About ECDA Fellows
The ECDA Fellows programme is one of ECDA’s key initiatives to recognise pinnacle leaders in the early childhood profession and expand opportunities for these leaders to further develop their careers and to fulfil their aspirations.
The ECDA Fellows are a select group of exemplary early childhood professionals with high levels of leadership and professional expertise. They work closely with ECDA to drive quality improvements of the sector, develop sector-wide resources, inspire and contribute to the professional growth of the current and next generation of early childhood leaders.
Meet our 25 ECDA Fellows!
Ms Alicia Lim
District Head, PCF Sparkletots
Champions virtues-teaching and trains teachers with skills to entrench virtues in children's daily life. Believes in giving back to society as an EC educator.
"I want to be a teacher. I have had this passion for teaching ever since I was a school girl. Inspired by my kindergarten teachers who…
- Taught me music and dance, and I mimicked as a dance teacher with invisible friends.
- Served me Milo and biscuits every day and I developed the love for Milo till now.
- Accepted me as who I was - a little girl who enjoyed running around in big field, chasing after grasshoppers and returned to the classroom with dirty shoes.
I am grateful for the patience, understanding and kindness that were showered upon me in my early years. Thank you to the passionate, conscientious and caring teachers. I shall devote myself to passing on the kindness that I had received to each and every child whom I encounter."
Mrs Ang-Oh Chui Hwa
Principal, Far Eastern Kindergarten
Believes that character, construction, compassion and communication are key determinants of a good preschool programme. Loves nurturing young minds and hearts.
"There is never a dull moment working with young children. The day is peppered with amusing observations of children and their honest questions. The following response to my endearment made my day!
'I'm not a deer, I'm Megan!' declared the five year old indignantly. (I had called her, 'Dear'!)
A little boy who had been staring at me long and hard finally posed his question, 'Why did you paint your hair orange?' Another ingenious way to profile my mole, 'What's that rotten pea doing on your forehead?' These little children believe and trust every word we preschool educators utter. Indeed, Early Childhood is the best time to engage children's minds and shepherd their hearts."
Ms Ava Wang
Senior Quality Specialist, My First Skool
Advocates life-long learning and developing teachers who are key in promoting quality care for children.
"The beauty of working with children is having that daily opportunity and ability to help mould every child's character, his thoughts and his world view. To do that successfully, there is one key value which I hold dear – respect. Every child deserves to be respected, to be listened to, and most importantly, to be loved. I treasure the wonderment and 'ah ha!' moments. They keep me going.
I believe in grooming educators to be confident professionals who uphold those very same values - teachers who love the art of teaching and inspire others to be passionate about their craft. Together, we will live up to the higher calling of setting right the moral compasses and intellectual foundations of the children in our care."
Ms Christine Soo
Senior Lecturer, National Institute of Early Childhood Development
Passionate and committed in mentoring and sharing knowledge to uplift the quality of educators in the early childhood field.
"I believe that every child has the right to love, care, education, psychological needs and childhood. Every child can learn and learn best using his senses and through meaningful interactions with adults, in a safe, clean and conducive environment, with resources that are easily accessible for discovery, exploration, experiment and mastery.
I enjoy working in an environment where the focus is in the interest of the needs of diverse children and their families. As an ECDA Fellow, I hope to continue to share my knowledge, skills and experiences through mentoring and teaching."
Ms Chua Lay Mui
Executive Principal, PCF Sparkletots
Believes in mentorship to empower and enrich both mentee and mentor.
"I have learnt a lot from the different mentors that I have had and am thankful for their invaluable advice and guidance throughout my life. Mentoring works both ways and through the process, we help one another find satisfaction and fulfilment. I think the best thing we can offer to the sector is encouragement to each other and we start by speaking well of the profession. Only then can we better forge trusting partnerships with families and the community for the growth and well-being of each child.
My leadership belief:
'The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.' — Steven Spielberg"
Mrs Dianne Swee - Seet
Principal, Ascension Kindergarten
Advocates nurturing children holistically, and integrating development of children's mind and character through creative arts. Believes that teachers make a key difference in children's life.
"Always happy to come to school. Knowing that learning is fun – yahoo! Playing, singing and collaborating is but a normal day in school. This is my dream for you.
Confidence in teachers are in your hearts. You will find fruits in all their labour. That we work in tandem for the betterment of our children. This is my dream for you.
To humble ourselves to care, share and toil as one family. To extend of ourselves in faith. To respect and inspire one another. This is my dream for you.
Hold these thoughts close to your heart, for I know you always strive for the best. Your actions do make a difference. Start today, the choice is yours."
Mrs Elsie Tan - Chua
Principal, Living Sanctuary Kindergarten
Passionate about creating a culture of innovation in early childhood educators, so that every teacher and child is constantly creating and recreating in whatever they do.
"Throughout my 18 years in the early childhood sector, I learn and grow as a professional as I work with young children and teachers. I enjoy it thoroughly as I believe that as we serve, we should be open to learning. Like a tree deepening its roots, thickening its trunk and spreading its foliage to give shade, we can broaden our experiences, sharpen our skills and widen our knowledge to keep ourselves abreast with the latest development in the EC sector. I enjoy learning and I also love to share and train others. It will be a privilege and honour when given the opportunity to exchange professional knowledge and experience with my other colleagues in the EC sector."
Mrs G. Padhmavathi Rajendran
Senior Tamil Language Specialist, PCF Sparkletots
Inspired to share her 30 years of experiences with fellow educators to uplift the sector.
“Our future lies in the hands of our little ones. As an early childhood (EC) educator for more than 30 years, I strongly believe in providing a safe, caring and nurturing environment, where children are free to express their thoughts and have endless opportunities to explore and experiment with meaningful activities to learn from their experiences.
Through my years in the EC sector, I am thankful for my mentors who have provided me with opportunities to grow and become a better teacher and a leader. This has inspired me to want to share my experiences with my fellow educators and work together to uplift the EC sector."
Dr Geraldine Teo-Zuzarte
Vice President, Curriculum & Research, Pre-School By-The-Park
Believes in keeping abreast with local and global EC research and development. Specialises in curriculum development and pedagogy, mentoring and early years from birth to three years.
"I attribute who I am today as an early childhood professional to the wonderful mentors that I have had the privilege to have throughout my career. Through my almost 30 years as an educator, EC leader, researcher, faculty member at NIEC, SUSS and NIE-NTU as well as the founding director of the first child study centre in Singapore, The Caterpillar’s Cove Child Study and Development Study, I have developed a strong belief that learning is a co-construction between the learner and the teacher; that each has something to offer and bring to the learning context.
As an experienced early childhood professional, I have a deep desire to offer my valuable knowledge, skills and experiences to other early childhood professionals who may want to have a meaningful and sustained career with children and families.
Ms Hephzi Tee
Principal, Hebron Christian Preschool
Believes in creating learning communities among EC educators to spark innovative practices.
"The well-being of children is at the heart of what I do. I believe in nurturing their curiosity, creativity and kindness, qualities that will help children acquire 21st century skills.
Preschool teachers make a significant difference in the lives of children and I seek to inspire them to embrace change and continually upgrade themselves with different pedagogies and approaches. Teamwork is critical so that we can learn from one another. Through professional discourse particularly in the areas of their practice and beliefs, I believe that our teachers are well capable of coming up with innovative ideas that address teaching and learning needs in Singapore."
Dr Jacqueline Chung
Academic Director, Anglican Preschool Services
Sees leadership as the ability to integrate the challenges of present realities with future possibilities.
"Children blossom when teachers believe in them; teachers thrive when Centre leaders believe in them; but who is there for the leaders? I believe that leadership is key. Early childhood leaders have a strong influence on the quality of their Centres in terms of people, programme and environment. Knowledge and skills are only part of the leadership package. Many soft skills are learned on the job and having a mentor will certainly support and enrich a leader's journey. I desire to invest into the lives of young early childhood leaders so that they develop the conviction, courage and commitment to pursue excellence in leadership."
Ms Kathryn Goy
Executive Principal, PCF Sparkletots
Advocates for outdoor learning to facilitate preschoolers’ learnings in the classroom.
"I led an idyllic childhood, and I smile as I recall the chickens we raised in our roof garden; our fish pond with colourful fishes; growing herbs under the watchful eyes of our mother; and painting in rainbow colours, our home surrounded by nature and animals.
As an educator, I wish to bring to the children in my care, love for nature and the same sense of security and wonder I had in my childhood. All children have the right to learn in the great outdoors, allowing them to relate their learnings in the classroom with the real life outside!"
Dr May See
Senior General Manager, M.Y World Preschool
Believes that early childhood educators and leaders are "reflective researchers" who are constantly seeking new and improved ways of engaging children.
"I'm always delighted to see an initially shy child exclaim, 'Look, I did it!' after persisting in a challenging endeavour. Children are rich in potential. I want to create avenues to allow young children a lifetime of joyful learning through creative inquiry, positive social skills and grounded values. In my early childhood work that spanned more than 20 years, I was involved in the whole spectrum of operations, management and setups – this desire to have what is best for the children has kept me going. Growing leaders in the early childhood industry means getting everyone on board with the same passion and goals."
Ms Melissa Goh-Karssen
Acting Assistant Director, English Professional Development, NTUC First Campus
Holds strongly to three principles of individuality, diversity and relationships to emanate her philosophy in nurturing, developing and empowering children, teachers and leaders.
"Everyone is an individual in their own right with talents, limitations, and challenges. Diversity is a strength that opens up great opportunities, but it needs to be understood and accepted. Relationships that are built on trust, guidance and empowerment are the key to authentic beginnings and successful endings.
I feel strongly about equity and quality interactions in ECCE. I believe in advocating for equity which focuses on providing relevant opportunities for all based on their needs. So, I invite colleagues to rethink the way we interact with our children. My aspiration is to influence educators to look beyond operational demands and truly connect with children to effect significant and lasting outcomes."
Ms N. Kannigadevi
Assistant Director, Development and Care & Special Needs Mentor, Presbyterian Community Services
Believes that all children can learn not in the same way and not on the same day.
"I believe very strongly that children are individually unique, with different abilities, origins and cultural backgrounds, all of which must be respected. A child should have a role model, someone who believes in the child and is ready to support his or her dreams - a position that the early educator is ideally placed to fill.
Having worked as an early childhood educator over a span of 30 years with Presbyterian Community Services, my cherished goal in life is to work with children from different background and with different abilities and help them reach their treasured aims and fulfil their hopes and aspiration."
Ms N. Thamarai
Senior Cluster Quality Manager, My First Skool
Advocates continuous professional improvement and quality standards. Champions the importance of care for early years from zero to three.
“Ever since I could remember, I have always wanted to play a part in children’s education. There is nothing more fascinating than a child. Watching them grow and learn is one of life’s most humbling experiences. I believe every child can embark on their own unique learning journey - one that affords them with the values, dispositions and knowledge. I advocate for children to grow as healthy and creative individuals, in a nurturing environment, where children from all backgrounds feel included and able to take part in enriching learning experiences, and where parents can feel confident about sending their children.”
Ms N. Pushpavalli
Honorary Mentor Principal, Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten
Advocates for children’s best interests with her knowledge and clear understanding of what is important to children, as well as teachers’ individual professional growth through continuous learning and innovation.
“Eighteen years ago when I made a mid-life change of career, I had reservations. Very quickly I realized that I had made the right decision. The children’s smiles, collaboration with teachers, parents and the community, overcoming challenges and sharing success stories have become a part of my work and life. I would like to see ALL of us (Teachers and Leaders) grow to be reflective practitioners - pooling our strengths and being pillars for each other.
The Singapore ECE Community is poised for exciting times. I advocate for continuous learning and innovative practices that will enable this fraternity to improve the quality of ECE in Singapore.”
Ms Ong Siew Teng
Manager (Human Capital, Early Childhood), PCF
Believes in nurturing the next generation of Early Childhood educators to attract and retain talent in the sector.
"The most important factor to quality preschool programme is the competency and aptitude of the educators. I believe that the best investment in the EC sector is not fanciful resources or state-of-the-art technology, but the attraction, development and retention of passionate educators.
I have seen how novice teachers blossom into skilful experienced educators under the guidance of supportive peers and leaders. New entrants in the EC profession are like children who are going to school for the first time. They need to feel welcomed and be supported by colleagues before they can develop a sense of belonging and achieve professional growth. Every one of us in the sector has an important role to play in attracting new blood and helping them to excel in this rewarding vocation."
Ms Rebecca Han
Curriculum Manager, Odyssey the Global Preschool (Busy Bees Asia)
Believes in achieving positive learning outcomes for children by helping teachers find the best in themselves, just like how children should be nurtured.
"Mentoring has always been dear to my heart. It gives me great joy to know that I have made a positive impact in the lives of teachers I worked with, and witnessed these teachers moved on to mentor other teachers. Because of this, I want to continue to make an impact on other teachers in the sector with regard to mentoring. Besides that, I feel strongly about improving the image of the teachers. They should be seen as professionals and not just nannies. Building up teachers' competencies through training and network sessions are therefore important. I hope I can contribute to the sector in this area as well."
Ms Seri Rahayu Binte Ariff
Executive Principal, PCF Sparkletots
Believes in building a strong tripartite relationship among parents, community and school to enhance children's learning and development.
"I believe that parents and community play a crucial role as partners in children's education. The school is a 'hub' for children to experience the wonders and joy of learning and where we can nurture them to their fullest potential. I believe in providing platforms for parents to be equipped with relevant skills to understand their children's progress and development. Children enjoy learning and become life-long learners when families, community partners and the school come together to support their development.
To be an effective leader, we have to learn continuously. For me, learning opens my mind to different perspectives and allows me to challenge myself and set new goals for growth."
Ms Shirley Tan
Executive Director, Catholic Preschool Education (Singapore) Ltd
Believes in strong partnerships between educators, families and the community to spearhead children's education and development.
"If there is one thing I truly believe in nurturing children is the H.E.A.R.T. The heart is where the passion lies. Holding close to my heart is Humility, Enthusiasm, Attitude, Resilience and Trust. I can't express enough the need of humility when working with children. Humility amplifies the being. The enthusiasm and excitement I have about my children is the heartbeat of my passion. Creating positive relationships with children, parents, colleagues and friends is my 'A' attitude. My 'never-say-die' belief is where I build my resiliency, the children's and my colleagues'. I stand for Trust and truthfulness in what I say and do. Nothing pleases me more than seeing these qualities in the children who pass through my heart."
Ms Stella Pereira
Cluster Director, The Little Skool-House International
Passionate about community collaborations and partnerships to enrich experiences of children and all stakeholders.
"My journey as an early childhood professional began when I volunteered at a special education programme and became fascinated with the world of preschoolers more than 20 years ago.
I believe in the importance of developing sounds systems and structures of investing in life-long learning, building soft-skills and leadership skills in EC professionals, and collaborating with parents and the local and global community to curate memorable learning experiences for children and enrich the experiences of all stakeholders. The journey so far has given me an in-depth understanding of the importance of leveraging on a multi-disciplinary approach to examine situations outside normal boundaries and find creative solutions."
Ms Suhana Binte Salleh
Principal & Senior Specialist Quality and Professional Development, Iyad Perdaus Child Development
Passionate about co-creating knowledge with the EC sector, parents and community.
“It is important that our children are valued and respected as individuals. I believe we must stimulate and challenge our children, who each come with their own needs, talents and interests.
As a team of educators, we can support children’s learning through continual observation, planning, documentation and reflection. As an EC leader, I believe in inspiring educators, and guiding them to design and implement holistic learning experiences supported by appropriate and engaging pedagogies. As a pedagogical and organisational leader, I am committed to extending my professional learning, as well as sharing and co-creating knowledge with children’s families, colleagues and community.”
Ms Sylvia Yeo
Cluster Quality Manager, My First Skool
Believes in understanding each child as an individual and finding the best way for each child to learn.
"Every child is unique. Each child grows at his/her own pace and comes from a family with their own beliefs and values. I believe we have to understand each child as a whole and design learning experiences according to his/her needs and interests. I am committed to empowering and inspiring educators to work together towards a shared purpose of supporting children's holistic development. With different curriculum models currently available, we must understand and leverage them to design quality learning experiences.
A high quality centre is characterised by a strong learning and sharing culture, where educators are provided with opportunities to experiment with new ideas and engage in reflective practices. I am committed to extending my professional learning and co-creating new knowledge with colleagues, the children, their families and the larger community."
Ms Zaiton Bte Mohd Ali
General Manager, Iyad Perdaus Ltd
Nurtures relationships with educators, children and parents with Passion and Love.
"My philosophy is to "Nurture with Passion and Love". Passion and Love are collaborative values. They produce positive synergy in supporting the children to achieve optimal development and to excel in life. I believe that passion is the driving force for our EC educators, and love must be consistently demonstrated in our care to children, even during routine care for young ones. Nurturing relationships should be established not only between teachers and children, but also between teachers and parents. After all, parents are vital partners in preschool education and holistic development of our children.
My journey of growth in the EC sector has been exceptionally meaningful. The adventure has made me more mature, confident and committed to my work. The continuous learning has enriched my mind, fostered my creativity and nurtured my passion to GO, GROW and GLOW as an EC practitioner."