Ms Ke Caiyun recalls peering into the preschool next door during her adolescent years. “Seeing the smiles on their faces as they sing and dance, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could be the one to bring them joy and enrich their lives.” Never had the opportunity to attend preschool herself, this thought eventually drew her to the possibility of her becoming a preschool educator one day.
After resigning as a seamstress in the fashion industry in China, Caiyun finally had the chance to fulfil her childhood dream when she migrated to Singapore. She started off as a part-time programme assistant at Smiling Kids Pte Ltd in 2010, but surely and progressively worked her way up to where she is today – a Senior Infant Educarer at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Radin Mas Blk 18. Recognised for her steadfast dedication, Caiyun was nominated for the Professional Development Programme for Educarers aka PDP(E) in 2018 by her Centre Principal, Ms Sally Yeah.
Ms Ke Caiyun (left), with Centre Principal, Ms Sally Yeah (right)
Caiyun strongly believes in seeking continuous professional development opportunities as it inspires her with new ways to engage her infants and toddlers. “Attending courses on PDP(E) has not only expanded my knowledge and skillset but has also enabled me to adapt these newly inspired teaching methods directly to benefit my infants’ learning and development.”
For example, tapping on her craft and past working experience of sewing, Caiyun translates her creativity into innovative teaching practices for her infants’ holistic development. Using cloths of different textures, she creates colourful textured storybooks to conduct sensory play for her infants.
These handsewn props are also accompanied with rhythmic rhymes, movement and music, where Caiyun uses repetition to introduce new vocabulary and stimulate her children’s language development. Unlike other materials, the cloths can be easily made clean and reused, enabling Caiyun to fully utilise her time to interact purposefully with her infants instead.
Sewing teaching props using different materials
Engaging her infants in sensory play using her handsewn props
Being on PDP(E) has also helped Caiyun to identify areas of improvement, learn from fellow educarers and better connect with the sector beyond her role in the centre. “The flexibility of the programme allows me to choose courses that can help me work on aspects which I am inadequate in, such as effective storytelling strategies.” She further added that some educarers from the PDP(E) 2018 cohort has formed an online community on Whatsapp after attending courses together. “PDP has provided a platform for us educarers to share useful tips and practices, especially whenever we encounter challenges.”
Caiyun is honoured and proud to be someone who can significantly impact the children at the most critical phase of their lives. “It is so important to be a role model for them through our words and actions, especially since they are the most impressionable at this age.”
“The most meaningful part of being an educarer, is that I get to watch my infants learn, grow and develop through the time and effort I put into improving my pedagogy.” She believes that the best way to engage the little ones is to observe their behaviours intently, understand and adapt the pedagogy to every child’s needs. Looking back, Caiyun is glad and thankful to have realised her dream with the support and encouragement of her principal and peers. Her accomplishments went beyond her expectations when she was given the recognition of being the Outstanding Early Childhood Educarer at the 2020 ECDA Awards.
Grateful for the recognition and opportunities as a PDP(E) participant thus far, she encourages other educarers to keep their passion burning and never forget the reason they embarked on this journey. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be a good educarer but at the end of the day, seeing how our profession helps to shape the lives of the little ones makes it all worth it.”
Feeling inspired? Discuss with your nominators on how you can be part of the PDP(E) today! Nomination for PDP(E) 2021 opens now till 1 Apr 2021.