AFTER working with the SAF women’s military police for three years, Ms Tan Hway Lui decided she wanted a career change. She zeroed in on the early childhood industry as she realised her passion lay in working with young children.

 

She explains: “When I was young, my parents were busy working in a farm. Being the eldest child, I was placed in charge of looking after my younger siblings and this gave me a certain sense of satisfaction.

 

“Children are very innocent— with a smile and praise, they will be very happy.

 

An enriching experience

Today, Ms Tan, 63, is the senior Chinese language teacher at Kinderland Preschool @ Yio Chu Kang. With her years of experience, Ms Tan mentors new educators in teaching strategies and enhancing communication with parents. She is also the Chinese curriculum coordinator for the centre, overseeing the implementation of the curriculum in the pre-school.

 

When she started in the industry, her initial impression of the role of an early childhood educator was that one sat alongside the children while they did their activity sheets.

 

After getting a basic certificate in teaching, she started working with tots in a pre-school. In a bid to better herself, Ms Tan went on to pursue the Diploma in Early Childhood and Teaching.

 

She says: “Children are full of imagination. Whenever I interact with them, I always find myself surprised. I often get new ideas from them to create new strategies in teaching.”

 

She relates the memorable experience of helping an autistic student who required a lot of attention. Working with parents and psychologists, the child improved tremendously.

 

Ms Tan says: “The child tended to get emotional whenever he didn’t manage to get a task done correctly. I would spend time and praise him saying, ‘you are a good boy’ or ‘you did well’. That would calm him down and allowed him to continue working on his task.

 

“Throughout his pre-school year, there was an improvement in his self-help skills and communication with adults. I was happy that I played a part in the child’s learning journey.”

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