Growing up in a big family with four siblings, and being surrounded by lively and vivacious young children, Ms Siti Nur Amalina had no lack of playmates during her childhood. She remembers balancing enrichment classes with playtime, which helped her to develop a multitude of skills in language, play and interpersonal communication.

These experiences sparked her passion for teaching and led her to pursue a career in early childhood education. A pre-school teacher at PCF Sparkletots — the largest pre-school operator here—for five years now, the 27-year-old continues to be inspired by the joy and fulfilling rewards of being an educator.

How did your teaching journey begin and how do you keep up?

Having been brought up in a large family with other children, I saw how important early childhood education is in building the foundation of a child’s life. Some of my older relatives who did not have the opportunity to attend pre-school grew up facing challenges in reading, writing and speaking. I realised then that educating children from a young age is important in preparing them for the future.

I’m fortunate that my pre-school centre principal has been supportive of my learning journey.When I wanted to learn more about infant care, I was offered the chance to take up the Advanced Certificate in Early Years (ACEY) top-up course. I was also given the opportunity to attend a three-day Mentoring Novice Teachers course where I learnt how to best coordinate, mentor and evaluate a teacher’s progress to help foster a culture of continuous learning in the centre. 

How do you engage young children in the classroom?

I keep my classroom interactive with games and activities, so the children get to collaborate and exchange ideas with one another regardless of their learning abilities. One of the students in my class has autism and I always go the extra mile to adjust my curriculum so that he is able to participate in all classroom activities. No one should be left behind. More importantly, I believe that teaching should not be about moulding the child into who we want them to be; our job is merely to facilitate and help them become who they want to be. What pushes you to be better for the children? As a pre-school teacher, I often have kids coming up to me to give me hugs and show me love. I have a classroom that is always filled with the laughter and chatter of inquisitive children with a million questions about what they have just learnt or are curious about. My love for them motivates me to be better and encourages me to impart as much knowledge as I can to them.