MS DOREEN Lim Yen Lee’s passion for working with children has kept her going for more than two decades in the early childhood education industry.


The lead centre principal of PCF Sparkletots @ Cashew firmly believes that good teachers together with quality early childhood education are essential to build a strong learning foundation for children.


“Passionate and dedicated teachers can make a difference to the young ones under their charge, by making sure that they are given a good headstart and opportunities to learn.


“I love seeing the joy on children’s faces when they are happy and meaningfully engaged in activities,” the 45-year-old says.


Ensuring quality education

As principal, Ms Lim ensures that the centre operates smoothly and delivers a quality programme that meets regulatory quality standards.


Every day, she conducts “walkabouts” around the centre, taking time to interact with different groups of children and teachers and giving the latter constructive feedback on their teaching methods and how they manage the children.


Ms Lim, who has a Bachelor of Arts (Childhood and Family Education) degree from Edith Cowan University also trains and mentors teachers to take on more senior job roles and responsibilities.


She monitors and evaluates teachers’ lesson plans to ensure that they are suited to the children’s learning needs and holistic development. She also conducts regular meetings with them to evaluate their teaching and learning practices.


At PCF Sparkletots, teachers and staff are trained to be attentive and vigilant at all times to ensure the safety of all the children under their charge, she says.


The pre-school, located at Hillion Mall and with a capacity of 287 children, and provides ample space for them to move around and play. Teachers need to ensure that the children are well supervised, especially when they are moving from one classroom to another.


“For instance, when the children move from the classroom to the washroom, we keep them occupied by making them ‘swim like a fish’ or ‘walk like a bear’. Through such activities, we ensure that the children are engaged in group activities and work as a team,” she explains.


Opportunities to grow

The increase in professional development opportunities for the teachers in early childhood education reflects how the sector has grown, observes Ms Lim.


Furthermore, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s focus on the pre-school sector in his recent National Day Rally speech and the establishment of the National Institute of Early Childhood Development, it is a good time to consider career opportunities in this industry.


“The early childhood education landscape is vibrant and exciting. There are different training pathways, study awards and professional development programmes for teachers and leaders,” she says.


PCF Sparkletots believes in the professional development of its teachers and leaders. As the largest pre-school operator and employer in Singapore today, it provides ample opportunities for those who want a career in early childhood education.


Educators can choose to build their capabilities by specializing in niche areas of teaching and learning, such as music and movement, the arts and creative expression. There are also multiple, structured pathways for career advancement and growth. Teachers have the opportunity to lead and take on various responsibilities — from becoming centre principals like Ms Lim to human resource roles.


They have the chance to attend conferences and training stints at international schools both in Singapore and overseas as well.


Ms Lim herself participated in an overseas learning journey to Orlando in the United States in 2011. There, she attended the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference where she learned about and shared good practices of working with young children.


She says: “Throughout my years of working in PCF Sparkletots, I have been given opportunities to learn and hone my professional knowledge and leadership skills.


“In this job, it is essential to have good people skills, a positive attitude and to be adaptable and effective both as a team member and individual contributor.


“We need to be willing to learn and always work towards achieving positive outcomes for the children’s learning, growth and development.”


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