learn. They are not afraid to ask questions, try new things or do things differently. Adults, on the other hand, tend to refrain from taking risks or asking questions, which limits new experiences and hinders learning. I often encourage my staff and children to ask questions and explore alternative methods to complete their tasks to enhance their learning and development.”

3. Be enthusiastic

“Kids are always happy and excited, even over simple activities. Adults should adopt the same enthusiasm in life, so that happiness will follow.”

4. Find joy in everything

“Children perceive the world to be beautiful as it is filled with their imagination. They have the ability to find joy around them and their positivity rubs off on you when you spend time with them.”

5. Seize the moment

“Once, I noticed a child taking longer than usual to finish his lunch. When asked if he liked the food, he nodded and said, ‘I am eating it slowly because it is yummy!’ This made me realise that we should slow down and take the time to enjoy the little moments instead of rushing through them.”