It takes a special person to plant the first seeds in precocious young minds. Fortunately for Siti Khaddijah Binte Ismail, 26, the four-and-the-half years that she has been with My First Skool (MFS) - the pioneer childcare arm of NTUC First Campus – has afforded her the experience in honing both passion and technical skills as an educator.
After graduating with a diploma in Applied Food Science & Nutrition from Temasek Polytechnic, she signed up for the Trainee Teacher programme with NTUC First Campus. Under the fully sponsored scheme, Khaddijah enrolled in the WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care & Education that ran for 15 months at SEED Institute. During her diploma studies, she was attached to an MFS centre where she would undergo on-the-job training twice a week.
Siti Khaddijah Binte Ismail
“Different children have different needs and are very individualised, so when we conduct our lessons, we try to cater to their needs.”
She found the work-study programme useful as she was able to actively apply the academic lessons into the classroom in her practicum days. “We are equipped with the skills needed to conduct the lessons and familiarise ourselves with the routine at the centre.”
The structured career pathways for educators designed by NTUC First Campus, which include mentoring programmes and on-going training, supplemented the theoretical curriculum she was learning. “When I was a Trainee Teacher at my assigned MFS centre in Bedok, I was shadowing the main teacher in the classroom and assisting the kids in their work.”
With more than 20 children under her care now, handling all of them at once can be a handful. This is where she sees her skills come in handy in managing them.
“The early childhood diploma trained my abilities in conducting and planning meaningful and interesting lessons,” she explains. “Different children have different needs and are very individualised, so when we conduct our lessons, we try to cater to their needs.”
She credits the support and teamwork from her colleagues at the centre for making her career such a fulfilling one. “My colleagues are easy going and respectful team players,” she says. “We know the challenges and share our workload and expertise willingly.”
Her parting advice was sage. “It is more than just loving children. I stick to these P-values – patience, perseverance and passion,” she says. “Loving children and engaging them is one thing, but passion for educating will sustain you.”