THESE days, parents are more aware of the impact that a good pre-school education has on their child’s early cognitive development.

 

Ms Yvonne Yong, 35, a preschool teacher at PCF Sparkletots @ Bishan North Blk 257, says: “Childcare routines are as much a part of a child’s learning as the academic programme itself.

 

“From the moment a toddler is enrolled in our centre until he graduates in K2, we help him to pick up self-help skills and become independent.”

 

She adds: “It fills me with pride when my students are able to clean their own space after a meal, dress themselves and put away their things quickly.”

 

Ms Yong is one of the 16,000 pre-school educators in Singapore. With the much-anticipated opening of the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC) next year and salary increases for early childhood education jobs, the booming sector is expected to need about 4,000 more preschool teachers by 2020.

 

After joining PCF Sparkletots as a school administrator in 2012, Ms Yong was impressed by the nurturing and professional teaching staff. This motivated her to make a career switch to become a teacher instead.

 

With the full support of her Executive Principal, she took eight months off work in 2016 and enrolled in an accelerated diploma course — the Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education (Kindergarten Teaching) from Singapore Polytechnic — that same year.

 

After graduating, she became a qualified pre-school teacher in January last year.

 

 Unique contributions

The supportive environment at PCF Sparkletots empowers Ms Yong to launch projects that allow parents to play a more active role in their children’s education.

 

Tapping her love for science and technology, she introduced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) projects during her lessons to foster interest in the subject.

 

Together with her colleagues, she launched a Facebook page, where parents can watch videos of their children participating in class projects and events and interact with the teachers.

 

“Early childhood education teachers definitely enjoy more opportunities now. Parents and organisations alike now demand a higher standard of preschool education — so teachers who give good input on how the quality of programmes can be improved will be valued,” explains Ms Yong.

 

“Currently, I strive to make a difference in the centre that I work in by contributing good suggestions to improve the learning experience for the children and parents.”

 

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